Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mad As Hell: Still a Timely Speech

By Alyssa Ramirez

There are many memorable speeches in noteworthy films that have significantly affected society throughout the ages. There aren’t many, however, that are as affective and as filled with excitement and emotion as the speech given by fictional news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in the film Network.

Beale delivers a “Mad as Hell” speech that embodies passion and outrage for the economy’s issues during that time and calls for the people to make a stand in society. His speech in this film went viral since its debut and the famous line “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore” can be recognized in many films and other media. Many also believe that this “Mad as Hell” speech eerily foretold the future of the Internet, reality television, and other current mainstream media outlets.

Network is a 1976 American satirical film about a fictional television network, UBS (Union Broadcasting System), and its struggle to remain relevant in the media when facing poor ratings. Howard Beale, the longtime anchor of the UBS Evening News, quickly turns the network upside down when he learns that his show will end due to poor ratings. On his last chance given by UBS to air live on television in order to bid farewell to his audience, Beale retaliates and begins to rant to his audience about the problems in life and how the people need to make a stand. 

This tirade became one of the most famous scenes in Network and one of the best movie speeches of all time.

The audience can practically feel Howard Beale’s emotional outrage during this speech. Raging with anger, Beale tells his audience that instead of sitting back and simply listening to media about all of the bad that happens every day, we need to get up and do something about it.  

Beale proclaims, “I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad...You’ve got to say ‘I’m a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!’” Peter Finch, the actor who plays the character of Howard Beale, delivers an outstanding performance that won him an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Howard Beale’s “Mad as Hell” speech is one that remains pertinent in today’s pop culture. It is a speech that is full of life and emotion. It brings an important issue of distrust for the media to light and encourages people to think about the real purpose of the news that we see on the television. 

Instead of standing back and letting the days go by while learning of all the bad thing that happen each day, we all need to step out of our safe havens in order to make a change. We need to go to the window and yell out, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

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