- 2 hr 1 min
The 1976 film 'Network' is a satire of the media industry that turned out to be prophetic in so many ways. The plot of the film examines the day-to-day troubles and anxieties of running a major TV network. At the time this film closed production, most people in the U.S. did not have cable television, and therefore, the three largest TV networks held so much more power than they do today. The story of 'Network' is about a fictional TV network (UBS), and how it engages in outrageous methodologies to boost its flagging viewer ratings. The two central characters (played by Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway), are eccentric in the extreme, and somehow team up to produce a new kind of television program featuring a loudly ranting host who screams political diatribes on air for 6o minutes. In 'Network', actor Peter Finch assumes the role of Howard Beale, a veteran news anchor given to both outburst of madness along with genuine insights. At one point, he announces on air that he wants to commit suicide during a forthcoming broadcast. Rather than fire him, the network executives elevate his program to a more desirable time slot because so many people are now tuning in to see what he will do next. The takeaway from watching this movie is that corporations are not above exploiting the mental illness of an employee if it is deemed sufficiently profitable. Before the final scene, Beal screams out the now famous line: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Such a film can end only one way. Over time, everything gets old, even the rants of a crazy old man on the tube, and viewers tune away. The network decides to have Beal assassinated by a gunman, and in the end, Howard Beal becomes the first man on TV to die because of low ratings.