“ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN”
Based on the novel
“All The President’s Men”
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Pre-rehearsal version March, 1975
Start with as few credits as possible. When they’re over–
FADE IN ON:
A TINY BLACK PIECE OF TAPE.
We see it in the center of the large, dimly lit screen. As
the tape is pressed around a door–
BEGIN THE BREAK-IN SEQUENCE.
It’s a major piece of action, running maybe five minutes and
it’s all as detailed and accurate as we can make it, with as
many “if only’s” included as possible. (“If only” the tape
had been attached up and down instead of around the door,
Wills wouldn’t have spotted it and alerted the police; “if
only” the first police car called had gone to investigate,
Baldwin, watching from the Howard Johnson Motor Inn, would
have seen their uniforms and radioed Hunt and Liddy in time
for them to have gotten to the five burglars and then safely
The break-in ends when Leeper arrests the five men. He thought
he only had one guy, so when ten hands were raised he was
surprised. The hands are all encased in Playtex rubber
surgical gloves. HOLD on the hands a moment; then–
A DARK APARTMENT.
The phone rings. WOODWARD fumbles for the receiver, turns on
the bed light. He listens a moment.
No, no trouble, Harry, be right down.
(he hangs up)
Son of a bitch.
He lies back. The apartment is one room, a small terrace
beyond. Not much of a place.
WOODWARD lies still, staring at the ceiling. He blinks, blinks
THE ENORMOUS FIFTH FLOOR OF THE WASHINGTON POST.
It looks, early of a Saturday morning, pretty deserted. Those
reporters that are around are young, bright, and presently
involved in nothing more taxing than drinking coffee and
thumbing through the papers.
HARRY ROSENFELD surveys the scene from his office doorway as
WOODWARD approaches, hangs his coat at his desk, not far
from where ROSENFELD is standing.
Where’s that cheery face we’ve come
to know and love?
You call me in on my day off because
some idiots have broken into local
Democratic Headquarters–tell me,
Harry, why should I be smiling?
As usual, that keen mind of yours
has pegged the situation perfectly.
(chomps on some Maalox
Except (a) it wasn’t local Democratic
Headquarters, it was National
(WOODWARD is surprised–
he hadn’t known)
–and (b) these weren’t just any
idiots, these were special idiots,
seeing as when they were arrested at
2:30 this morning, they were all
wearing business suits and Playtex
gloves and were carrying–
(consults a piece of
–a walkie-talkie, forty rolls of
film, cameras, lock picks, pen-sized
tear gas guns, plus various bugging
(puts paper down)
Not to mention over two thousand
dollars, mostly in sequenced hundred
Preliminary hearing at Superior
Two o’clock, work the phones ’til
THE CRIMINAL COURTS BUILDING.
WOODWARD hurries along, goes inside as we
A CORRIDOR INSIDE. WOODWARD comes down it, looks around,
sees a door marked “Counsel’s Offices” and heads toward it.
A CLERK AT A DESK as WOODWARD comes up. Behind them, two
lawyers are clearly angry about something, talking and
gesticulating to each other.
(to the COUNSEL’S
Could you give me the names of the
lawyers for the men arrested in the
These two were appointed–
(indicates the angry
–only now it turns out the burglars
got their own counsel.
(he starts to laugh)
FIRST ANGRY LAWYER
When you gonna stop thinking it’s so
SECOND ANGRY LAWYER
We wouldda done a terrific job
protecting those guys.
(neither lawyer, by
the way, is Clarence
FIRST ANGRY LAWYER
You think we’re not as good as some
hotshot fancy lawyer?–
THE COURTROOM and business is booming. Muggers, pimp, hookers,
their families and friends. In the scene that follows, a
constant counterpoint is what’s going on up at the front as
an endless succession of petty criminals caught the previous
night, the aforementioned muggers, pimps, and hookers, are
shuttled in, given a quick appearance before a JUDGE who
sets bond, and then shuttled out.
In the audience, one man stands out–DOUGLAS CADDY. He is
extremely well-dressed and obviously successful. Beside him
sits another smaller man, who is unshaven and squints.
WOODWARD moves in, sits alongside CADDY.
Mr. Caddy? My name’s Bob Woodward,
I’m from the Post and I wanted to
ask about how you happened to come
on this case–
–I’m not here.
He takes out a small notebook, writes, muttering aloud as he
Douglas Caddy, the attorney of record,
when questioned about his presence
in the courtroom, denied he was in
the courtroom, “I’m not here,” Mr.
Clearly, I am here, but only as an
individual, I’m not the attorney of
Mr. Rafferty has that position.
Whatever you want, you’ll have to
get from him, I have nothing more to
And as he gets up, walks off–
THE WATER FOUNTAIN IN THE CORRIDOR. There is a small line.
CADDY waits at the end of it.
(moving in behind him)
Mr. Rafferty was very helpful. Four
Cuban-Americans and this other man,
Look, I told you inside–
–you have nothing more to say, I
CADDY turns away; WOODWARD goes right on.
What I don’t understand is how you
I assure you, there’s nothing
Probably you’re right, but a little
while ago, I was talking to a couple
of lawyers who’d been assigned to
represent the burglars.
Well, they never would have been
assigned if anyone had known the
burglars had arranged for their own
counsel. And that could only mean
the burglars didn’t arrange for their
own counsel–they never even made a
(looks at CADDY)
So if they didn’t ask for you to be
here, how did you know to come?
