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Broadcast News

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James L. Brooks
Produced by James L. Brooks
Written by James L. Brooks
Starring William Hurt
Albert Brooks
Holly Hunter
Robert Prosky
Lois Chiles
Joan Cusack
Jack Nicholson
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Richard Marks
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) December 16, 1987
Running time 133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Gross revenue $51,249,404

Broadcast News is a 1987 romantic comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by James L. Brooks. The film concerns a virtuoso television news producer (Holly Hunter), who has daily emotional breakdowns, a brilliant yet prickly reporter (Albert Brooks) and his charismatic but far less seasoned rival (William Hurt). It also stars Robert Prosky, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, and Jack Nicholson (billed only in the end credits) as the evening news anchor.

Contents

Plot

The film revolves around three characters who work in television news. Jane Craig (Hunter) is a talented producer who tries to conceal how important it is for her to be found sexually attractive by a handsome man who epitomizes everything about television news that appalls her. Jane's best friend and frequent collaborator, Aaron Altman (Brooks), is a gifted writer and reporter ambitious for on-camera exposure, who is secretly in love with Jane, and embittered by her rejection of him. Tom Grunick (Hurt), a local news anchorman who was up until recently a sports anchorman, is charismatic and telegenic but denied self-respect due to his intellectual limitations, of which he is all too aware. He is attracted to Jane, although he is also intimidated by her skills and intensity. The emotional triangle formed by these three disparate people and their different career paths is broken when Aaron tips Jane off to an news story fabricated months earlier by Tom to imply emotion. In the end, Tom loses Jane's trust but becomes a top foreign news anchor.

Cast

Production

The score was by Bill Conti. Emmy Award-winning composers Glen Roven and Marc Shaiman make cameo appearances as a dorky musician team who have composed a theme for the news program in the film.

The female lead was originally written for Debra Winger, who worked with James L. Brooks in the Academy Award–winning film Terms of Endearment. However, Winger was replaced by Holly Hunter at the last minute because of her pregnancy.[1]

Reaction

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Box office

Broadcast News was given a limited release on December 18, 1987 in seven theaters where it managed to gross USD $197,542 on its opening weekend. It went into wide release on December 25, 1987 in 677 theaters, grossing $5.5 million on its opening weekend. The film went on to make $51.3 million in North America and $16.1 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $67.3 million.[2]

Reviews

The film was very well-received by critics with an 97% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and an 84 metascore at Metacritic. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and praised the film for being as "knowledgeable about the TV news-gathering process as any movie ever made, but it also has insights into the more personal matter of how people use high-pressure jobs as a way of avoiding time alone with themselves".[3] In his review for the New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, "As the fast-talking Aaron, Albert Brooks comes very close to stealing Broadcast News. Mr. Brooks ... is more or less the conscience of Broadcast News".[4] Jonathan Rosenbaum, in his review for the Chicago Reader, praised Holly Hunter's performance as "something of a revelation: her short, feisty, socially gauche, aggressive-compulsive character may be the most intricately layered portrait of a career woman that contemporary Hollywood has given us".[5] Hal Hinson, in his review for the Washington Post, wrote, "Brooks is excellent at taking us inside the world of television, but not terribly good at analyzing it. He has a facile, too-pat approach to dealing with issues; there's still too much of the sitcom mentality at work".[6] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss praised William Hurt's performance: "Hurt is neat too, never standing safely outside his character, always allowing Tom to find the humor in his too-rapid success, locating a dimness behind his eyes when Tom is asked a tough question -- and for Tom, poor soulless sensation-to-be, all questions are tough ones".[7] The magazine also ranked Broadcast News as one of the best films of the year.[8]

Awards

The movie was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Hurt), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Albert Brooks), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

Recognition

American Film Institute

References

External links


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