Network - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Network Reviews

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December 10, 2017
Sidney Lumet's shocking newsroom satire probably got big laughs from savvy audiences back in 1976. But in 2017, its scathing cynicism is simply too true to the hypocrisies of the day.

In the film, broadcasters capitalise on a disturbed man's ingenious rantings and ravings, which quickly become the nation's slice of 'must-see' weekly TV.

Both on and off the air, Network features some of the greatest speeches ever to grace the silver screen, many of which deconstruct and dissect the mechanics of the modern media, the dark heart of corporate capitalism, or even the inherent pain of a doomed human existence - all 'articulating the popular rage' in the manner of a modern-day politician, or even a super-hip vlogger.

Network is quite rightly often credited with predicting the direction of the modern media, and even the rise of reality TV. But there's so much more in this prescient picture that'll leave viewers thinking Sybil the Soothsayer should've been granted a screenwriting credit.
October 30, 2017
Sensationalism and corporate influence have infiltrated the mainstream media. The old school is being replaced by the new school in a bitter transition, which brings a new set of priorities geared towards ratings and money over integrity and pride. This could describe modern media and the working climate at places like the Washington Post and the New York Times but it's also the premise of 1976's 'Network'. The fact that this movie has aged so well and remains as relevant as ever is a testament to its genius. Network is a commentary on the power of money vs. journalistic integrity as well as the appeal of genuine authenticity to the American people. Peter Finch gives a stellar performance of the man caught in the middle of this struggle, providing some of the most timeless monologues ever seen on film. There's no flashy editing or big budget shots but Network still delivers a punch and stands among the giants of cinema because of its uncomfortable lesson that underneath our occupations and our legacies, we are all still human and thus we are all susceptible to the same temptations which can and will be used against us.

Our story begins near the end of Howard Beale's downward spiral. He is a man at his wit's end, he's mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore. Beale has worked most of his life in the "boredom-killing industry" and has normalized negativity to the masses. Ratings rule all and stories are treated as commodities, far removed from the people affected within them. Howard spares no expense sharing his dismal outlook with the viewers of his show when he declares his intent to commit suicide on live television the following week. This moment marks the point of no return on the journey into this new age of profit over people. The initial response to his announcement is chaotic until the network-savvy Faye Dunaway's Diane Christensen sees a silver lining. The obscure announcement by Beale garnered unheard of attention and ratings soared as a result. Not one to miss a good opportunity, Christensen convinces the powers that be to provide Beale his own re-occurring show with free reign to rant and rave. The freedom provided to Howard is a true hallmark of times passed. Nobody in today's day and age would be given this type of opportunity on live television; only after a period of sophisticated and respected journalism leading up to this point could anybody even fathom such a regretful decision.

Dunaway's character is the epitome of the greed we see within corporate media. She seethes emptiness and lacks genuine emotion. She will do anything to anyone to achieve her shallow agenda and further her career. Her lack of humanity is contagious and we are given a glimpse of the consequences to being associated with her - both on a personal scale; through her relationship with Max Schumacher and by extension, the effect it has on his wife, but also on a social scale; through the actions of Howard Beale and by extension, the effect it has on the masses. For the first-time Howard is given the opportunity to break free from his script and speak truth to his viewers. The more he removes himself from the corporate stronghold, the more human he feels yet the more isolated he becomes. It begs the question; is he crazy, or is everyone else?

Recommended For:
-Fans of "The Newsroom"
-Cinema buffs
-Conspiracy theorists
-People who preach about "fake news"
October 14, 2017
Network may be a bit dated in parts but it still a darkly satirical comedy that has a huge amount of relevance today. It tells the story of how a small, failing US TV network exploits the on-screen mental breakdown of a news anchor and turns him into a ratings winning television prophet of the people. Faye Dunaway is the ruthless, hard-nosed executive who creates the show and will stop at nothing to keep the network ahead in the ratings war. It is possibly one her best roles and you can see that she is simply relishing playing the part. Sidney Lumet's direction is not subtle but gets the work done and seems fitting for the brash, macho world being portrayed.
August 6, 2017
Perhaps a bit overrated, I think, Network is a beautifully written and acted film that is deeply talky and has something pretty interesting to say. The problem, I think, its the director's standpoint, which I think carries much of the same type of thinking most generations feel about their successors. We're seeing it right now with Generation X's criticisms of millennial; they feel we've been corrupted by constant access to internet, media, and each other, and ignore the traditional values that have (pardon) "Made America Great". Millenials, on the other hand, would argue that we are simply doing our best to navigate the aftermath of X's lack of foresight and sustainability planning, while getting smarter all the time as the world's sum of information is at our fingertips. So Network seems to have it a bit backward, and I think its old-white-man writer and director are coming from a very conservative, rose colored perspective - hypocritically entertaining us while commenting on our desire to be entertained.
July 30, 2017
A psychological drama of the Media, Network showcases Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway at their finest
July 13, 2017
Paddy Chayefsky's brutally reflective diatribe against society, and perhaps unwittingly became a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the last great 70s films, with that uncompromising intellectualism and condescension. Contrary to popular belief, the suicide of Christine Chubbuck didn't inspire the work - Paddy himself saw the future as he toured a network news studio and saw the lack of humanity unfolding. Sobering, cautionary and raucous in a way that only unmitigated truth can be.

