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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Film
"Network" is quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen. It works on so many levels ;as a satire on the television industry and the people who work within it , as a philosophical critique of globalising late 20th Century consumer capitalism and the dehumanising , desensitising and deindividualising effect that television plays in that system (the hypnotist in the...
Published on 12 Nov 2003 by L. Davidson

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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Television is bad (yawn, yawn)
From the very first scene, Network wants everyone to know it is a really important film about a really important subject. Network television is evil. So begins a great liberal sermon.

The first half of Television works well, because newsreader Peter Finch's eccentricity is balanced by the hardened realism of the people around him. While Finch is slowly...
Published on 18 Jan 2010 by Mostly Harmless


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Film, 12 Nov 2003
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Network [1976] [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Network" is quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen. It works on so many levels ;as a satire on the television industry and the people who work within it , as a philosophical critique of globalising late 20th Century consumer capitalism and the dehumanising , desensitising and deindividualising effect that television plays in that system (the hypnotist in the corner) . The acting and screenplay in "Network" is sensational; William Holden is superb as the world-weary and wise News Controller and his relationship with his boss Faye Dunaway works as a symbol of the uneasy symbiosis between the Old Absolute Moral Values that Holdens character represents and the amoral New "Humanoid" Values of the Television Generation that Dunaways' represents . Insane (or messianic) News Anchor Man Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is another brilliantly acted character , while Ned Beatty and Robert Duvall also give remarkable performances as a sinister media baron and a ruthless network executive respectively . There are so many memorable scenes - Finches "I'm mad as hell..." rant is a classic, his one to one meeting with Beatty in the Boardroom , Holden with his wife , Holden with Dunaway towards the end of the film... the list goes on. "Network" , like Howard Beale , touches on some very sensitive and profound issues ,ultimately about the nature of life and humanity itself and it does so in a stylish, intelligent way with some of the best acting you will ever see.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb dialogue, 26 Nov 2011
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
I put this on at 10.30pm expecting to watch the first ten minutes before going to bed. At 1am I was searching on Wikipedia looking up everything written about it. I work as a speechwriter and the speeches in this film are sublime. The film surprises you and engages you. It's becoming a historical piece because the power of the mass media is collapsing rapidly. Apart from the occasional look at iPlayer, I don't watch any TV. We can pick and choose the good stuff now. I was born in 1968, and I find the films of the 70s very comforting. The era is also very similar to our own - the anxieties about recession, unemployment, inflation, banks going bust, environmental pollution - and Peter Finch as Howard Beale is the sublime commentator on the events.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly prophetic, 27 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
I can't quite believe that this film is over 30 years old. It could have been made today as an accurate satire of modern society and the corporatocracy we live in. Sadly it seems the world the film foreshadowed didn't stop it becoming a rather too close to home reality. The films script has rightly won many awards as it contains many powerful messages and memorable quotes delivered by an excellent cast. The scene with Ned Beatty's corporate CEO 'Arthur Jensen' explaining to 'Howard Beale' how the world really works is a real stand out. Quote; "You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today".
Whatever the power of the corporate state in the mid 70's, and the influence of corporate media propaganda on the passively consuming masses, we can now multiply many times in modern day society. That's what makes this film even more pertinent today.
A society driven by profit is a world lacking in love, as portrayed in the film by Faye Dunaway's character, and with a disregard for the sanctity of life, as represented by the films end.
A clever, funny, sad, entertaining and timeless classic.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "All I want from life is a 30 rating & a 20 percentage.", 22 Oct 2006
By 
Sam Woodward (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
"I love it. Suicides, assassinations, mad bombers, mafia hit men, automobile smash-ups... 'The Death Hour'. Great Sunday-night show for the whole family."

The back of the DVD's box describes 'Network' as "even more compelling & relevant today than when it was first released, [it] is a wickedly funny, spot-on indictment of the TV news media." Very true - but I think there's also a lot more to it than that.

The story revolves around Howard Beale, a news anchorman who is fired for his shows' poor ratings. As a result, he suffers a nervous breakdown & announces during a live broadcast that he will kill himself live on air, during his very last show in 2 weeks time. But as a result of his announcement, his viewing figures soar & ruthless TV executives aim to exploit him for all that he's worth & set him up as an anti-establishment, everyman preacher. Never mind that his message condemns them, forget getting him psychiatric help, it's the viewing figures that count.

