Study Guide

All the President's Men Criminality

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POLICE RADIO: Car 727. Car 727. Open door at the Watergate office building. Possible burglary.

The movie opens with a crime, but not a slick heist on the caliber of the Thomas Crown Affair. It's an inept break-in that is discovered in about ten seconds. You know off the bat that we're not dealing with criminal masterminds.

HARRY ROSENFELD: One of the burglars had $814. One $230, one $215, and one $234. Most of it was in $100 bills and in sequence.

This is the first red flag on this break-in. How can $30 be in $100 bills?! Actually, the bigger question is why would robbers keep all this cash on them? They're not that bright.

ROSENFELD: They were bugging the place.

In the newsroom, there's lots of spitballing as to what the true nature of the crime might be. Everyone knows there is more to the break-in than they suspect. They just don't know what it is yet.

DAHLBERG: I'm a proper citizen. What I do is proper. […] I've just been through a terrible ordeal. My neighbor's wife has been kidnapped.

This sounds like one of many BS excuses people give Woodward and Bernstein, but it's actually true. Virginia Piper was kidnapped and ransomed for $1 million in $20 bills. That's a lot of bills. It was paid, the largest ransom in U.S. history. (Source)

SEGRETTI: I'm a lawyer. I'm a good lawyer. And I'll probably wind up going to jail and being disbarred. And I don't know what I did that was so goddamn awful. I'll tell you something. None of this was my idea.

No one seems to be concerned about the ramifications of the Watergate break-in to the country at large. Everyone is too preoccupied with covering their own butts, concerned what will happen to themselves.

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