Network is a 1976 American film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS), and its struggle with poor ratings. The film was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, and stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.
The film won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Chayefsky). Thirty-five years later, “Network” remains an incendiary if influential film, and its screenplay is still admired as much for its predictive accuracy as for its vehemence.
Network has continued to receive recognition, decades after its initial release. In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In 2002, it was inducted into the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame as a film that has “set an enduring standard for U.S. American entertainment.” In 2006, Chayefsky’s script was voted one of the top-ten screenplays by the Writers Guild of America, East. In 2007, the film was 64th among the Top 100 Greatest U.S. American Films as chosen by the American Film Institute, a ranking slightly higher than the one AFI had given it ten years earlier.
Sidney Lumet, the director who preferred the streets of New York to the back lots of Hollywood and whose stories of conscience —12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict, Network — became modern American film classics, died on April 9th at his home in Manhattan. He was 86. Robert Berkvist in the New York Times reflected: “‘While the goal of all movies is to entertain,’ Mr Lumet once wrote, ‘the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further.
It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing.’ Social issues set his own mental juices flowing, and his best films not only probed the consequences of prejudice, corruption and betrayal but also celebrated individual acts of courage.”