Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1976. Warner Bros., Wildwood Enterprises. Screenplay by William Goldman, based on the book by Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward. Cinematography by Gordon Willis. Produced by Walter Coblenz. Music by David Shire. Production Design by George Jenkins. Costume Design by Bernie Pollack. Film Editing by Robert L. Wolfe. Academy Awards 1976. Golden Globe Awards 1976.
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are perfectly cast as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two reporters for the Washington Post who are both assigned to the break-in of Democratic headquarters at the Watergate hotel in preparation for the 1972 election. At first the two men have a hard time working together, Bernstein is aggressive and passionate, Woodward is cool and collected, but when a member of the Republican re-election committee is implicated in the break-in, they find their styles working more and more symbiotically as they go after possible witnesses to find out more about what is really going on. Meanwhile, back at the Post headquarters, editor Ben Bradlee (a marvelous Jason Robards) wants to give them room to move but is anxious that they not ruffle the wrong feathers without enough proof. Even someone with strong knowledge of the scandal (one which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation from the White House) will find this a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller with intelligence and suspense to spare, in which Jane Alexander is a standout as a reluctant witness who provides a key turning point in the reporters’ case. The production design team painstakingly recreated the Post‘s newsroom to accurate scale down to the very last typewriter, most likely the reason for its winning an Oscar for Art Direction, and years later the dynamic duo who inspired the story were hilariously spoofed in the fun comedy Dick starring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams.