Great Movie Scene Chronicles Part I – Network (1976)
“Mad as Hell!” Scene
A call for help. A rallying cry. Social commentary on a generation. This scene is all those things and it has stood the test of time, making it an iconic triumph of monologue. The problems Howard Beale (Peter Finch) addresses in his demented rant are still prevalent today helping the movie resonate with the generation that viewed it first in 1976 all the way through to this generation, our generation. You’ll hear oil crisis, economic collapse, and corporate takeover mentioned. Sound familiar? It’s astonishing that a film that came out in 1976 about Network news, best served as a satire soda with a small dark comedy lemon slice on top, can still have so much to say about a generation 35 years later. Finch is absolutely terrific and it would be naïve to think that this scene wasn’t the game-winning shot in his Best Actor Oscar chase versus Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver.
Much credit goes to screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, who also won an Oscar, for penning the film’s most famous line, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!,” which should send chills down your spine, if you have a spine. If you don’t have a spine you are a starfish and shouldn’t be watching movies because you don’t have eyes either. You get the point. Now check out the scene!