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Network (1976)



Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 34,330

My Rating

Movie Info

A trenchant satire of "trash TV," Network seems to grow only more relevant with each passing year. Howard Beale (Peter Finch), the dean of newscasters at the United Broadcasting System, is put out to pasture because he "skews old." Network executive Max Schumacher (William Holden), Howard's best friend, is forced to deliver the bad news. Beale can't stomach the idea of losing his 25-year post as anchorman simply because of age, so in his next broadcast he announces to the viewers that he's going


Drama, Comedy

Paddy Chayevsky

May 16, 2000

MGM/United Artists

Watch It Now



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All Critics (53) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (5) | DVD (24)

The plot that Paddy Chayefsky has concocted to prove this point is so crazily preposterous that even in post-Watergate America -- where we know that bats can get loose in the corridors of power -- it is just impossible to accept.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's never been more timely.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Chayefsky was apparently serious about much of this shrill, self-important 1976 satire about television, interlaced with bile about radicals and pushy career women, and so were some critics at the time.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (10)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Slick, 'adult', self-congratulatory, and almost entirely hollow.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Network can be faulted both for going too far and not far enough, but it's also something that very few commercial films are these days. It's alive.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a bawdy, stops-out, no-holds-barred story of a TV network that will, quite literally, do anything to get an audience.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Network taps into the hysteria of the television business at a time when the medium was still important, a monolithic and competitive media industry hungry to tap into the next big thing and do anything for ratings.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

As relevant today as it was back in 1976, Network is arguably the best film ever made about the television industry.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Flix Capacitor
Flix Capacitor

The mystic quality within "Network" is that it pitches curve balls at us that have meanings relative to our unique situations, and all of them encompass a value that is beyond simple comprehension.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source:

A brilliantly played, stone-cold '70s classic, whose message -- the blur between entertainment and degradation -- has more than a tang of topicality in these days of reality TV-dominated scheduling.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

There is plenty wrong with television, plenty to satirize. But Network prudently misses the point, dishing up an outrageous razzle-dazzle stew that will ruffle no network feathers and delight a popular audience.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Fearless, funny and frank television satire that doesn't take any prisoners. Writing, performances and direction are all bang on and Finch cooks on gas throughout.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

the secret to the film's immense popularity, though, is this angry, sudden blast of "truth" -- without being specific -- as if it had never been spoken aloud before.

February 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Writer Paddy Chayevsky's prescient 1976 satire of lies, injustice and the American way...has lost none of its sting. [Blu-ray]

February 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Biting '76 satire with a media literacy lesson.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Finch's spouting is impressive, but we prefer Holden's sardonic edge, even if his big speeches seem the most predictably written.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A timeless satire on television as a wasteland.

February 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

For some reason, Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-winning satire was perceived as a drama when the movie came out in 1976. Much ahead of its time, the film was a cautionary tale of the news media as infotainment (emphasis on the secon part of the concept).

September 11, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

So truthful, so prescient, it's painful. Paddy Chayevsky delivers one of the best screenplays ever written.

August 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Much of Chayefsky's script seems to have been written with megaphone in hand, which is close to how director Sidney Lumet airs it out. Yet in retrospect, maybe the ravings of Finch as a deranged anchorman aren't so far from surreal madness of Jerry Spring

March 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly | Comment (1)

One would assume that a 1976 film about network television would feel dated today, but director Sidney Lumet and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky had such a fine concept that Network seems downright contemporary.

March 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

Rare is the social satire that rings as true as Network does, and the film is even more topical today than it was thirty years ago.

February 28, 2006 Full Review Source: DVD Clinic
DVD Clinic

If 'Network' had the ring of truth to it in 1976, you can be sure it's even truer these days.

February 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Network

A brilliant and hilarious satire whose strength lies especially on a superb ensemble cast and a fantastic script that delights us with many priceless exchanges of lines while taking us inside a relevant, thought-provoking social commentary about the television industry.
September 19, 2013

Super Reviewer

Okay, everybody: go to your windows and shout: I'm made as h*ll and I'm not going to take it anymore. This movie took my breath away. Almost 30 years after it was made, it is even more relevant. The screenwriter, Paddy Chayefsky is responsible for a brilliant piece of writing. I got actual chills down my spine when the chairman of CCA industries (Ned Beatty), who owns the network, calls Howard Beal (Peter Finch) into the boardroom and reads a little reality to him: there are no more countries, there is no democracy, it's only IBM, ITT, Exxon. Can anyone say "Citizens United?" The subsequent drop in ratings when Howard preaches this on his tv show is so scary. Even scarier is the radical group who co-opts their ideals for subsidiary rights and distribution rights. Hello reality television. We can't talk about society being responsible for all the bad things that happen to us, because guess what? We be society.
February 7, 2013
Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

Sidney Lumet's Network is yet again a stunning piece of cinema that explores the roots of a TV network looking for the next big thing to air. This is a fine satire that boasts a very strong cast of talented actors. Lumet always crafts a solid picture and he pulls through yet again with this follow-up to his highly engaging film, Dog Day Afternoon. Lumet always seems to direct films that have engrossing plotlines that just grabs your attention, and this is a powerful satirical drama that evokes every quality of Sidney Lumet's unique filmmaking. The film's high points are in its acting, and the cast that Lumet has assembled here, is really one of a kind. Several actors here give standout performances that give Network a much more intense viewing experience, one that you simply can't turn away from. The script is very solid as well and well layered to keep you engaged from start to finish. One thing that I love about Lumet's work is his knack to tell a great story using the simplest ideas. In turn, he is able to create picture that are far better than most, and that's why he is one of cinema's greatest artists. Fans of his will surely enjoy this powerful, satirical work that blends effective drama, and dark humor into a smartly written script. Aided by a memorable cast that should delight the most demanding cinema buff, Network is a standout picture that is a must see. With every film that Lumet has made, he would craft something totally different, and reinvent the cinematic medium. Network is a flawless picture that is among the most standout work of the 1970's and solidified Sidney Lumet's reputation as a one of a kind filmmaker. This is a film that took risks and pushed the envelope and explores media sensationalism in a very interesting way. If you want a well acted picture, with a great plot, then give Network a shot.
January 20, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

It's pretty hard to quibble with ratings in the face of this titan of a film. Brilliant work by all involved. Full review later.
December 31, 2012
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

    1. Howard Beale: I would like at this moment to announce that I will be retiring from this program in two weeks' time because of poor ratings. Since this show is the only thing I had going for me in my life, I've decided to kill myself. I'm going to blow my brains out right on this program a week from today. So tune in next Tuesday. That should give the public relations people a week to promote the show. You ought to get a hell of a rating out of that. 50 share, easy.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Max Schumacher: After living with you for the last six months, I'm turning into one of your scripts. Well, this is not a script, Diana. There's some real, actual life going on here.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Diana Christensen: Howard Beale is processed instant God, and right now, it looks like he may just go over bigger than Mary Tyler Moore.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Frank Hackett: Where's that put us, Diana?
    2. Diana Christensen: That puts us in the shithouse. That's where that puts us.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Narrator: That evening, Howard Beale went on the air to preach the corporate cosmology of Arthur Jensen.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Arthur Jensen: Valhalla, Mr. Beale. Please, sit down.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
View all quotes (56)

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