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Directed by: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall
Network ranked # 66 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films list.
Network is a 1976 satirical film about a fictional television network named Union Broadcasting System (UBS) and its struggle with poor TV ratings. It was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, and stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight.
As the story opens, the audience learns that longtime network news anchor Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch), who hosts the UBS Evening News, has been fired due to low ratings. The following night, Beale announces live on-air that he will commit suicide by getting a gun and "blowing his brains out" during an upcoming broadcast. (Some believe this was inspired in part by newscaster Christine Chubbuck's on-air suicide.)
The film examines the way the network makes decisions about programming and the disdain that they show for their audiences. It also serves as a warning against potential abuses resulting from corporate conglomorate ownership of television networks, specifically with regards to news reporting. Produced and released in the year of the United States Bicentennial and following the Watergate scandal and resignation of Richard Nixon, and the loss of the Vietnam War, the film's main themes are the decay of public service, the interplay between capitalism and humanism, the differences between love and lust and, to a lesser extent, the effects of a generation gap.
Network won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Finch, posthumously), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Faye Dunaway), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Beatrice Straight) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Holden), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ned Beatty), Best Cinematography (Owen Roizman), Best Film Editing (Alan Heim), Best Director, and Best Picture.
It won three of the five acting awards, tying the record with A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951.
Top 100 Greatest Films - AFI 100 - DVDs
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