Study Guide

All the President's Men Genre

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Docudrama, Political Thriller

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but Hollywood is prettier than real life. So when they tackle the truth, they do it with attractive people. We've seen Elizabeth Montgomery play Lizzie Borden. Michael Sheen as journalist David Frost. And Colin Firth play King George VI.

All the President's Men falls into the docudrama category, documenting a real-life event based on a non-fiction book, but dramatizing it with hot people and a little bit of artistic license. For example, the scene where Bernstein shakes down a cute female assistant never actually happened. But it is included in the movie to develop his character as someone willing to do anything to get a scoop.

But on paper, All the President's Men is more boring than season two of True Detective. It's just reporters calling people, getting hung up, getting the door slammed in their face, yawn, yawn, snore. So it's spiced up a bit, especially near the end, with a bit of thriller. Deep Throat disappears when Woodward's back is turned. A car tears out of a parking garage. Woodward thinks he's being chased. What is this, Scream?

Because the film has a pretty shallow climax – Nixon's resignation occurs in a footnote at the end – it has to jack up the tension somehow. We think every movie would be better with a few more explosions (someone give Bambi a rocket launcher!), but All the President's Men generally keeps it low-key, but tense.

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