Watching All the President’s Men is a pretty eerie experience right now, in February of 2017, with our own presidential scandal unfolding in front of us. It’s also a pretty educational experience, as someone unfamiliar with the process of investigative journalism, to see a behind-the-scenes look at the legwork, the self doubt, the paranoia, that goes into the kind of investigations that are unfolding at key journalistic outlets across the country right now.
The 1970s was, in many ways, a golden age of a certain style of cinema, and one genre in particular that succeeded in the decade was a series of slick, modern thriller films about investigation and surveillance and policework, a reimagining of the noir genre that had been so successful in the ’40s and ’50s. Many of the thrillers from this era remain key stepping stones for this genre of film, early predecessors to the modern crime thriller. Many of the biggest directors in film in the 1970s explored this particular world, including directors such as William Friedkin (The French Connection), Sydney Pollack (Three Days of the Condor), Francis Ford Coppola (The Conversation), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), and Sidney Lumet (Serpico).