This past summer, my son and I watched "All the President's Men" on DVD. As a 22-year-old law student, he was familiar with the Watergate scandal and the Washington Post's muckraking role in it, but the details were a revelation. This wasn't exactly ancient history to him, but history nonetheless.
My experience was quite different: I was watching the 1976 movie for probably the fourth or fifth time, and could practically recite the dialogue. The Watergate drama was unfolding when I was in high school. My family watched the congressional hearings together in our Lackawanna living room, and the broadcast from Washington was as riveting to us as any reality show, with members of Congress such as Barbara Jordan, Sam Ervin and Peter Rodino quickly becoming household names. It was no coincidence that soon afterward, I joined Nardin Academy's student newspaper and eventually headed off to Georgetown University. Like many a journalist who came of age in the '70s and '80s, I was inspired by the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. (The movie still above shows Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the pair that would become known collectively as Woodstein.)
So, I was happy to see -- as this year's Presidents Day weekend approached -- the Washington Post's Style section make "All the President's Men" its first choice in a compilation of 16 of the best presidential movies. Among the others are such great choices as "Wag the Dog," "Dave," "Primary Colors" and "The Ides of March."
With the Academy Awards approaching next Sunday, and Presidents Day celebrated Monday, the Post's slideshow of top presidential movies couldn't be more timely. Watch one of them with your kids -- or a friend's kids. Who knows? You may even inspire someone's career.