Without a word, CADDY turns, leaves the line without getting
a drink. Silently, WOODWARD watches. Now–
CADDY seated as before beside RAFFERTY. WOODWARD’s voice
come from behind him, and as CADDY turns, WOODWARD is seated
one row back.
Did you know to come because one of
the other men involved in the break-
in called you?
There is no reason to assume other
people were involved.
Your clients were arrested with a
walkie-talkie; they didn’t need that
to talk among themselves.
CADDY looks at WOODWARD, turns back.
They are not my clients.
You’re a lawyer and you’re here–
–I met one of the defendants, Mr.
Barker, at a social occasion once–
–I have nothing more to say.
(leaning forward as
CADDY turns away
A Miami social occasion?
Mr. Rafferty told me the Cubans were
Barker’s wife called me at three
this morning; her husband apparently
had told her to call if he hadn’t
called her by then.
It was really nice of you to come,
since you’d only met him once.
Are you implying you don’t believe
I have nothing more to say.
You don’t mind getting on people’s
nerves, do you?
WOODWARD considers this a moment. Then–
And on that word–
THE COURTROOM as without warning, it quiets. There is suddenly
a tremendous air of expectancy, you can feel it. Now we see
why as five men in dark business suits are led in; they’ve
been stripped of belts, ties, and shoelaces. McCord is taller
than the others. They stand, facing the JUDGE, backs to the
WOODWARD sits watching as the proceedings start, but it’s
hard to hear. He concentrates as the JUDGE starts speaking.
Will you please state your
The five men do not move or reply. Then, after a long pause,
That, sir, is not your average
WOODWARD starts moving forward now, down an aisle, moving
past kids and whores and all the rest, trying to hear what
the hell’s going on. At the front of the spectator’s section
is a fence-like wooden barricade about three feet high. As
he approaches it–
The JUDGE indicates the bald burglar.
Your name, please.
Will you step forward, sir.
WOODWARD at the bench is leaning forward, trying to hear but
And what is your occupation, Mr.
Government. Recently retired.
Where in government?
(we can’t really make
(he can’t either)
(clearing his throat)
And on these words,
CLOSE UP–WOODWARD leaning over the fence practically falling
over it in a desperate straining effort to catch what’s going
Now from the courtroom–
THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF WASHINGTON POSTS.
We are at the end of the press run, the papers are all
assembled and being cabled and sent off by machine to various
places. As the papers continue to roll past–
A UNION TYPE EMPLOYEE grabs a paper, looks at the front page.
The Watergate story, headlined whatever it was headlined, is
visible. The byline was by Alfred E. Lewis. The union type
Post employee glances at the article–
UNION POST EMPLOYEE
“Five men, one of whom said he is a
(stops reading, gives
And he turns happily to the sports section–
A CLOSE UP OF HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS.
It’s new money and looks as if it’s been recently ironed.
Someone is going through the cash, making a quick count.
FIRST VOICE (V.O.)
Hurry it, huh, Bachinski?
You said I could look at it–
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
We’re in a room in a police station and two men are present.
One, a COP, is nervous as hell and constantly aware of the
door. The other, BACHINSKI, is taking hurried notes in a
reporter’s type notebook as he examines the evidence.
–I said look, not memorize–
–almost done, give it a rest, all
(and he looks at an
address book, he
THE ADDRESS BOOK. Beside the name “Howard E. Hunt” is the
notation “W.House.” Now, BACHINSKI hurriedly opens the other
book to the letter “H” and there is the same name, “Howard
E. Hunt” and beside it, the letters, “W.H.”
What’d you find?
Beats me. These notebooks belonged
to Cuban guys?
It’s gotta mean either White House
or whore house, one or the other.
We HOLD on the HUNT name, and the address notations. Then–
WOODWARD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT.
The phone rings, waking him. He fumbles for the phone and
the light, finally gets them both.
(reaches for a notebook)
(gets it open, starts
–OK, go on, go on…
A BOX OF MAALOX TABLETS.
ROSENFELD is opening them, we’re in his office, WOODWARD
sits across the desk, holding the notebook we saw him writing
…go on, go on…
That’s everything Bachinski had, I
think it’s worth following up.
Don’t know; who the hell’s Howard
It’s probably nothing but check it
out. Just go easy, it could be crazy
HOWARD SIMONS sticks his head in the office.
Woodward’s onto a new wrinkle with
the break-in thing–absolute page
–in other words, you got nothing,
Let me see what you get, but don’t
jump–The New York Times thinks it’s
He moves on. ROSENFELD turns quickly to WOODWARD.
OK, get on this W.House guy and do a
better job then you did on McCord.
I did all right on McCord.
Then how come the Associated Press
were the ones found out that Mr.
McCord is security coordinator for
the Committee to Re-elect the
President, otherwise known as CREEP?
(getting it straight)
The head of security for the
reelection of a Republican President
got caught bugging the national
offices of the Democrats? What the
hell does that mean?
(hasn’t the foggiest)
Mr. John Mitchell, the head of CREEP,
says it means nothing.
“…This man and the other people
involved were not operating on either
our behalf or with our consent. These
is no place in our campaign or in
the electoral process for this type
of activity, and we will not forget
it or condone it.”
You can’t believe that.
As a rough rule of thumb, as far as
I can throw Bronco Nagurski, that’s
how much I trust John Mitchell…
A MOON-FACED MAN RINGING A TRIANGLE.
THE NEWSROOM as the triangle sound echoes.
HOWARD SIMONS leaves large Managing Editor’s office, walks
past another office, knocks twice on the glass wall.
