Year released: 1976
How it fared back then: Eight Oscar noms and four wins says more than enough. But if it doesn't, the film was also very culturally relevant: it's a mainstream re-telling of the Watergate scandal, inarguably the biggest political scandal in American history and an amazing example of investigative journalism. Or how about the fact that it starred two very big-name, award-winning actors?
Why it's lasted: Aside from being a compelling, entertaining documentation of history, the film is also extremely well-done. Dialogue is dramatic, characters are likeable (and commendable) and the story is tense and suspenseful. And since then, Redford and Hoffman have continued to grow a fan base throughout their film careers.
Classic moment: When Bernstein (Hoffman) interviews the reluctant bookkeeper and wheedles her into telling him very specific financial details of the scandal, despite her saying, "I'm not going to tell you anything," and "I don't want to say any more." And then some of the scheme's inner workings, motives and key players. And then some more, scribbled onto napkins, match books and scraps of paper.
Does it still hold up? Short answer, yes. If this film came out today, it would probably get nominated just the same for eight Academy Awards. It's a film with undeniable relevance and well-deserved reverence. However, it's a bit slow and, on first impression, can seem boring, a la The King's Speech. But we all saw how well that film killed it.
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