Frank Wills is a security guard at the Watergate complex. On June 17, 1972 he finds a door with the security lock taped open. He calls the police. The police find and arrest five men who are burglarizing the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. New reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) is assigned to cover the story for The Washington Post.
The burglars have a walky-talky, bugging equipment, money in sequential order and a fancy lawyer. One of the burglars is a former CIA agent. The burglars are connected to E. Howard Hunt, another former employee of the CIA and to President Nixon’s White House Counsel Charles Colson.
Because Woodward is fairly new to The Post, Editor Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards) assigns Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) to work with him on the story. So begins an investigation into the Watergate burglary. Eventually Bradlee would refer to the pair as “Woodstein”. Woodward contacts an anonymous source that is nicknamed “Deep Throat” for any information on the connection between the burglary and the White House. Deep Throat will only confirm or deny any information Woodward comes up with. His only advice to Woodward is to “follow the money”.
This puts the reporters on the track of how the burglars were paid. Money is believed to have come from the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP) or CREEP for short. Then they connect a slush fund of hundreds of thousands of dollars to White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and former Attorney General John N. Mitchell. They learn the CREEP had been financing a campaign to sabotage Democratic candidates for over a year before the break-in. Deep Throat implicates not only Haldeman but the entire US Intelligence community including the CIA and the FBI.
“All The President’s Men” was released in 1976 and was directed by Alan J. Pakula. It is a political thriller based on the book by the same name by reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, published in 1974. The book and the movie chronicles the true events that happened from June 1972 to January 1973 when Bernstein and Woodward filed their investigative report with the Washington Post. The story initiated a series of events culminating in the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 9th, 1974.
The film only covers the first seven months of their investigation up to the time of the President’s second inauguration, although the final scene of the film is a series of teletypes about the final outcome of senate hearings and the resignation of Nixon. The book continues to the point where Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of the President’s tapes. Bernstein and Woodward published a subsequent book titled “The Final Days” in 1976 that chronicled the events from where the book “All The President’s Men” left off to the final months of Nixon’s presidency. The subsequent book “The Final Days” was published the same year the movie was released.
Woodward and Bernstein had considered writing the book but were finally spurred on by Robert Redford’s interest in purchasing the film rights. The book’s narrative relays Watergate as a series of events. Redford is credited with changing the movie’s narrative to the investigation the reporters undertook and how they reported the story.
The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and four Golden Globes. In 2010, 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".
The identity of the information source known as “Deep Throat” was revealed in 2005 to be W Mark Felt. He was the Deputy Director of the FBI during the early seventies. The movie was responsible for using the catchphrase “Follow the money”. The phrase was not used in the book. The movie is two hours and eighteen minutes long but it is gripping and intense.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana 1905)