Inside the Executive Editor’s office, BEN BRADLEE sits. As
SIMONS knocks, he turns, nods. He appears, for the moment,
deep in thought.
HARRY ROSENFELD on the opposite end of the room hurries out
of his office, following a bunch of editors, all of them
heading across the huge room. As he passes WOODWARD’s desk
What’d you get on W.House?
(massaging his neck)
I can’t sell hints to Simons–
(stops, looks at piece
of yellow paper)
–you called everyone you know?
(WOODWARD makes a nod)
Call someone you don’t know.
WOODWARD continues to rub his neck as ROSENFELD hurries off,
all the editors still moving toward the place where the moon-
faced man intermittently rings the triangle.
WOODWARD picks up the sheet of yellow paper from his desk.
Lined, legal-sized, it is crammed with names and numbers and
addresses. They are in no neat order; looking at them it’s
almost like following a path; chicken tracks in ink. WOODWARD
mutters “to hell with it” and reaches for a thick book, flips
NOW WE SEE THE BOOK: It’s the Washington Phone Directory and
we’re in the W’s. As WOODWARD’s finger stops, we can see
he’s looking at the White HOuse entry number. There it is,
just like your name and mine. Listed.
Now WOODWARD starts to dial, visibly nervous, a fact he tries
very hard to keep out of his voice tone.
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR (V.O.)
Howard Hunt, please.
Throughout the following call, we stay on WOODWARD’s face,
hear the other voices.
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR (V.O.)
Mr. Hunt does not answer.
WOODWARD is delighted he’s even there.
And he’s about to hang up, when–
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR (V.O.)
I’ll bet he’s in Mr. Colson’s office.
Let me connect you.
Charles Colson’s wire.
(a little more excited)
Howard Hunt, please.
Mr. Hunt isn’t here just now.
And he’s about to hang up again when–
Have you tried Mullen and Company
Public Relations? He works at Mullen
and Company Public Relations as a
writer. The number is 555-1313. I’m
sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
Listen, forget it.
He hangs up, sits there. His hands are a little twitchy…
ROSENFELD hurrying (he always hurries) toward his office.
WOODWARD, looking for something in his desk throughout this
scene, speaks to him.
Who’s Charles Colson?
I would liken your query to being in
Russia half a century ago and asking
someone, “I understand who Lenin is
and Trotsky I got too, but who’s
this yokel Stalin?”
Who’s Colson, Harry?
The most powerful man in America is
President Nixon, probably you’ve
heard his name.
WOODWARD, unfazed by anything, continues to open drawers,
close them, as ROSENFELD rolls on.
The second most powerful man is Robert
Haldeman. Just below him are a trio:
Mr. Erlichman is Haldeman’s friend,
and they protect the President from
everybody which is why they are
referred to as either The German
Shepherds or the Berlin Wall. Mr.
Mitchell we’ve already discussed.
Mr. Colson is the President’s special
(looks at ROSENFELD)
Know anything about Colson?
Just that on his office wall there’s
a cartoon with a caption reading,
“When you’ve got them by the balls,
their hearts and minds will follow.”
WOODWARD nods, heads back toward the files as we
WOODWARD AT HIS DESK dialing the phone.
He’s got the Colson file spread out now, and we see pictures
of the man and articles the Post had done on him. But
basically what we see is WOODWARD plugging away on the goddamn
phone and you’d think his finger would fall off from all the
dialing and you know his voice is tiring as this montage
goes on, you can hear it grow raspy. But a lot of what a
reporter does he does on the phone, and that’s what we’re
compressing here. The dialing never stops, the voices are
Hello, I’m Bob Woodward of the Washing
Mullen and Company Public Relations?
Could you tell me when you expect
Howard Hunt here.
Hi, I’m Bob Woodward of the Post and–
–yes, yes, what is it?
I was just kind of wondering why
your name and phone number were in
the address books of two of the men
arrested at Watergate?
And he bangs the phone down sharply–
–more dialing SOUNDS. Now snatches of conversation–
I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Bennett,
but we’re doing some investigating
of one of your employees, Howard
Well, if you’ve been doing some
investigating then obviously it’s no
secret to you that Howard was with
(he hadn’t known)
No secret at all.
More dialing. Then–
(tired, voice deeper)
Hello, C.I.A. This is R.W. Woodward,
of the Washington Post–get me
Dialing again. WOODWARD’s voice is showing genuine fatigue.
Hi, I’m Bob Woodward of the Washington
Post–and–what’s that?–you’ve never
heard of me?–I can’t help that–you
don’t believe I’m with the Post?–
what do you want me to do, Madam,
There is the SOUND of the phone being slammed down in his
ear. Hard. Now–
ROSENFELD AND SIMONS approaching WOODWARD who is working at
his desk. He has put in a lot of hours on this and looks it.
Whaddya got, whaddya got?
Hunt is Colson’s man–
(to SIMONS, explaining)
–that’s Charles Colson, Nixon’s
(SIMONS almost says
–they both went to Brown University–
(consulting his notes)
–Hunt worked for the C.I.A. till
’70, and this is on deep background,
the FBI thinks he’s involved with
What else have you got?
According to White House personnel,
Hunt definitely works there as a
consultant for Colson. But when I
called the White House Press office,
they said he hadn’t worked there for
three months. Then the P.R. guy said
the weirdest thing to me.
“I am convinced that neither Mr.
Colson nor anyone else at the White
House had any knowledge of, or
participation in, this deplorable
incident at the Democratic National
He looks up at them.
Isn’t that what you’d expect them to
(he’s got something
and he knows it)
I never asked them about Watergate.
