Mrs. Barham: After every war, you know we always find out how unnecessary it was and after this one, I’m sure all the generals will write books about the blunders made by other generals and statesmen will publish their secret diaries and it’ll show beyond any shadow of doubt that war could easily have been avoided in the first place. And, the rest of us, of course, will be left with the job of bandaging the wounded and burying the dead.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison: I don’t trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham. It’s always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a hell it is. It’s always the war widows who lead the Memorial Day parades.
Emily Barham: That was unkind, Charlie, and very rude.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison: We shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogeys. It’s the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers. The rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widow’s weeds like nuns, Mrs. Barham and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices. My brother died at Anzio.
Emily Barham: I didn’t know that, Charlie.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison: Yes. An everyday soldier’s death, no special heroism involved. They buried what pieces they found of him. But my mother insists he died a brave death and pretends to be very proud.
Mrs. Barham: You’re very hard on your mother. It seems a harmless enough pretense to me.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison: No, Mrs. Barham. No. You see, now my other brother can’t wait to reach enlistment age. That’ll be in September.
Mrs. Barham: Oh, Lord.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison: Maybe ministers and generals blunder us into war, Mrs. Barham the least the rest of us can do is to resist honoring the institution. What has my mother got for pretending bravery was admirable? She’s under constant sedation and terrified she may wake up one morning and find her last son has run off to be brave. I don’t think I was rude or unkind before. Do you, Mrs. Barham?
Mrs. Barham: No.
Joe: Wadda you feel like doing, Angie?
Angie: I don’t know. Wadda you feel like doing?
Joe: I don’t know. George what are you doing tonight?
Marty: “What are you doing tonight?”… “I don’t know, what are you doing?!” The burlesque! Loew’s Paradise! Miserable and lonely! Miserable and lonely and stupid! What am I, crazy or something?! I got something good here! What am I hanging around with you guys for?! [walks away]
Angie: Watsa, Marty? Watsa matter with you?
Marty: You don’t like her. My mother don’t like her. She’s a dog, and I’m a fat, ugly little man. Well, all I know is I hadda good time last night. I’m gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I’m gonna go down on my knees and I’m gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party again this New Year’s, I gotta date for the party. You don’t like her, that’s too bad.
The first time I saw this film I was completely blown away. It’s eerie how a satirical film about television made 35 years ago can be so accurate within today’s world of television. I rewatched it recently and am just as in awe of it as ever. Network was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning four: Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actor Ned Beatty, Best Supporting Actress Beatrice Straight (won), Best Actress Faye Dunaway (won), Best Actor William Holden, Best Actor Peter Finch (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were All The President’s Men, Bound For Glory, Taxi Driver and winner Rocky.
I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work, or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild, and there’s nobody anywhere who knows what to do and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. We sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything, everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and the world we live in is getting smaller. All we say is “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.” Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don”t want you to write to your congressman, because I don’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression, the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street . All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve gotta say “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!” So… I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it and stick your head out and yell “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!”