For those who might see Watergate as ancient history, these projects — featuring those who participated in and covered the story — also underscore that this previous constitutional threat was much closer than it appears in the rear-view mirror.
As for refresher courses, here are a few options, including some that qualify as Watergate-adjacent in terms of helping to understand or remember what happened.
Incorporating interviews old and new, the project also captures just what a huge “hit” the televised Watergate hearings were, back in the days when there were three networks and not a whole lot of viewing alternatives.
“Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal”
A four-part docuseries currently playing on CNN, the project features interviews with John Dean, among others.
“Watergate” (History, June 17)
The History channel will repeat its six-part docuseries, which originally premiered in 2018.
“All the President’s Men” (HBO Max)
A rewatch of director Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 film version of Woodward and Bernstein’s book stands out for unintended reasons in certain places, such as a Washington Post editors meeting that consists entirely of older White guys in white shirts, debating whether to stand by the young reporters.
At its core, though, the film holds up and then some, from its exploration of classic shoe-leather reporting to the scared sources unable to stay silent about the corruption they witnessed. Add to that the sensational performances and William Goldman’s Oscar-winning screenplay, with signature lines like Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) telling Woodward (Robert Redford) to “Follow the money” and “The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”
“Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House”
Michael Sheen and Frank Langella reprised their stage roles as David Frost and Nixon in conducting their famous 1977 TV interviews, an entertaining movie, defined by its standout performances, that’s as much about the pressure on the interviewer and their verbal parrying as his subject.