1976: 'Network' Newsman Rants, 'I'm As Mad As Hell, And I'm Not Going To Take This Anymore!'

By | September 14, 2019

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Even if you’ve never seen the 1976 movie Network, you know the line delivered by TV newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch): "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore." It crystallizes the anger and powerlessness felt by the individual who has no recourse, options or plan. It is anger without a clear target -- just general anger at the disappointing state of modern life. 

The line becomes Beale's catchphrase as he proceeds to "tell it like it is" and soar to the top of the TV ratings chart. Beale is mad at TV, not just the news but also the fakeness of other programming. He's mad at the fear that keeps people indoors, watching TV. He's mad at inflation and the Russians. But as the brilliant scriptwriter Paddy Chayefsky intended, we never know what Beale wants. 

Beale inspires viewers and earns a bullet for his convictions by the end of the film. For Chayefsky, the film was always meant to be a comedy, but his work connected so deeply with viewers who felt that he understood the downfall of the nightly news that he was hailed as a modern Nostradamus. Here’s what Chayefsky thought about the line, how he wrote it, and how it’s misconstrued through pop culture. 

Howard Beale Is Mad As Hell, And He’s Not Going To Take It Anymore

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source: MGM

It’s one of the most well-known quotes in film history, this single line from Network. But it’s surrounded by an entire call to action, or rather inaction, from newscaster Howard Beale. In the film, Beale is losing his job and his mind so he calls on the American people let out a frustrated, angry yawp with him. The entire speech is amazing and you should watch it as soon as you finish reading this article. Here's the crescendo:

I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad! You've got to say, I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!