Network

AFI Rank: #66
Year Released: 1976
Director: Sidney Lumet
Actors: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy

Network came out in 1976, and the opening scenes talk about crime waves, civil wars in Africa, financial dealings with the middle east, and most of all, a huge recession that has people out of work. Fast forward to 2011, and it as if the past years never happened. We're in the exact same situation. If someone came on TV and the internet stirring up the current population, telling them all to shout "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" - they'd answer in volume. In fact our waves of protests seem to indicate that very thing is going on.

There are amazing actors in this movie, and they present a storyline that has timeless meaning. The anchorman is about to be kicked out for being too old, too out of date. When his inner rage erupts, he catches fire with the public who appreciates his honesty. His TV station vacillates between being nervous he'll hurt their reputation and thrilled as the ratings increase.

The ups and downs of his show pull other station members along with him. There's the woman who is all about high ratings at all cost. There's the old school news director who has concerns about morality.

The star of the show, though, is the television set. We hear how the "current population" barely reads a book or newspaper. They get all of their information fed to them, pre-chewed, from the TV set. Over the course of the movie we see how the masses can be mobilized - or pacified - all due to how the TV message is handed to them.

The only real difference is that many people now stare at the glowing internet screen rather than the glowing TV set on the wall.

A good movie to re-examine just how much things have stayed the same in the past few decades.

Male vs Female Actors
Network actually has a very strong female role! Yes she's quite a flaky character, and she reinforces the whole older-man-chases-younger-woman stereotype, but she does exist and has a name.

The Bechdel Test
I think one of the female character's subordinates has a name and they talk about TV shows, not men. So Network might actuall pass the test!

Buy Network from Amazon.com AFI Top 100 Film Listing
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100