Paddy Chayefsky's brilliant, Oscar-winning 1975 script was far ahead of its time when written, and remains increasingly relevant today. A blistering satire on the world of ratings-driven commercial news TV, Network introduces us to Howard Beale (Peter Finch, in a posthumously awarded Oscar-winning performance), the dean of newscasters at the United Broadcasting System (UBS). Beale is about to be dumped because he "skews old" and his ratings are dropping. One of Beale's closest friends, network executive Max Schumacher (William Holden), delivers the bad news, and Beale announces on his next newscast that he is going to commit suicide on his final program. Ambitious programming executive Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) convinces the network president to let Beale go on camera, reasoning that his suicide would give the network the highest ratings in history. But instead of killing himself, Beale talks about the terrible state of the world-and concludes his tirade with the now-classic cry, "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Christensen then remakes the news into something that uncannily resembles current reality TV programming, starring Beale as the "Mad Prophet of the Airwaves," until the ratings start dropping again...triggering an unexpected and devastating conclusion.
Starring Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, William Holden
Director Sidney Lumet