Will politics ever be part of movies again? EW movie critic Owen Gleiberman answers reader questions

Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, ...
Credit: All the President's Men: Everett Collection

Will politics ever be part of movies again?

It seems that politics and movies are not a winning combination in these times. Do you think the climate of the late ’60s and early ’70s allowed for political urgency to be brought to the screen? — Adam

It certainly did — yet following that same logic, the climate of our time should allow for, if not demand, movies of even greater political urgency. Just think back, for a moment, to 1976, when the impassioned cycle of conspiracy thrillers inspired by Vietnam and Watergate culminated in ”All the President’s Men,” a media-age masterpiece that proved you couldn’t get much more dramatic than a movie torn from the intricate backroom web of contemporary politics.

It’s no stretch to say that the world today is even more volatile, more divisive, more fraught with issues of life and death. Yet the movie industry has been content to stick its head in the sand and ignore issues of terrorism, espionage, civil liberties, and global culture clash. Here’s a prediction, however: The fear of topicality in post-9/11 Hollywood will come crashing down after the release of Steven Spielberg’s next proposed film — a dramatization of the Israeli athlete hostage crisis at the 1972 Olympics and its aftermath. It’s a film that has the potential to bring politics, in all its incendiary and controversial reality, roaring back to the big screen.

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All the President's Men
  • Movie
  • 138 minutes
  • Alan J. Pakula