I only said what were Hunt’s duties
at the White House. They volunteered
that he was innocent when nobody
asked was he guilty.
I think we got a White House
consultant linked to the bugging.
Just be careful how you write it.
WOODWARD TYPING LIKE MAD, makes a mistake, corrects it, types
on muttering to himself, and–
ROSENFELD IN HIS OFFICE munching a handful of Maalox tablets
WOODWARD taking a sheet from his typewriter, hurrying off
ROSENFELD taking the sheet from WOODWARD–
Here’s the first take–
ROSENFELD nods, shows him out and–
WOODWARD BACK AT HIS MACHINE typing faster then before, makes
another mistake, starts to correct it, glances around and–
ROSENFELD IN HIS OFFICE gesturing to somebody but not WOODWARD
WOODWARD watching as BERNSTEIN appears in view from behind
the wide pillar by WOODWARD’s desk, heads toward ROSENFELD’s
office. WOODWARD shrugs, goes back to his typing, makes a
typo immediately, glances over toward ROSENFELD’s office,
freezes as we–
ROSENFELD handing some papers to BERNSTEIN. They look, from
this distance, suspiciously like WOODWARD’s story.
BERNSTEIN hurrying out of ROSENFELD’s office, and–
WOODWARD watching BERNSTEIN until he disappears out of sight
behind the pillar. WOODWARD hesitates, finally goes back to
his typing, makes another mistake, fixes it, makes still
another, his temper is shortly to make itself known–
ROSENFELD as WOODWARD hands him another sheet of paper.
This is all of it, Harry.
ROSENFELD NODS, takes it, immediately starts to read as we–
WOODWARD AT HIS DESK watching as ROSENFELD gestures again.
There is a pause. Then BERNSTEIN appears from behind the
ROSENFELD handing BERNSTEIN another sheet of paper. BERSTEIN
nods, takes it, walks back toward his desk, disappears behind
the pillar again. WOODWARD is starting to steam. Now–
BERNSTEIN AT HIS DESK typing magnificently, his hands rising
and falling like Rubinstein’s. Behind him is the pillar and
for a moment there is nothing–then, very slowly, a figure
peers out from behind the pillar–it is WOODWARD.
He watches. BERNSTEIN continues to type, then after a moment,
rests, thinks, shifts around in his chair and as his glance
starts toward the pillar–
THE PILLAR. WOODWARD is gone.
BERNSTEIN typing madly away.
THE PILLAR. WOODWARD is visible again, eyes very bright…
BERNSTEIN finishing typing, his hands moving majestically.
WOODWARD comes up behind him, stands looking a second.
We have to talk.
BERNSTEIN nods, grabs the papers both that he’s been typing
and that he’s been copying from.
And as he rises–
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN walking silently out of the newsroom
then turning left down a darker corridor, passing bulletin
boards and wall lockers and it’s all nice and quiet as they
amble on, nodding to the few people they pass on their way
and after a while they turn right and enter the coffee lounge
which is empty; the walls are lined with Norman Rockwell
reproductions and various kinds of vending machines are
visible, selling coffee or milk or fruit or sandwiches and
there are some plastic tables and chairs and the minute they
are alone, the silence ends.
What the hell were you doing rewriting
–I sure couldn’t hurt it, could I?–
–it was fine the way it was–
–it was bullshit the way it was–
–I have to stand here and listen to
the staff correspondent from Virginia?–
(a sore subject)
–what have you been here, nine
months?–I been in this business
since I was sixteen–
–and you’ve had some fucking meteoric
rise, that’s for sure–by the time
you turn forty you might be the head
of the Montana bureau–
–you only got the job because both
you and Bradlee went to Yale–
–Bradlee went to Harvard–
–they’re all the same, all those
Ivy League places–they teach you
about striped ties and suddenly you’re
–I’m smart enough to know my story
(handing them over)
–read ’em both and you’ll see–
And as WOODWARD glances at the two stories–
BERNSTEIN watching. Now–
WOODWARD. He glances from one story to the other. Then,
And he sinks down in a chair.
Is mine better?
(handing the stories
What is it about my writing that’s
(as he exits)
Mainly it has to do with your choice
And as he goes, leaving WOODWARD just sitting there–
BERSTEIN, re-entering the newsroom, returning to his desk.
He starts to insert some papers into his typewriter,
hesitates, lights a cigarette. He inhales, as, behind him,
WOODWARD briefly is visible going to his desk behind the
Finally BERNSTEIN inserts the paper, starts to type as
(from behind the pillar)
(pushing his chair
briefly into view)
Fuck you, Carl.
And as he rolls forward again, out of sight–
RICHARD NIXON ON THE TUBE.
(It’s the June 22 Press Conference.) He talks on about
something, it doesn’t matter exactly what here, the point
is, it should include that strange smile of his that kept
appearing when the man should not have been smiling. Hints
of pressure maybe, that’s all, and once it’s established–
PULL BACK TO REVEAL:
WOODWARD sitting alone, gloomily staring at the set. We’re
in the Post Cafeteria, it’s the next morning, and the place
is pretty much empty. He sips the coffee, it tastes rotten.
BERNSTEIN moves up behind him, carrying a cup of coffee of
his own. He stands by WOODWARD briefly.
(WOODWARD glances up)
They put us both on the break-in
thing. Simons liked the way we worked
BERNSTEIN sits down)
Listen, I’m sorry I said your story
It’s OK; I’m sorry I called you a
Forget it, the main thing–
–did you call me a failure?
I was sure trying.
