The film All the President’s Men was a historically accurate account of the Presidential cover-up at Watergate. While some things in the film differed from the actual event, none of the facts were changed and, from the Washington Post’s perspective, it was nearly spot on.
According to an article from the Washington Post this is because the actors and directors intermingled with the reporters from the paper for months before filming. This close-quarters study helped them understand how a newsroom ran on a regular basis. It also gave them access to authentic desks, chairs and even details such as trash from the newspaper. The director based all of the newsroom sets and props on what the Post used (Shales et. all).
Another thing that helped the film cast was how soon they produced the film after the event occurred. The film was released in 1976, just two years after President Nixon resigned from office. With the actual event having occurred so recently, the director didn’t have to look far for authenticity.
Setting, Design and Detail
The Washington Post offices in the movie were built to scale from the actual offices. The layout and content in the offices were as close to the real thing the movie could use without actually filming inside the Washington Post. See our “Fun Facts” page for more information on this.
One thing about the actors specifically was how human they were. Many times when the real Bernstein or Woodward would be stressed, the actors let the audience see and feel it. One example is from when Bernstein speaks to a White House librarian over the phone. This scene shows Bernstein’s behavior as well as letting the viewer have a good look at the office around the actors.
Bernstein and Woodward were known for being drastically different in style and attitude and both Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford worked hard to make those differences apparent in the film.
View video clip #6 on DVD
This scene shows much of Bernstein’s personality and allows a good look at the Washington Post that was recreated for the film.