This is a stark reminder of the central theme in the recent documentary 'The Corporation', which states that US big businesses can be compared with psychopaths due to their unwavering will to increase profits at any collateral cost & irregardless of social impact or morality. As the Networks' CEO tells Beale, "there is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM & ITT & AT&T & DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide & Exxon. Those are the nations of the world." Made in 1976 'Network' certainly comes across as a prophetic work when watched today - consider the increased power of corporations & sensationalistic, 'black-&-white' coverage of warfare & terrorism, not to mention US news shows which film car chases live. Real human lives turned into Hollywood movies & packaged for entertaiment.

The character of Howard Beale isn't actually in the film very much. A lot of the screen-time is given to one of his colleagues, played by William Holden - a menopausal everyman trying to make sense of the TV age, where everything & everyone is product to be exploited to increase viewing figures. He has an affair with an up-&-coming executive who 'scripts' her own life & those around them as if they were TV shows & wants to create "a show based on the activities of a terrorist group. Joseph Stalin & His Merry Band of Bolsheviks." Duvall says of her, " I'm not sure she's capable of any real feelings. She's TV generation. She learned life from Bugs Bunny." When Holden leaves his wife - representative of traditional American values - she tells him that "if you can't work up a winter passion for me, the least I require is respect & allegiance," comdemning the new dehumanising values which this new age has ushered in.

'Network' is a very thought-provoking piece. which has been very skilfully put together by Sidney Lumet, director of one of my all-time favourite films, 'Dog Day Afternoon'. While both films are well crafted & leave their audiences with much to ponder, the pacing in both is a little slow at times. However, while watching one of the slower portions of 'Network', I began giving very serious consideration to throwing away my television - and I think I probably will. This is testament to the powerful way this film makes the audience question a lot of their assumptions & implores them not to loose their basic humanity - which can surely only be a good thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see., 6 Jun 2010
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J. Anderson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
Truly a must see, even more than ever.
Best film i've seen in years, perhaps ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, 31 July 2013
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
Classic film, great monologues and, if anything, slightly less cynical than the actual media industry. The DVD's picture and audio quality is good, could have done with some extra features though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie milestone, 25 April 2013
By 
Elleppi (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Network [Blu-ray] [1976] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Someone said it was too moralistic And dated, but to me it's One of lumet top movies And no, it's not got old at all. It's not just perfecty done, scrited And acted, but it gives you an apocalyptic view of The world as it was in The 70s And was going to be (even worse than that) in The Following decades. Now we have internet, maybe The problems are slightly different, but This is going to stay not just in The history of cinema And 20th century, but it still is And will still be a prophetic And powerful mirror of our society And our world
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lumet And Chayefsky's Prescient Media Tale, 7 Jun 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
Sidney Lumet (director) and Paddy Chayefsky's (screenwriter) 1976 film Network is a brilliantly prescient tale of the power and corrupting influence of the media (in this case, specifically television). It struck me, on watching the film again recently, that, not only are the messages about media plurality and 'reality TV' as relevant (if not more so) today as they were in 1976, but also that Network is also remarkable for the fact that a mainstream Hollywood studio (in this case, MGM) should give its backing to such a scathing attack on a key media outlet, and that the film should then garner so many Academy Awards. I suspect one of the reasons for this is that cross-cinema studio/TV ownership was not as prevalent back in 1976 as it has been since. It is also notable that some major Hollywood acting names (William Holden, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, etc) wished to be associated with such a venture - again, a level of career risk taking rarely seen these days in Hollywood (one notable exception to this being Tom Cruise's bravura performance in Magnolia).

Network certainly represents something of an acting masterclass with all the major roles (and many of the minor ones) featuring great performances. As the loser news presenter, turned overnight media evangelist, Howard Beale, the great Peter Finch deservedly won (albeit posthumously) the Best Actor Oscar, with Faye Dunaway taking the corresponding female honour for her role as the uptight, careerist TV programmer Diana Christensen (for me, Dunaway's second best career performance behind that in Chinatown). Similarly, both William Holden (also nominated for Best Actor) playing the usurped TV news head Max Schumacher, and Robert Duvall as the brash corporate man Frank Hackett are also superb - the latter was surprisingly not nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, although Ned Beatty was so nominated for his much lesser role in the film. There are also a whole host of other brilliant character performances in the film, notably from William Prince (brilliant as Edward G Ruddy - in a performance which reminds me of George Macready's turn in Paths Of Glory) and from Wesley Addy as Nelson Chaney.

