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Network (United Artists 1976, Peter Finch, William Holden)



In Network Paddy Chayefsky prophetically, scathingly satirizes the lurid depths to which TV will sink for ratings (though he must be in writers’ heaven chuckling about the current state of the media in general).

A ruthless network executive (Faye Dunaway) realizes a news anchorman (Peter Finch), driven crazy by the plunge in standards and full of righteous indignation, is worth more to her crazy than sane (his cri de coeur, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” makes a brilliant on-air promo).

News veteran William Holden is the weary voice of sanity as he watches the business (and the woman) he loves sink deeper into the morass. TV veteran Chayefsky is a master of portraying the madness of institutions, and here his script is prevented from slipping into mere parody by Sidney Lumet and the cast. Finch died soon after the production.

When Max (William Holden) and Diana (Faye Dunaway) discuss their affair, they refer to it as “a many-splendored thing,” an inside reference to the 1955 film Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing that also starred Holden.


Academy Award Nominations: 10, including Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor: William Holden.

production details
Country: USA | United Artists | 122 minutes
Release Year: 1976

Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: Paddy Chayefsky


Peter Finch as Howard Beale
Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen
Lance Henriksen as Network Lawyer at Khan’s Place (uncredited)
William Holden as Max Schumacher
Wesley Addy as Nelson Chaney
Faye Dunaway as Diana Christensen
Robert Duvall as Frank Hackett
Roy Poole as Sam Haywood
Lane Smith as Robert McDonough
Beatrice Straight as Louise Schumacher
Jordan Charney as Harry Hunter
William Prince as Edward George Ruddy
Arthur Burghardt as Great Ahmed Kahn
Conchata Ferrell as Barbara Schlesinger
Jerome Dempsey as Walter C. Amundsen
Ed Crowley as Joe Donnelly
Kathy Cronkite as Mary Ann Gifford
Marlene Warfield as Laureen Hobbs
Darryl Hickman as Bill Herron
Ken Kercheval as Merrill Grant
Ted Sorel as Giannini
Cindy Grover as Caroline Schumacher
Michael Lombard as Willie Stein

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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