Netowrk is the story of an anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) who has lost his job for dropping ratings in a struggling television network. Before he is out, he goes on live air and screams that he is going to kill himself.

The movie builds from this premise and it is not hard to follow that his show show becomes a major hit. He is declared as the mad prophet who is enraged at the hypocircies of our times. He moves people and his ratings keep rising. Now the struggle is to keep him on the show amids the controversies.

A movie way ahead of its times, Network, is indeed a treat to watch. Very depressing and brutal, the movie exposes not only the media's hunger for sensationalism but the enormouse appetite of the masses to consume filth in the name of mass entertainment. This is Sidney Lumet's ( 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon ) best work. He uses preachy monologues to convey his disgust at the networks. Sharp, hard-hitting dialogues keep us buisy as we are constantly wondering as to 'what next'.

This movie is also about individual performances. Somehow there seems to be a trumendous passion among the actors to be their best. Take Faye Dunaway, an otherwise average actress, is absolutely brilliant as the mean, tv generation, wicked kid, who is brilliant and menacing. She won an Oscar for her performance.

Peter Finch, the mad prophet, won best actor. He has some heavy monologue to deliver and he is pretty convincing as a man at the edge of his sanity desperately trying to hang to the only thing he has going in his life -- the Network.

William Holden plays the producer, the only human face in the movie, albeit a weak one. He knows that this madness needs to be stopped but all he does is fall for the cruel Dian (Faye Dunaway) and leaves his wife of 25 years. I found this a bit strange. Though it builds the premise for some great dialogue, the fact that the only human character in the movie is also subdued by his vices is the writer's savageness that we have to be prepared to deal with. This won an oscar for best writing for Paddy Chayefsky.

Then ofcourse, there is this unbelievable brilliant cameo by Ned Betty, a single monologue in the movie that wins him the best supporting actor's oscar. A monologue that basically talks about globalization, in 1976 mind you, and its side effects. It talks about a world that is not of nations and peoples but of conglomorates. It talks about how there is no democracy or any other political order but the only order is that of business and economy. A tone that so rings true, 25 years hence. The movie is worth that speech itself.

Network has had a lasting effect on movie making in Hollywood. To name some recent movies, Insider has William Holden playing a very similar role, of a network struggling between news and management. Mr. Spike Lee's Bamboozeled borrows some ideas about onscreen live sensationlism from this picture and so does 15 minutes, another brutal and horrifying image of the media.

Network hurls a powerful concept and a lot of hate at you, at air time speed and you have to be too quick to duck.