WOODWARD, BERNSTEIN, AND NIXON. The way it’s shot, it’s almost
as if they’re watching each other; NIXON staring out from
the TV set, answering questions. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN sip
coffee. We don’t know yet–or better, they don’t know it
yet, but these are our adversaries.
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN, without NIXON now. They sit at the
table. Occasionally, NIXON is audible in the background.
All right, what do we know?
Let me lay a little theory on you–
(cutting him off)
–I’m not interested in theory. What
do we know? For example, Hunt’s
Well, Barker tried to get blueprints
of the Miami Convention Center and
the air-conditioning system.
And McCord was carrying an application
for college press credentials for
the Democratic convention.
The Times has got to be full of it–
it can’t be crazy Cubans.
(points to Nixon)
It can’t be the Republicans–he’d
never allow something as stupid as
this, not when he’s gonna slaughter
Right. Nixon didn’t get where he got
by being dumb–
–listen, that was a Watergate
NIXON ON THE TUBE. Serious now.
The White House has had no involvement
whatever in this particular incident.
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN staring at the set thinking…
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN walking toward BERSTEIN’S desk.
What do you think he meant, this
particular incident? Were there
others? How would we find out? You
know anyone important?
(sits, shakes his
I lived here all my life, I got a
million contacts, but they’re all
bus boys and bellhops.
The reporter KEN RINGLE at the next desk watches them a
What do you need?
Someone inside the White House would
(writes down phone
Call her. She worked for Colson, if
that’s any help.
As BERNSTEIN grabs for the phone–
A SECRETARIAL POOL IN A LARGE OFFICE.
BERNSTEIN is talking off to one side with an attractive girl.
Kenny’s crazy, I never worked for
Colson, I worked for an assistant.
Colson was big on secrets anyway.
Even if I had worked for him, I
wouldn’t have known anything.
Nothing at all you can remember?
Now if it was Hunt you were interested
Sure. Him I liked, he was a very
nice person. Secretive too, traveled
all over, but a decent man.
Any idea what he did?
Oh, the scuttlebutt for awhile was
he was investigating Kennedy–
Sure. I remember seeing a book about
Chappaquiddick on his desk and he
was always getting material out of
the White House Library and the
Library of Congress and–
And as she goes on, quickly–
BERNSTEIN is at his desk, telephoning. WOODWARD stands
White House Library, please.
We hear the other end of this phone call clearly.
Hi. Carl Bernstein of the Washington
Post. I was just wondering if you
remember the names of any of the
books that Howard Hunt checked out
on Senator Kennedy.
I think I do remember, he took out a
whole bunch of material. Let me just
SOUND of the phone being laid down.
–what do you think?–
–Hunt doesn’t seem like your ordinary
Maybe a political operative of some
–a spy, you mean?
It makes sense; Hunt worked for the
C.I.A. and the White House was
paranoid about Teddy Kennedy.
What I said before? I was wrong. The
truth is, I don’t have a card that
Mr. Hunt took out any Kennedy
(WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN
listen, and now there
is something in her
voice that wasn’t
there before: fear)
I remember getting that material out
for somebody, but it wasn’t Mr. Hunt.
The truth is, I’ve never had any
requests at all from Mr. Hunt.
The truth is, I don’t know Mr. Hunt.
There is the SOUND of the phone being dropped into its cradle.
BERNSTEIN continues to hold his. He and WOODWARD just look
at each other. Now–
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
Now, as WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN get out of a cab, start inside–
A MALE LIBRARIAN IN HIS OFFICE.
You want all the material requested
by the White House?
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN standing there. The nod. One of them
maybe says “yessir,” the other maybe “please.” The LIBRARIAN
moves out of his office into a corridor. They go with him.
No one else is around. The LIBRARIAN looks at them, quickly–
All White House transactions are
And just like that, he’s back into his office, and as he
shuts the door–
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN walking along through the Library of
You think they are confidential? I
don’t know anything about how this
town works, I haven’t lived here a
We need a sympathetic face.
On the word “face”–
A BEARDED YOUNG-LOOKING CLERK. We’re in the reading room of
the library, and WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN are with him.
You want every request since when?
When did Hunt start at the White
July of ’71.
About the past year.
(starts to smile)
I’m not sure you want ’em, but I got
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN seated at a table with from anywhere
between 10 to 20 thousand slips of paper. In front of them,
seated at a high desk, the bearded clerk looks down on them,
shaking his head. It’s a staggering amount of work to thumb
I can’t believe you guys are actually
(to the clerk)
You do a lot of things when you’re
on a story.
(to BERNSTEIN, quietly)
Can you believe we’re actually doing
Now we have a series of shots of the two of them going through
the slips; it took them hours and hours, and the afternoon
darkened as they worked. And they’re tired. Now–
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN getting back into a cab.
That was fun.
(slams the door)
I met a Presidential aide once at a
And you haven’t called him?–
As the taxi pulls off–
reading an article by BERNSTEIN’s desk. WOODWARD sits on an
You got accurate notes on the White
OK, we’ll leave space for the White
House denial and we should be set.
Suddenly he gestures and we–
BRADLEE STANDING ACROSS THE ROOM. Without a nod, he moves
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN, nervously watching BRADLEE come. As
soon as BRADLEE is within earshot, ROSENFELD starts his sell.
Benjy, we got a present for you.
Above the fold on page one for sure.
It may not change our lives one way
or the other. Just a good, solid
piece of American Journalism–
–that The New York Times doesn’t
BRADLEE by this time has taken the story, grabbed an
unoccupied chair, sat down, started to read. His only response
to ROSENFELD is an intermittent “uh-huh, uh-huh.”
