Study Guide

All the President's Men Criminality

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Ever since Richard Nixon, it seems like all U.S. presidents have been crooks of some sort. Bill Clinton didn't have sexual relations with that woman. (Yeah, right.) George H.W. Bush promised us no new taxes. (Thanks for nothing, George.) And Reagan literally* built the Death Star. (Source)

But Nixon set the bar pretty high, leading an administration that was willing to lie, cheat, steal, and wire-tap the opposition in order to assure his re-election. All the President's Men exposes the breadth of Nixon's crimes. We have to wonder if they started small, and then it snowballed into the national scandal it became. But the road to the Dark side is made up of small steps.

(*Depends on your definition of "literally.")

Questions About Criminality

  1. Go online and research what happened to everyone involved in this crime. Did the punishments fit the crimes?
  2. Who should be ultimately held responsible for the Watergate break-in? Do you think Nixon signed off on everything?
  3. Why does the film stop where it does, telling us Nixon resigns in an epilogue instead of showing us the continuing investigation?

Chew on This

Even though history tells us what happened in the Watergate scandal, the film starts with the break-in itself, and slowly works its way up the ladder to Nixon. By showing the story in this way, the film shows us the true scale of the crime perpetrated.

The reporters have to engage in criminal activity of their own in order to expose the scandal. You know whatever Deep Throat is up to isn't legal.

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