All the President’s Men
It’s hard to think of an unlikelier book to make a movie from. I mean, the book is exciting, fascinating, and tells a very important story, but let’s face it, watching two guys banging away at their typewriters or buttonholing worried members of the Nixon Administration is not the stuff thrillers are made of.
So Robert Redford brought in William Goldman, one of the greatest screenwriters who ever worked in Hollywood, and he wrote a script that went on to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He was the only one to realize that it just wasn’t possible to film the whole book at less than four hours or so, as the book followed the Watergate scandal from the break-in right up to Nixon’s resignation. No, he stopped it in the middle, and it worked, with a long shot of Woodstein banging away at their typewriters while a TV in the background showed Nixon at his second inauguration. We all knew they were writing the stories that would finally bring him down.
The attention to detail was fanatical. The set designers totally duplicated the newsroom at the Washington Post. Redford and Hoffman and all the supporting cast are great. But it all comes down to the script. Goldman worked a miracle in making this one of the most powerful political thrillers ever made, and there is not a single instance of violence in it. I love this movie.