Written notes and typed memo to Robert Redford, 1974.
Woodward, Bernstein, and many at The Washington Post were leery about how they would be portrayed in a movie. In the book, the focus of All the President’s Men was mainly on their pursuit of the Watergate story, but on screen there would be much more exposure of individual personalities and actions. These concerns were somewhat alleviated by Robert Redford’s desire for Woodward and Bernstein to help flesh out their characters and scenes beyond the text of the screenplay. —Harry Ransom Center
Above: Bernstein’s comments on the second draft of William Goldman’s screenplay for All the President’s Men. Charged with writing what was essentially a detective story for an audience that already knew “who done it,” Academy Award winning screenwriter William Goldman struggled to condense a 336-page book into a feature length movie. Through several successive drafts, Goldman and actor-producer Robert Redford relied on Woodward and Bernstein’s input to focus the story and accurately recreate settings and events. Goldman’s screenplay eventually won an Academy Award for best adaptation.
The Legacy of All the President’s Men: Robert Redford, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein recognized the 35th anniversary of the film All the President’s Men at the LBJ Library on April 21, 2011. The three entertained the audience with stories of the steps it took to turn the book about Watergate into a film; they took us behind the scenes of filming; and each discussed the impact the film has today, 35 years after its release.
William Goldman is the man, and he’s an inspiration to every person who needs to write.
John Cleese interviews William Goldman, screenwriter of All The President’s Men, The Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride, Misery. From the BBC Radio show ‘Chain Reaction’, first broadcast on BBC Radio 5 in 1991. “I don’t like my writing,” says legendary writer William Goldman, responsible for a vast body of work encompassing novels, screenplays, short stories, and much else. It is a free-form interview, intimate and engaging, in which Goldman, guided by Cleese, explores various aspects of his large body of work.
William Goldman talks about screenwriting and his own past, another brilliant interview with one of my heroes.
“When I first heard of film school, I thought it was the stupidest fuckin idea I’d ever heard. We fell in love with movies by WATCHING them. […] The line that will be on my tombstone is ‘Nobody knows anything.’ That caught on out there [in Los Angeles]. And it’s true. It’s not just that people don’t know what’s going to work commercially. The fact is, you don’t know what’s going to work in a movie. You don’t know. We don’t know. So we’re sitting here with Hearts of Atlantis and you have no idea what the reaction’s gonna be. You have no idea if people will enjoy it, and you have no idea if people will go to it. And that’s one of the great crapshoots of the movie busines.” —William Goldman