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN, watching as the silence goes on.
ROSENFELD too. He wants the story too, but he doesn’t want
it like WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN do. They were, as they said,
proud of their work. The silence goes on. Finally BRADLEE
You haven’t got it.
(before they can reply)
A librarian and a secretary say Hunt
looked at a book.
(shakes his head)
Not good enough.
He begins editing the piece, slashing paragraphs out of it.
I was told by this guy at the White
House that Hunt was investigating
You asking me to disclose my source?
Other reporters are watching now. BRADLEE is impatient, as
Just tell me his title.
I don’t know titles.
Is he on the level of Assistant to
the President or not?
WOODWARD doesn’t know. BRADLEE continues to hack at their
piece. Done, he stands, walks away.
Get some harder information next
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN watch him go, they are embarrassed,
angry, crushed. HOLD on their faces. Then–
WOODWARD’S APARTMENT – MORNING
He is in pajamas and lugging a flower pot out to the balcony,
positioning it so it would be visible to anyone passing in
the alley below. He takes a stick with a red flag, jams it
into the flower pot. He’s nervous and he makes several
adjustments, making sure the red flag is secure and won’t
WOODWARD down in the alley, staring up at his apartment. The
flag is clearly visible. It’s early. He checks his watch,
hurries out of the alley.
THE CITY ROOM – NIGHT
Deserted except for a few older Front Page types, reporters
whose legs have given out, playing cards in a corner of the
room. WOODWARD is working at his desk until he glances up at
a wall clock. It’s almost one on the button and as he rises–
WOODWARD racing down the stairway of the Post; as he hits
the lobby, he turns and we
OUTSIDE THE POST – NIGHT
WOODWARD appears in the side exit, walks off. When he gets
out of sight of the paper, he starts to run. Now–
WOODWARD turning a corner, running on. Up ahead is a cab–
WOODWARD IN THE CAB sitting forward tensely. Occasionally,
various monuments are briefly visible, lit up in the b.g.
WOODWARD takes out some money as we
THE CAB stopping. WOODWARD pays, gets out. The cab pulls
away. When it is out of sight, WOODWARD starts to run again.
A STREET as WOODWARD runs by. It’s not the nicest area in
the world. He is going faster now.
A CAB GASSING UP AT A STATION. WOODWARD hurries to it, gets
THE SECOND CAB roaring along some Washington streets.
WOODWARD INSIDE THE CAB. He looks at his watch, tries not to
seem nervous. But his fingers are drumming, drumming and–
THE SECOND CAB stopping, as WOODWARD gets out, pays. The cab
starts off, but slowly. WOODWARD waits. The cab doesn’t turn
as the first one did. WOODWARD still waits. Finally the cab
turns and the second it does, WOODWARD starts to run again
WOODWARD turning a corner, running on and–
ANOTHER CORNER as WOODWARD turns it, finally stops and catches
his breath as we–
A GIGANTIC UNDERGROUND TYPE GARAGE
WOODWARD ENTERING THE GARAGE. It’s an eerie place, and his
heels make noise and if you wonder is he edgy, yes he’s edgy.
He comes to the ramp leading down to lower levels, hesitates.
THE RAMP. It seems to descend forever.
WOODWARD starting down. HOLD on him as he walks. Down he
goes, the shadows deepening, then disappearing, then covering
him again. He continues on. He must be at least at the first
underground level now but he doesn’t stop, and we don’t stop
watching him as he continues to go down, turning, the SOUND
of his shoes softer now and he’s a smaller figure as we watch
him circle around and around until we–
ANOTHER LEVEL UNDERGROUND. Dimly lit. A few cars parked here
and there. WOODWARD hesitates on the ramp, looks around.
THE GARAGE. Dark, dark, eerie.
WOODWARD quietly stepping off the ramp, continuing to glance
this way, that way. Now–
TWO CARS PARKED BESIDE EACH OTHER.
Nothing unusual about that. But then some cigarette smoke
appears, trailing up and disappearing from between the cars.
As WOODWARD moves forward–
A MAN SITTING ON HIS HAUNCHES BETWEEN THE CARS, smoking. He
leans with his back against the wall.
I saw the flag signal–what’s up?
Nothing, that’s the problem–the
story’s gone underground.
You thought I’d help out on specifics?
I’ll confirm what you get, try to
keep you on the right track, but
(looks at WOODWARD)
Are you guys really working?
I don’t know maybe sixteen, eighteen
hours a day–we’ve got sources at
Justice, the FBI, but it’s still
Then there must be something, mustn’t
there. Look, forget the myths the
media’s created about the White House–
the truth is, these are not very
bright guys, and things got out of
If you don’t like them, why won’t
you be more concrete with me?
Because the press stinks too–history
on the run, that’s all you’re
You come up with anything?
John Mitchell resigned as head of
CREEP to spend more time with his
family. That doesn’t exactly have
the ring of truth.
(DEEP THROAT nods)
Howard Hunt’s been found–there was
talk that his lawyer had 25 thousand
in cash in a paper bag.
Follow the money. Always follow the
(shakes his head “no”)
This man Gordon Liddy–he’s going to
be tried along with Hunt and the
five burglars–we know he knows a
lot, we just don’t know what.
(lights a new cigarette)
You changed cabs? You’re sure no one
I did everything you said, but it
Things are past that–remember, these
are men with switchblade mentalities
who run the world as if it were Dodge
What’s the whole thing about–do you
What I know, you’ll have to find out
on your own.