Network features a whole plethora of brilliant scenes and lines of dialogue (the latter from Chayefsky's Oscar-winning screenplay). From the opening scene between Beale and Schumacher, as they commiserate Beale's imminent sacking and Holden's character comes up (jokingly) with the suggestion that they should introduce a TV slot called 'suicide of the week', through to that where Beale embarks on his first on-screen diatribe, which Schumacher refuses to interrupt, with the quip, 'He's saying that life is bull!!!! and it is - so what are you screaming about?', the film hardly lets up. Also, Dunaway is brilliant as the workaholic Christensen ('inept at everything apart from my work') - just look at her brisk, business-like strut - it's as if she has a nickel clenched between the cheeks of her buttocks! Chayefsky also includes a brilliantly satirical skit on 'revolutionary reality TV', as the Ecumenical Liberation Army are hired to air live bank robberies, culminating in an hilarious scene as their members argue about their commercial TV rights.

For me, the earlier sections of the film are the most effective, particularly as the Howard Beale character is finding his feet, and it could be argued that the film is maybe 20 minutes too long. However, the ending, which takes this initial concept of reality TV to its ultimate (logical) conclusion, provides a fitting finale for one of the outstanding US films of the post-Vietnam era.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PROPHETIC!, 2 Mar 2008
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
I barely watch television anymore. Modern televisual entertainment is a sewer filled with floating solid waste called reality TV and weekly serials that are nothing than lame rehashes of old ideas padded out with endless commercials and station promos. NETWORK predicted all of this. This film made in 1976 was probably considered and intended to be an over the top parody of contemporary television. However, as fate would have it, after 33 years it has become a prophecy fulfilled. Watch it and see.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decades Ahead of its time, 25 April 2008
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This review is from: Network [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
A few years ago, the writer Charlie Brooker became famous for his satirical, scathing `TVGOHOME' website, a fortnightly TV listing in the same style and font as the Radio Times. It was mostly concerned with the voyeuristic, nihilistic, gaping moral hole in the centre of the modern media. Charlie Brooker gave up doing the columns shortly after the turn of the millennium, because he said that though what he was writing had been satire, he began to realise that TV production companies were actually producing identical copies of his satirical programmes, most infamously in the case of `Touch the Truck'.

Network is in many ways, Charlie Brooker about 30 years ahead of his time. As a consequence of a newsreader (Peter Finch) announcing that he is going to kill himself on air the next day, the network decide that rather than do the decent thing and have the newsreader hospitalised, that they should make use of this sensational asset to boost ratings. When network executive Faye Dunaway starts to get her way, she brings in a whole host of new programming to replace things like the news and designed purely to up ratings: a show for the news anchor to rant and rave all he wants; a weekly programme following violent revolutionaries commit actual robberies and raids ("The Mao-Tse Tung hour"); a homosexual soap opera; news predicted by fortune teller.

In the short term, ratings go through the roof. But after a few weeks, they begin to drop off as people crave the new, the more sensational. Consider the development of Big Brother, starting from a vaguely experimental standpoint, to realising the sensationalist potential of putting thin-skinned people in deliberately volatile situations. No-one ever got killed in Big Brother, but when the recent racist behaviour erupted on-screen, few were mistaken in believing it to be anyone else except the producer's own fault. And yet hundreds of people would still turn up to watch the live evictions. Perhaps we get the TV we deserve.

And it's the attitude of the viewers that the writer gets absolutely spot-on. When Peter Finch asks people to get "mad as hell", people go for it, when he lambasts on air the whole television industry night after nigh, they listen. But then they also tune into the Mao-Tse Tung hour without skipping a beat. The viewers, and therefore society at large is shown to be largely amoral - whatever holds out attention will do, never mind the ethics. Perhaps this is best demonstrated by William Holden's character, a veteran of news production. He leaves his wife to be with Faye Dunaway's executive, his wife representing the dull, self-sacrificing, honest and reliable nature of old TV, of old America. Faye Dunaway represents the rise of a different side of TV, imaginative, restless, irresponsible, rootless, energetic, thoughtless. The reluctance shows as William Holden is swept along with the current, powerless to resist. Much like the rest of us.

It all seems so obvious to us now, the sensationalism, the amorality, the cheapness, the dumbing down, the deliberate aim for the lowest common denominator. What is surprising is that it was seen all those many years ago, so accurate and in such detail.
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Network [Blu-ray] [1976] [US Import]
Network [Blu-ray] [1976] [US Import] by Sidney Lumet (Blu-ray - 2011)
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