Synopsis: In the 1970s, terrorist violence is the stuff of networks' nightly news programming and the corporate structure of the UBS Television Network is changing. Meanwhile, Howard Beale, the aging UBS news anchor, has lost his once strong ratings share and so the network fires him. Beale reacts in an unexpected way. We then see how this affects the fortunes of Beale, his coworkers (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen), and the network.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Sidney Lumet
Production: MGM/United Artists
  Won 4 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 25 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
121 min

This story is about Howard Beale...

...who was the Network News anchorman

on UBS TV.

In his time, Howard Beale

had been a mandarin of television.

The grand old man of news, with a HU rating of 16 and a 28 audience share.

In 1969, however,

his fortunes began to decline.

He fell to a 22 share.

The following year his wife died,

and he was left a childless widower...

...with an 8 rating and a 12 share.

He became morose and isolated,

began to drink heavily.

And on September 22, 1975,

he was fired...

...effective in two weeks.

The news was broken to him

by Max Schumacher...

...who was the president

of the news division at UBS.

The two old friends got properly pissed.

I was at CBS with Ed Murrow in 1951.

Must've been 1950, then.

I was NBC, uh, associate producer,

Morning News.

I was just a kid, 26 years old.


Anyway, they were building the lower level

of the George Washington Bridge.

We were doing a remote from there.

And nobody told me.

Then after 7 in the morning, I get a call.

"Where the hell are you? You're supposed

to be on the George Washington Bridge."

I jump out of bed,

throw my raincoat over my pajamas.

I run down the stairs,

I run out in the street, hail a cab.

And I say to the cabby, "Take me to the

middle of the George Washington Bridge."

And the cabbie turns around

and he says....

He says, "Don't do it, buddy.

You're a young man.

You got your whole life ahead of you."

Didn't I ever tell you that one before?

I'm gonna kill myself.

Oh, shit, Howard.

I'm gonna blow my brains out

right on the air.

Right in the middle of the 7:00 news.

Well, you'll get a hell of a rating,

I'll guarantee you that.

-50 share easy.

-You think so?

Well, sure.

We could make a series out of it.

Suicide of the Week.

Hell. Why limit ourselves?

Execution of the Week.

Terrorist of the Week.

I love it.



Mad bombers, Mafia hit men...

...automobile smashups.

The Death Hour.

Great Sunday night show

for the whole family.

We'll wipe that fucking Disney

right off the air.


Let's do the Lenin deportation

at the end of three.

That strong enough to bump?

In one then, I'll do a lead on Sara Jane

Moore to Mayberry in San Francisco.

In the film I saw,

it was the chief of detectives.

I think we've got about 10 seconds

on the shooting itself.

The whole thing is 1:25.

-What does that come out?

About 4:

We using Squeaky Fromme?

Let's do that in two.

Squeaky, Ford at the airport, bump.

Now, you using a map

going into San Francisco?

Um, I prefer our news pics.

What have we got left?

Gun control, Patty Hearst affidavit.

Guerrillas in Chad, OPEC in Vienna.

All right, fine. I'll see you later.

-Hello, Howard, how are you?

Hi. Okay.

Don't forget, Howard,

Ron Nessen is now 16, okay?


The first attempt on President Ford's life

was 18 days ago...

...and again yesterday in San Francisco.

In spite of the two attempts...

...Mr. Ford says he will not become

a prisoner of the Oval Office...

...a hostage of would-be assassins.

The American people are good people:

Democrats, Independents,

Republicans and others.

How the hell you always get mixed up....

Under no circumstances will I...

...and I hope no others, capitulate... those that want to undercut...

...what's all good in America.

Two, cue Howard.

Ladies and gentlemen...

...I would like to announce

that I will be retiring from this program... two weeks' time

because of poor ratings.

Since this show was the only thing

I had going for me in my life...

...I have decided to kill myself.

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Paddy Chayefsky

Sidney Aaron "Paddy" Chayefsky was an American playwright, screenwriter and novelist. He is the only person to have won three solo Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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