Liddy–you think there’s a chance
Talk? Once, at a gathering, he put
his hand over a candle. And he kept
it there. He kept it right in the
flame until his flesh seared. A woman
who was watching asked, “What’s the
trick?” And he replied. “The trick
is not minding.”
DEEP THROAT shakes his head, walks off. WOODWARD stands alone
now, watching. Now the shadows have the other man. Just his
footsteps are audible. WOODWARD stands there… HOLD.
It’s morning and he’s struggling to get his bike down the
steps of his apartment building.
WOODWARD driving up in his two-year-old red Karmann Ghia. He
roars up alongside BERNSTEIN, waving a folded-up newspaper.
The fucking New York Times.
The Times spread somewhat tentatively over a mailbox. A small
headline is visible, with the words “Barker,” “Liddy,” and
“Telephone” in some kind of order. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN
look at it the best they can.
–fifteen phone calls–
—fifteen or more phone calls from
the burglars in Miami to Gordon Liddy
Why didn’t we get that?
Christ, and I even know somebody at
the phone company–
–you do?–with access to records?
As BERNSTEIN nods–
A LITTLE CITY PARK.
A guy shells peanuts. BERNSTEIN hurries up.
Why couldn’t you have just dialed me
from the office, Irwin?
‘Cause I’m not calling out from the
phone company anymore–
(drops his voice)
–I think the place is bugged.
(taking some peanuts)
So tell me about the Times article.
What do you want to know?
No games, Irwin; give.
(looks at BERNSTEIN)
My big civil rights buddy–
(shakes his head)
–boy, if John Mitchell was after
your phone records, would you be
What’re you onto?
Something maybe big.
And that makes anything you do OK,
is that it?
Just tell me about the goddamn
It was accurate, but I can’t get a
fuller listing for you–all Barker’s
phone records have been subpoenaed.
A Miami D.A. The guy doing the
investigating is named Martin Dardis.
(finishes his peanuts,
Irwin? I really feel bad, doing
something like this–you know that,
IRWIN looks at BERNSTEIN for a long time. then–
Don’t give me any more of your liberal
shit, OK, Carl?
He walks off, doesn’t look back. Now–
at the water fountain on the 5th floor. He chews up a few
Maalox tablets, notices BERNSTEIN steaming up.
Harry, I just talked to a Miami
investigator about Barker–
I think it might be helpful if you’d
send me to Miami.
ROSENFELD heads for his office, BERNSTEIN pursuing.
I’m the one sent you to Toronto,
(trying to head him
–that was awhile ago–
–“I think it might be helpful if
you’d send me to Toronto.” That was
your spiel then. “The Lifestyles of
(whirls on BERNSTEIN)
I’m still waiting for it.
He enters his office, BERNSTEIN follows.
Down to Miami and back–how much
damage can I do?
You’re the fella who forgot he rented
a Hertz car, do I have to tell you
they didn’t forget to send us the
And he looks unsympathetically at BERNSTEIN–
SIMONS circling around the 5th floor. ROSENFELD falls into
step. They keep moving throughout.
I can predict the next words you’re
gonna say: “anyone but Bernstein.”
(SIMONS gestures for
ROSENFELD to continue)
I want to send a reporter to Miami.
Anyone but Bernstein.
–remember Toronto, Harry.
That was awhile ago.
I don’t get it–you were the one who
wanted to fire him.
I know, I did, but damnit Howard–
(SIMONS looks at him)
For the first time since I’ve known
him, I think he’s really humping…
A shambles. He is busy doing two things at once, studying
notebooks and packing. Music plays, lovely stuff; the Bach
Brandenburgs. As the phone rings–
Yes, this is Carl Bernstein.
You’re repossessing my bicycle?
Listen, I’m sure I paid this month’s
installment, so why don’t you check
your records before you go around
And as he stands there–
AN ATTRACTIVE, EFFICIENT-LOOKING WOMAN of BERNSTEIN’s age.
She has just entered the apartment. Vivaldi is playing now.
Hannah, I never would have bothered
you but I’m off to Miami and they’re
gonna take away my ten speed unless
I get it straightened out fast.
(glancing around the
Where are your bills, Carl?
Oh, they’re here.
(starts lifting debris
from his desk)
I’m keeping much better records now,
(grabbing a big manila
(hands it to her)
Carl, it’s a jungle.
(sits at his desk,
takes out a mass of
the top bill)
I suggest you either pay this
immediately or lay in a large supply
(studies another bill)
You’d give a stranger the shirt off
your back–except it wouldn’t be
He smiles, gently begins massaging her shoulders as she
studies his finances.
Hey… very tense.
Lot of pressure at the Star.
(looking at the bills)
Carl, when we got married, you were
four thousand dollars in debt; when
we split, you were solvent. That may
prove to be the outstanding single
achievement of my life, and now look
How much did the damn bike cost?
Five hundred; six maybe.
(looking at paper)
You’re two months behind–you got
enough to cover?
Give me your checkbook then.
It’s right under that pile.
He indicates a mound of papers. She pulls it out as he
continues to massage her, more sensually now. She reaches
back, puts her hand on his.
I thought you had to get to Miami.
There’s always a later plane.
You’re a sex junkie, you know that,
(more rubbing now)
I’m glad you’re out of it, Hannah–
you’re a terrific reporter and I
turned you into a bookkeeper.
HANNAH looks at BERNSTEIN a moment; then she smiles gently,
shakes her head.
Aw baby, you can get it up… I just
wonder if you’ll ever be able to get
And quickly from that–
seated perspiring on a hard bench in a stifling office.