All I really know about the 1960s and 1970s was that I grew up one generation later than they happened. While everyone was meeting some truly cantankerous characters in the likes of The Graduate (which perfectly embodied the conflict and attraction between two generations of Americans) and the artificial intelligence of HAL, the soulless but suffering computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I still believe that Howard Beale and UBS were among the truly great screen villains, and not because they were particularly evil, but because they were heartless-and a definitive prophesy (written very tongue in cheek by Paddy Chayefsky) of what the modern American would become in the 2000 era, should artificial TV values continue to dominate the culture. The insane and dying Howard Beale helped to spawn the modern atheist evangelist, disillusioned with everything holy in society, while Diana Christensen foretold the emergence of the secular-opportunist. The only supposedly decent and ethical man in the film, Max Schumacher, was shown to be weak, immoral and irrational in his personal life. Yet, only the sinner was able to point at the greater evil and pronounce the tragedy of humanity. Max's final deconstruction of villainy (his mistress, whose heart he breaks) serves, not as a self-righteous condemnation of what is to come, but a final farewell and fuck-you to a world that had progressed far beyond what was sensible good taste. The offspring of Network, the Mad as Hell generation, not only permeates entertainment today-but modern society who continues to scream outside of Windows and litter Facebook walls.
July 5, 2017
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
June 21, 2017
one of the all time great movie experiences. And the cast- excellent on every level... the dialogue has seldom been topped
April 30, 2017
Absolutely brilliant original screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky about the inner machinations of the broadcast media and by extension the culture that is held in sway by the controlled and/or crafted exploitative spectacles that appear nightly on television screens across the land. Gritty and tight direction from Sidney Lumet and excellent performances by the pitch-perfect ensemble cast. Still prescient and topical -- as a matter of fact, it's probably even more timely in today's 24/7 media-obsessed Internet age than it was upon its initial release in 1976.
½ April 1, 2017
Great acting by an amazing cast (Dunaway | Peter Finch | William Holden | Robert Duvall). The story is interesting and gives you an idea how these talking heads get their own cable news show in today's world.
½ March 25, 2017
Sidney Lumet shoots right in with this incredibly well directed, acted and written drama about the derives of TV networks to obtain ratings and remain in business. It's incredibly relevant our times some 40 years later and it's almost frightening that things don't seem to have changed much. Definitely a must see.
February 25, 2017
10 out of 10:

Smart, funny, and well acted, Network gives a story that's rarely been captured on film.
½ February 19, 2017
Uninspiring and overrated. Not entirely unwatchable, but it's a lame satire. (First and only viewing - 7/25/2012)
January 11, 2017
Still relevant, even if it has been 40 years.
December 3, 2016
This is the kind of movie that everyone should see so that maybe we could understand this crazy world we live in a little bit more.
November 16, 2016
Maybe it was good in 1975
October 27, 2016
Sidney Lumet brilliantly directs Paddy Chayefsky's searing, perceptive, prophetic satire about a fourth rate television network UBS; and its news anchorman Howard Beale who's has gone insane, magnificently played by the late great Peter Finch, who won a richly deserved Academy Award for Best Actor for his mesmerizing performance, he became the first actor ever to win a posthumous Oscar. The avaricious UBS network bastards who capitalize on his madness, along with a heartless, ambitious programing executive named Diana Christensen, played brilliantly by Faye Dunaway, in her Academy Award winning performance, who cares only about ratings, she builds an entire show around the maniacal newscaster as the "Mad Prophet of the Airwaves" who wants all us to become "Mad as Hell!," Beal's show becomes the number one show on television. Chayefsky won a richly deserved Oscar for his amazing screenplay. The entire cast is amazing particularly the late William Holden, who truly delivers a wonderfully dramatic Academy Award nominated performance as Max Schumacher, the head of the news department and Beale's concerned best friend, it is one of the finest performances of Holden's career. Impressive supporting performances by Robert Duvall as Frank Hackett the network hatchet man, Ned Beatty who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his striking turn as Arthur Jensen, the evangelistical chairman of the board of the television network, and Beatrice Straight's powerfully moving Academy Award winning performance, as Holden's embittered wife Louise Schumacher. Innovative cinematography by Owen Roizman, with razor-sharp editing by Alan Heim. This film is more relevant today than when it was originally released, it predicted today's rash of trash television, shock-laden news broadcast and low-brow reality shows. A frighteningly funny American cultural landmark classic. Winner of 4 Academy Awards including Best Actor: Peter Finch, Best Actress: Faye Dunaway, Best Supporting Actress: Beatrice Straight, Best Screenplay: Paddy Chayefsky. "Network" is number 64, on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest films ever made. Highly recommended.
October 12, 2016
The greatest film ever made!
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2016
An intelligent and hilarious satire whose main strength lies especially in a superb ensemble cast and a fantastic script that delights us with many priceless exchanges of dialogue as it offers us a relevant, thought-provoking social commentary on the television industry.
September 30, 2016
Did nothing for me first viewing. I only saw business. Second time, it hits like a leviathon. Deserves all its praise. I've learnt to trust cinema consensus. If I can't see the viewpoint on initial take, and every critic says it works 100%, then I must watch it again and again until I share that pov. Or, at least, until I appreciate their evaluation sufficiently to disagree like an adult.
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