We now know that it was the FBI's number two man and J Edger Hoover loyalist W Mark Felt who fingered Nixon!
I'd recommend this movie, but with warnings attached to this! Firstly, Redford and Hoffman were at their best during the 1970's and their performances don't disappoint, I'm sure that they also depicted their respected characters Woodward and Bernstein very well too as they both come across as very believable as reporters or at least the stereotype version. The unkept tardy look, untidy apartments, smoking, corduroy trousers, fast food and neck ties hanging down with unbuttoned collar an shirt you get the picture!
Also, For any foreigner who is interested in American political science, there are about six historical events that dominate US history. To most objective historians the declaration of independence, the US civil war and it's aftermath, the 'New Deal', the defeat of the axis powers in WWII, civil rights or even the collapse of the Soviet empire and the Berlin wall would be tops. However to the American baby-boomer generation, it is JFK's assassination, anti-Vietnam war movement, Woodstock, Richard Nixon's forced resignation and Bill Clinton's come from behind win against George Bush in 1992. Therefore 'All the president's men' is a nostalgic trip down memory lane!
Although the movie is clearly dated, (imagine being a journalist today without a desktop computer, a lap top computer, email, and a cell phone) it does entertain and the pacing I think is effective as it portrays the painstaking work required for investigate journalism. Redford and particularly Hoffman are believable as reporters and the movie is supported by some of the finest character actors about at the time. Hal Holbrook and Jason Robards jockey for the third spot honors with Holbrook probably edging it as the mysterious deep throat. He steals the scenes in the garage. I think there are three times he and Woodward meet and they are some of the most compelling scenes of the whole movie. Alan Pakulas style of directing certainly hit the sweet spot here.
Although it's well paced and it keeps your attention, the film flounders at various levels because the whole unraveling of events and the various connections between the burglars link to CREEP (campaign to reelect the president) and their link to members of Nixons inner circle is not clear. Consequently, the movie ends what appears to be in January of 1973 but Nixon resigned 18 months later? They should have jumped forward to that point before the movie finished. The viewer is left completely confused and frustrated.
Although having Knowledge of the Watergate break in and the Nixon resignation it's impossible to keep up with what is going on. Names such as Liddy, Hunt, Mitchell, Magruder and Dean are banded about and come up all the time but often you don't know who they are? Some narration would have been very helpful!
However, although Woodward and Bernstein deserve credit for keeping the story alive when nobody else was interested but it in reality was the tapes that finally buried Nixon. Once the special prosecutor and the public were able to hear is voice talking about the investigation his presidency was finished, without the tapes he probably would have survived.
How much of the facts portrayed in the film are fiction I suppose nobody will ever know? If I ever run into Woodward and Bernstein I'll ask them! Also for anybody who's curious on who Woodwards 'deep throat' character is they will be disappointed, as it is not revealed in any way, although that is academic now. Check the movie out!
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