The phrase “follow the money” entered the vocabulary 40 years ago when this taut political thriller premiered. The account of Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigation of the Watergate break-in was a new kind of newspaper picture: for the first time, the plot focused entirely on the mechanics of covering a story, including hours of just waiting. Thanks to some sharp performances, Alan J. Pakula’s direction and tight editing, the picture keeps audiences involved for over two hours. Producer and star Robert Redford first approached Woodward and Bernstein about filming their story when it was running in the Post, hoping to make a low-budget picture about their investigation. When it turned into a bestseller, the production budget grew and he had to star as Woodward to get Warner Bros. to back it. Then, he personally approached Dustin Hoffman to co-star as Bernstein. Although they couldn’t film in the Post’s offices, the production team spent $450,000 to duplicate them on two studio sound stages. The Post even contributed its trash to dress the set. The result was the year’s second highest-grossing film, which earned Oscars for its script, art direction, sound and Jason Robards’ supporting performance as editor Ben Bradlee.
(d. Alan J. Pakula, 138m, Digital)
Presented in a 40th anniversary screening in collaboration with Warner Bros. Classics