With stunning prescience, Sidney Lumet's searing satire of television and the contemporary moment chronicles media corruption and the way that the public buys into the myths the media creates. The moral and spiritual turpitude delivered by the debilitating forces of television are rendered in sharp relief against a backdrop of crumbling humanity in what is regarded as one of the great satires in Hollywood history. With a visceral script from Paddy Chayefsky, NETWORK follows the doomed path of aging newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch), who, upon learning that he is to be fired after decades as a news anchor, announces to millions of viewers that he will publicly commit suicide during his last broadcast. When the ratings consequently shoot up, hungry executive-in-training Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) seizes the moment to exploit Beale's Messianic nervous breakdown, turning his rage into the vehicle for the network's first Number One show and a nationwide craze. Who could have predicted that this 1976 film might someday influence an even more contagious trend in television broadcasting: the reality show?
1976 - Academy Awards - Best Actress - Winner
1976 - Academy Awards - Best Actor - Winner
1976 - Academy Awards - Best Supporting Actress - Winner
1976 - Academy Awards - Best Original Screenplay - Winner
Main Cast & Crew:
Sidney Lumet - Director
- Format: DVD (New Packaging)
- Run Time: 121
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 883929157921
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: R (MPAA)
- Release Date: February 2006
Sidney Lumet's NETWORK takes a close look at the lengths to which television stations will go to improve their ratings--pulling publicity stunts, playing up news team dramas, and constantly scheming behind the scenes.
Theatrical release: November 27, 1976. Filmed on location in New York City. The film is Peter Finch's last big-screen project; his last performance was in the TV movie RAID ON ENTEBBE. NETWORK is number 66 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Greatest Movies. NETWORK was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000. Beatrice Straight won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress despite logging mere minutes onscreen, causing a minor uproar.
"...A vicious, exaggerated satire which aims for barbed black humour over belly laughs....[With a] sharp screenplay..." - 09/01/2000 Total Film, p.110
"Finch won a posthumous Oscar for his all-over-the-map portrayal of Beale." - 04/01/2004 Premiere, p.62
4 stars out of 4 -- "If movies can tell the future, then this 1976 harbinger about a major network's calculated and deranged ratings grab is right on time." - 03/09/2006 Rolling Stone, p97
"NETWORK is the perfect meeting of director and screenplay....Lumet and Chayefsky's real achievement is the subtle escalation of the drama..." - 10/01/2008 Empire, p.177
"Craven TV execs like Faye Dunaway's may have seemed harmlessly cartoonish then, but now they feel like a dangerous prophecy come true." -- Grade: A - 02/25/2011 Entertainment Weekly