I’ve been watching All the President’s Men lately and trying to come up with a theory for it. I want to say that twin events, All the President’s Men and the election of Jimmy Carter, stand as the final two-pronged assault of America’s political counterculture.
Which is to say that they were the parting shots of (and monuments to) the whole countercultural movement, just before its unilateral surrender to the forces of music videos and product research.
They were big events for 1976, which—let’s face it—was the year most of us were born. But of these two bicentennial landmarks, I want to say that ATPM has proven to have the lasting positive influence. Nobel Prizes notwithstanding.
I’m talking only about the movie, not Watergate itself, and certainly not Woodward and Bernstein’s reconstruction, All the President’s Men the book (which I do have plans to read now in the near future). The power and influence of this movie comes from its lionization of the reporter as one of those archetypal countercultural figures typical of ’70s Hollywood golden age, a contemporary Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or a mildly employable Easy Rider.