The Watergate scandal, which stained and terminated the Nixon presidency, made Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein the ’70s’ primo nerd-studs — guys who became famous by doing an important job sensationally well. Back then smart college grads — whose counterparts 30 years later would head to Wall Street for the kicks and power — wanted to be Woodward and Bernstein. It was only natural that, in the movie version of their best-seller All the President’s Men, the Washington Post cub reporters would be played by the top stars of the decade, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
William Goldman’s script captured the exhausting leg work and the connect-the-dots inspirations that nailed a Presidential conspiracy; and director Alan J. Pakula created a tone both bustling and ominous. Here was a thriller where the good guys work on phones and typewriters, and the bad guys are trying to kidnap with the Constitution.