The film has an all star cast of great actors and actresses including William Holden, Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall and Ned Beatty in one of his finest acting roles. Surprising to many, this movie is not based on real life events, although watching it now you are surprised on how well Paddy Chayefsky predicted the future. Howard Beale upon finding out that he will be fired as a newscaster announces on the air that he will commit suicide on live television. He is fired but is allowed to come back to apologize, but goes off on a mad rant about how bad society is. The network management decides to leave Howard on the air due to his increased ratings and allows him to slip further into madness. They also invent shows that at the time seemed crazy, but now might even be considered prime time television. All in the name of ratings, anything goes.
This movie did not win Best Picture and it was robbed. This isn't an opinion, it is a fact. No way you can say Rocky was a better picture than Network. Yes, Rocky was a feel good movie and the country embraced the underdog and felt good about him. America was finishing up with the Nixon resignation, the end of the Vietnam War and the country's bicentennial, so I can understand why they choose Rocky for Best Picture, but they were wrong. This was the best film of the year.