Named on AFI’s list of the top 100 greatest movies of all time in 2007, All the President’s Men (1976) is indeed an extraordinary picture, one that surely deserves a place on any such list of cinema’s greatest works. In it, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters who uncovered the truth behind the break-in at the Watergate-based Democratic National Committee in 1972 with the help of a mysterious informant known only as Deep Throat. More than merely a recreation of these historical events highlighted by the terrific pairing of Redford and Hoffman, All the President’s Men is in fact a thriller of the highest order, accentuated by stunning photography by cinematographer Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
It’s a god’s honest nail-biter from moment one. And the amazing thing is, you find yourself teetering on the edge of your seat within fifteen minutes of the opening titles even though anyone with a basic understanding of United States history already knows how the Watergate scandal ended. That’s because it’s all about the characters of Woodward and Bernstein, their relationship, and their gradual realization about the gravity of the Watergate story. It’s all about their process of investigation, the behind-the-scenes of how the American people came to understand Richard Nixon’s crimes. And at the center of it all are magnificent performances by Redford and Hoffman, whose chemistry finds them literally finishing one another’s lines (they learned one another’s dialogue before shooting scenes specifically for that purpose). It’s an incredible piece of filmmaking and one that must be seen, and seen in high definition.
All the President’s Men is now available in Two-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. The first disc of this release is identical to Warner’s previous Blu-ray release of the film, but it is well worth the purchase for the contents of the brand-new, second disc. That disc boasts the feature-length, made-for-TV documentary, All the President’s Men Revisited (2013), from Executive Producer Robert Redford. The film provides an in-depth exploration of the Watergate scandal, Woodward and Bernstein’s investigation, and the process by which Woodward and Bernstein’s story came to be a book and, subsequently, the 1976 film by Alan J. Pakula. Packed with archival footage and clips from Nixon’s secret recordings from the Oval Office, All the President’s Men succeeds in bringing together a dozen or so key players in the Senate hearings regarding Watergate for onscreen interviews, as well as Woodward and Bernstein themselves and a host of political commentators and reporters including Jon Stewart and Tom Brokaw.