The Story: None necessary. Except to say that the words ring truer now than they did in 1976. You bet they're still yelling in Baton Rouge...from their FEMA trailers. And there's no better way to go into an Election Week than with this sort of vitriol for a government that was conceived of the, by the, for the people. But lest one become too smug, there's not a lot of original thought being displayed here, merely feel-good mob mentality.
George Clooney is prepping a remake...which will be broadcast...live...on TV.
The Set-Up: Old-school UBS news-anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) has been fired for low ratings, so he has announced that in a week's time he will commit suicide on the air. As a result, his ratings have soared. But his mental condition deteriorates. Now, after wandering the streets of New York in the rain in his pajamas and trench coat, he arrives at the studio in time for his newscast...and some commentary. Programming Director Diane Christensen (Faye Dunaway) and former News Director Max Schumacher (William Holden), along with the rest of the country, are watching.
Director: Take two, cue Howard.
Howard Beale: I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression.
Beale: 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 in the street...
Beale: ...and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know 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, and we sit watching our TV's 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.
Beale: 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 anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and 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."
Beale: 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.
Beale: I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad.
Beale: You've got to say, "I'm a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!"
Beale: So I want you to get up now, I want all of you to get up out of your chairs.
Beale: 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 anymore!"
Harry Hunter: (in the control room): Stay with him, stay with him!
Director: Everybody, stay with him!
Beale: I want you to get up right now, get up, go to your windows, open them, and stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Diana Christensen: How many stations does this go out live to?
Beale: Things have got to change! But first you've gotta get mad!
Hunter: Sixty seven! I know it goes to Louisville and Atlanta and...
Beale: You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis.
(Former news-director Max Schumacher sits at home with his wife and daughter watching the screen as Howard rants. Max is alarmed)
Beale: But first get up out of your chairs, open the window...
Beale: ...stick your head out, and yell, and say:
Beale: "I'm as mad as hell...
Beale: ...and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Christensen(walking into executive Herb Thackeray's office): Who are you talking to, Herb?
Herb Thackeray(on phone): WCGG in Atlanta.
Christensen: Are they yelling in Atlanta, Herb?
Thackeray: Are they yelling in Atlanta, Ted?
Beale: But first you've got to get mad! You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Ray Pitofsky (handing the phone to Christensen): They're yelling in Baton Rouge.
Beale: Get up! Get up out of your chairs!!
Christensen (throwing the phone into the air): Son-of-a-bitch! We've struck the mother lode!
Beale: Stick your head out of the window, open it, stick your head out and yell and keep yelling, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore." Just get up from your chairs...right now..
Louise Schumacher: What are you doing?
Caroline Schumacher: I'm going to see if anybody's yelling!
Beale: Stick your head out and start yelling, and keep yelling...
(It's already started. More and more windows start to open, and people come out and begin yelling in different tones, different accents, different cadences "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!")
"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
(A thunderstorm begins overhead, and its thunder can't drown out the, by now, hundreds of voices shouting out into the night.)
(Max Schumacher listens for a moment, then he shakes his head, and closes the window, shutting out the noise.)
Words by Paddy Chayefsky
Pictures by Owen Roizman and Sidney Lumet
Network" is available on DVD from MGM Home Video.