All the President's Men

  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1976

Common Sense Media says

Superb Woodward and Bernstein Watergate story.
  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1976

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie has strong messages about persistence, hard work, and dealing with the consqeuences of your mistakes -- as well as not being afraid to question authority. On the other hand, the government is portrayed as being riddled with conspiracies and double-crosses.

Positive role models

Although they're flawed and not always likeable, Woodward and Bernstein are dogged reporters who pursue the truth at all costs. Some of the officials they cross paths with are much less admirable.

Violence

Some tense moments.

Sex

Brief epithets.

Language

Not constant, but several uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," and other words.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking, and a fair bit of smoking (accurate for the era).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic drama based on the true story of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal has some tense moments, strong language (including "s--t" and "f--k"), smoking, and drinking. Kids may need some historical context in order to understand the story's complex characters and situations, but those who stick with it will take away positive messages about persistence and dedication to the truth.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), a junior reporter for the Washington Post, is sent to cover a small-time break-in at the office of the Democratic National Committee (located in the Watergate office building). He works with Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), another reporter, to find, after tediously painstaking research, that the break-in was part of a complex pattern of corruption in President Nixon's re-election campaign.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Based on the real-life story of the two reporters who wouldn't give up on the story of the Watergate break-in, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN is as gripping as any detective novel. Producer/star Redford was so intent on authenticity that he even flew actual garbage from the Washington Post wastepaper baskets out to the set. The movie does a good job of showing how much of the work of the reporters was dull persistence, and it also does a good job of showing us what went in to the decisions of editor Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards, in an Oscar-winning performance) and publisher Katharine Graham about what they needed in terms of proof in order to be able to publish the story.

The movie showcases an interesting range of moral choices and calibrations. The famous "Deep Throat" (Hal Holbrook), still unidentified when the movie was filmed, is someone from the inside who won't allow himself to be identified or even quoted but is willing to confirm what the reporters are able to find elsewhere. Others involved in the scandal, both in the corruption itself and in its cover-up, must decide what to do and how much to disclose. One key development is the decision made by someone identified only as "the bookkeeper" (Jane Alexander) to talk to Bernstein. The participants must also deal with the consequences of their choices. Donald Segretti (Robert Walden) manages to evoke sympathy when what began as juvenile pranks leave him in disgrace. Woodward and Bernstein also make mistakes and must deal with the consequences.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Woodward and Bernstein are the only reporters interested in the story. Why did they insist on two sources before they would publish anything?

  • One of the people portrayed in the movie later testified before the Watergate Committee that he had "lost his moral compass." What does that mean? How does something like that happen?

  • How has technology changed the way that reporters do research and prepare their stories?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 24, 1976
DVD release date:September 28, 1997
Cast:Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards, Robert Redford
Director:Alan J. Pakula
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Topics:History
Run time:139 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of All the President's Men was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byfatcatmikez April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Entertaining & Educational (Coming From A 14-Year Old) But Today An R

Great movie about the Watergate Scandal. All though it is entertaining & educational at the same time, and is also a classic, it is the edgiest PG film I have ever seen. If it was made today, it would be Rated R no doubt. There is an EXTREME amount of profanity (over 11 "F" words & frequent use of all the others) and an EXTREME amount of smoking (done by Dustin Hoffman) seen in 75% of the movie. There is no violence, but there are some tense moments and threats of violence (Quote from "Deep Throat": "Your Lives Are In Danger"). All though this movie can teach you alot about the scandal, it is reccomended for 15 and up.

Kid, 10 years old Written byacmrockstar June 16, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Good for adults or teens

It was an fine movie. lots of dialogue. lots of swearing and drinking.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written bymilograamans August 1, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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