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“Network” by Sidney Lumet

The Network is a famous American movie that was released in 1976 and gradually joined the ranks of the most culturally significant films ever produced in the United States. The plot is centered on Howard Beale – a prominent TV presenter who works for the Union Broadcasting System network. The problem is that Howard gradually stops demonstrating excellent performance in terms of audience retention, and the organization is going to close his TV show (Lumet). However, the protagonist manages to find a temporary solution to the issue and benefit from the crowd’s thirst for crazy performances.

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The movie demonstrates how the TV industry promotes the crowd’s madness and shapes society’s values and culture in accordance with the interests of the mighty. The industry follows this path instead of fulfilling its promise to provide unbiased information. Thus, as a result of his nervous breakdown related to unsuccessful work, Beale once promises to kill himself during the next broadcast. Surprisingly, it helps to popularize the show again and then encourages Beale to make a series of persuasive emotional statements to maintain ratings (Lumet). With that in mind, the film sheds light on how television can participate in the promotion of cultural dysfunction. In this case, the broadcasting giant encourages common people to enjoy witnessing a famous person’s inadequate behaviors instead of giving preference to helpful information contributing to their knowledge.

Finally, despite his growing madness, Beale is allowed to create his own show. Harts using air time to promote mental instability among the audience, thus attracting more and more attention to the show. Eventually, in an attempt to save declining ratings, Beale’s producer hires the terrorist group to kill the TV presenter in a live television broadcast (Lumet). This satirical movie sends an extremely powerful message, according to which the mass media can go beyond any limits provided that it brings profits and keeps the audience glued to the screen.


Lumet, Sidney, director. Network. United Artists Corporation, 1976.

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