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Journalists

Television
"Network" (1976): Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is a veteran newsman who is told he is being let go after 25 years on the job. When he tells the audience he intends to commit suicide after his final newscast, the ratings soar. Beale does not kill himself, but apologizes and tells people to go to their windows and shout "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Scene from movieMillions do. Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway), a programming executive, pitches the idea to give him his own weekly show, which becomes a hit. Then when ratings start to slip, he gets canceled. But instead of a pink slip, he is assassinated -- as the lead-in to a new program. The film picked up 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, with wins for Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight) and Original Screenplay. The great cast also includes William Holden and Ned Beatty, who received Oscar nominations, and Robert Duvall.

"The China Syndrome" (1979): TV reporter Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) and freelance cameraman Richard Adams (Michael Douglas) are at a nuclear power plant to do a feature on energy when a near meltdown occurs. The crisis is avoided when an engineer, Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon), reacts to the situation. But Scene from movieAdams has it all on film. The station executives decide not to air the film, saying it might cause a panic. Godell learns the authorities have covered up the incident. Godell then discovers inferior equipment and knows the crisis could happen again. He gives the information to someone to take to a hearing on a larger nuclear project, and the man is murdered. With his life in danger, Godell takes over the control room and says he wants to be interviewed by Wells. The company says a madman has taken over the plant. Before Godell can tell Wells what he has uncovered, security police fatally shoot him. The film was released just weeks before the nuclear incident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Fonda and Lemmon earned two of the movie's four Oscar nominations.

Scene from movie"Broadcast News" (1987): The movie takes you inside daily operations of a Washington, D.C., TV news bureau. Holly Hunter is the producer, Jane Craig; Albert Brooks is a veteran correspondent, Aaron Altman, and William Hurt plays the tall, good-looking, superficial anchor-to-be Tom Grunick, who knows little about journalism. Since their work is their lives, inter-office relationships develop. Altman loves Craig, who sees him more like a brother, while she is attracted to Grunick, who stands for everything she doesn't like about TV news. Joan Cusack has a memorable scene as she dashes through the newsroom -- running, jumping, sliding and dodging -- to get a videotape on the air by deadline. Hurt, Hunter and Brooks were all nominated for Academy Awards as was the film as Best Picture. But it went 0-for-7 at the Oscars. Post reviews from Style and Weekend.

"Street Smart" (1987): Magazine journalist Jonathan Fisher (Christopher Reeve) is assigned to write about the lifestyle of a pimp, but when he can't find a source, he makes up a portrait. The cover story leads to his own TV news show. He then discovers "Fast Black" (Morgan Freeman), a tough pimp suspected of murder. An assistant district attorney believes Fisher's story was based on Fast Black and subpoenas his notes. Of course, the notes don't exist. Fast Black wants Fisher to produce notes complete with an alibi and doesn't like "no" for an answer. The performance earned Freeman an Oscar nomination. Kathy Bates and Mimi Rogers also appear.

"Eyewitness" (1981): TV newscaster Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver) interviews residents of a building in which a murder occurred. William Hurt is the building's janitor, Daryll Deever, who is infatuated with Sokolow and offers fictional information just to talk to her. But the real murderers think the janitor does know something and want to quiet him. The cast also includes Christopher Plummer, James Woods, Pamela Reed and Morgan Freeman.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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