With stunning prescience, Sidney Lumet's searing satire of television and the contemporary moment chronicles media corruption and the way that the public buys into the myths the media creates. The moral and spiritual turpitude delivered by the debilitating forces of television are rendered in sharp relief against a backdrop of crumbling humanity in what is regarded as one of the great satires in Hollywood history. With a visceral script from Paddy Chayefsky, NETWORK follows the doomed path of aging newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch), who, upon learning that he is to be fired after decades as a news anchor, announces to millions of viewers that he will publicly commit suicide during his last broadcast. When the ratings consequently shoot up, hungry executive-in-training Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) seizes the moment to exploit Beale's Messianic nervous breakdown, turning his rage into the vehicle for the network's first Number One show and a nationwide craze. Who could have predicted that this 1976 film might someday influence an even more contagious trend in television broadcasting: the reality show?
Lumet audio commentary
Interview with Paddy Chayefsky from the Dinah! show
Turner Classic Movies' Private Screenings featuring Sidney Lumet
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