A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1976 – All the President’s Men
1976 is one of those years that everybody knows that’s notoriously difficult to choose from. There are at least five amazing and iconic films from this year, and just picking a favorite is a daunting task, let alone which one represents its year.
Leaving alone all the other choices from the year there are five choices: All the President’s Men, Network, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Rocky and Taxi Driver. How the fuck do you choose from those?
Here’s how I did it.
First, I took off Outlaw Josey Wales. I love it, and I can easily write a thousand words about its importance and how it represents both its era and the end of the western. But I’ve done a few westerns, and I just feel like it’s more important for me to choose one of the other films, because they just feel like better choices. That still leaves us with four, though.
Next off… Taxi Driver. Of all the choices, it’s the most expendable. It just is. Plus, I have more Scorsese coming later, and I didn’t want the overload. Kind of like Hitchcock.
Next off was Rocky. Because while it was a cultural phenomenon and is still a great film with iconic moments (and songs), does it represent the year? Or, like Taxi Driver, is it just a timeless classic that just represents its decade and the prevalent type of filmmaking from that decade? Or are they all just good choices and it’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenario?
Eventually I was left with Network and All the President’s Men. And I felt both were great choices. But for some reason, I just kept coming back to All the President’s Men. It just feels like it hit all the marks, of a film that was popular at the time (second highest grosser of the five choices), critically lauded (all of them were, four of them nominated for Best Picture), representative of the culture at the time (pretty much all of them are, with Rocky being the least so), a classic of cinema (all of them are), and something that just represents the year it was released.
Watergate happened just four years before this, and Nixon’s resignation happened two years before this. It’s culturally relevant, and really hits home at the kind of movie and the kind of attitude the American public had at the time. A sort of inquisitive distrust of the American government. Wrap that up in this, the epitome of a 70s movie, and you’ve got a perfect choice for 1976.
But, to be fair, there are four other perfect choices for 1976. So we were gonna win no matter what.
P.S. Jason Robards is awesome in this movie as Ben Bradlee, who actually died the day of this post.
I’ll maintain zero responsibility in regard to that.