is a 1976
film which tells about a television network news anchor
whose insane rantings draw big ratings numbers. It is a cynical look at the way networks make decisions about programming and the disdain that they show for the audience.
The movie stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight. It was written by Paddy Chayefsky, and was directed by Sidney Lumet.
It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Finch, posthumously), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Faye Dunaway), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Beatrice Straight) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Holden), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ned Beatty), Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture.
Beatrice Straight's performance, which won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, was the shortest Oscar-winning role until Judi Dench won in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love.
In 2000 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
- We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.
- I would like at this moment to announce that I will be retiring from this program in two weeks time because of poor ratings. Since this show is the only thing I had going for me in my life, I've decided to kill myself. I'm going to blow my brains out right on this program a week from today. So tune in next Tuesday. That should give the public relations people a week to promote the show. You ought to get a hell of a rating out of that. Fifty share, easy.
- You've got to get mad! You've got to say, "I'm a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!" I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest, I don't want you to riot, I don't want you to write to your congress man, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression, the inflation, the Russians, or the crime in the streets. All I know is that first...You've got to get mad!
- This was the story of Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because of lousy ratings.