Watchdog Journalists Bring Down a President
All the President’s Men Is a Lesson in American History
reviewed by Selin Gok, age 16
It was 1972 and President Richard Nixon was running for
reelection. Late one evening an obscure, seemingly minor break in took
place at Democratic party headquarters. Nobody at the time could have
predicted that this incident would shake the foundations of the federal
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the
two young journalists who broke the Watergate story. They were reporters
for the Washington Post.
All the President’s Men is a
political thriller based on the real accounts of these two journalists
who investigated the Watergate scandal. All the President’s Men was
released in 1976. The film stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
film begins at the Watergate Hotel complex when a security guard
discovers an unlocked door. The guard suspects a burglary because the
door is kept open with tape. The police arrive at the scene and arrest
the five burglars. As the story develops, it turns out these mysterious
men were attempting to bug the national headquarters of the Democratic
Soon after the arrest, the film cuts to the newsroom of
the Washington Post Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are
assigned to cover the seemingly routine burglary. Throughout the film,
their executive editor Ben Bradlee constantly challenges the reporters
to understand the whole story behind the scandal.
significant character in the movie is a senior government official and
anonymous source known only as “Deep Throat”. Throughout the film, he
gives clues to the reporters about the scandal. For example, in one
particularly mysterious and dramatic scene, he meets late at night with
Woodward in the basement of a parking garage. He points the reporter in
the right direction, telling him to “Follow the money.” By unraveling
the Watergate scandal, the Washington Post investigation eventually
forced President Nixon to resign in disgrace.
All the President’s
Men was a very intriguing film. But it helps to have some previous
knowledge of the Watergate scandal to fully appreciate the film. You
have to pay attention to all the small details, or you’ll find yourself
pressing the replay button on your remote. All the President’s Men is
clever because director Alan J. Pakula formatted the film like a puzzle
so that the viewer has to piece together information to figure out what
I recommend this film to a younger adult audience.
All the President’s Men leaves the viewer with several positive
messages. It demonstrates that, with hard work and dedication, you can
unravel the truth in most situations. The film also dramatizes the
important role journalists play in a democratic society. Journalists are
watchdogs. They protect us, even from our own government.