Outside: palm trees; we’re in Miami. And judging from the
number of cigarette butts strewn around the bench, BERNSTEIN’s
been there a while. Waiting. Nervous. And maybe he never
will be able to get it together, who knows.
At the front, a SECRETARY sits filing her nails. Behind her
are a number of closed doors to offices. No one passes without
her OK. The clock hits three in the afternoon as BERNSTEIN
gets up from the bench, goes to the SECRETARY.
Hi, it’s me. I’m still here.
(couldn’t be nicer)
I’m so glad.
I’d really like to see Mr. Dardis.
And you will.
But not now.
I called him from Washington. He’s
the one who asked me to be here at
eleven in the morning.
I told you, he had to go out on a
THE BENCH as BERNSTEIN slumps back down. He wipes his forehead
with his sleeve, smokes a fresh cigarette, is kind of
interested when a UNIFORMED COP walks up to the SECRETARY,
who is now putting red polish on her nails.
Is it OK to go on back?
BERNSTEIN watching as the cop walks past the SECRETARY, enters
an office behind.
THE CLOCK ON THE WALL. IT’S QUARTER OF FOUR NOW.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
BERNSTEIN, approaching the SECRETARY again. She is working
on her right hand now.
Could you reach Mr. Dardis by car
He is not in the car.
(Smiles; she’s just
ANOTHER UNIFORMED COP walking by the SECRETARY’s desk.
He enters the same office the first COP did.
BERNSTEIN. He lights another cigarette, puts it out, then
finishing her manicure. It is almost five o’clock now.
BERNSTEIN, his bench a sea of cigarette butts, slowly gets
up and goes to the SECRETARY.
Mr. Dardis does call in every so
Well of course.
Good. Just tell him I was here, that
I’m sorry I missed him–
He walks out the double doors.
BERNSTEIN IN HALLWAY. He looks down the hall. At the end,
opposite the SECRETARY’s reception room, is a big glass door
with a sign reading: Office of the Dade County Clerk.
BERNSTEIN goes into a phone booth in the corridor from which
he can see both offices. He puts in a dime, and dials.
Mr. Dardis’ office, please.
SECRETARY. The phone RINGS and she punches the button on the
Mr. Dardis’ office.
BERNSTEIN in phone booth.
This is Mr. Tomlinson in the clerk’s
office. Could you come across the
hall for a moment? We’ve got some
documents your boss probably should
He hangs up.
BERNSTEIN watching from phone booth as the SECRETARY hurries
across the hallway. As we see her open the door of the clerk’s
office, BERNSTEIN bolts out of the phone booth and runs into
the reception room heading straight for the SECRETARY’s desk.
BERNSTEIN at her desk, looking at the telephone console,
receiver in hand. He punches the button marked Intercom and
we can hear it BUZZ somewhere.
Carl Bernstein’s here to see you–I
don’t know why, but he seems angry–
DARDIS emerging through one of the doors behind BERNSTEIN.
BERNSTEIN see him.
Look, you’ve been jerking my chain
all day. If there’s some reason you
can’t talk to me–like the fact that
you’ve already leaked everything to
The New York Times–just say so.
Listen, I’ve got a dinner–can’t we
do this tomorrow?
I’m on deadline.
DARDIS’ OFFICE. He is fiddling with a combination lock at a
filing cabinet. BERNSTEIN is seated across DARDIS’ desk.
You want Barker’s phone stuff or his
He hands BERNSTEIN some papers, glances at his watch.
I’ll never get out of here in time.
(flying through what
he’s been handed)
The telephone calls… we know about
The rest is Barker’s bank records.
It’s mostly the eighty-nine thousand
in Mexican cashier’s checks–
–yeah, that was in The Times this
BERNSTEIN continues to fly through the papers.
What’s this Dahlberg check?
And as it’s mentioned–
CLOSE UP–CASHIER’S CHECK. It’s drawn on the First Bank and
Trust Company of Boca Raton, Florida, it’s dated April 10
and it’s for 25 thousand dollars, payable to the order to
Kenneth H. Dahlberg.
That the twenty-five grand one?–
BERNSTEIN starting to copy the check in a meticulous
facsimile. DARDIS watches.
I never could figure just who this
Think it might be anything?
And from here quickly–
BERNSTEIN IN A PHONE BOOTH in the lobby of the Justice
Building. Wildly excited–
–Woodward–Woodward, listen, I don’t
know what I got–
(holding the Dahlberg
–and I think the Times has it too–
–but somewhere there’s a Kenneth H.
Dahlberg in this world and we’ve
gotta find him–
And now comes
THE HUNT FOR DAHLBERG.
This is a compressed montage sequence in which we CUT from
one reporter to the other, both of them desperately trying
to locate a man names DAHLBERG.
WOODWARD is maybe in the reference room of the Post, sweating,
surrounded by Who’s Who and Dictionary of American Biographies
and phone books from dozens and dozens of cities–
BERNSTEIN is maybe in the phone booth of the Justice Building,
sweating, with a pile of dimes as he dials away.
This took them hours, and that effort should be visible to
us. They tire, grow punchy, but they keep on, checking phone
book and dialing numbers and God knows what else. The point
is, we want to get to DAHLBERG in a reasonably short amount
of time, but we also want people to know there was effort
WOODWARD, bleary, in the reference room, a girl comes in, a
researcher librarian type.
Were you after the Dahlberg articles
from the files?
There aren’t any, sorry.
And now she drops a piece of paper, a photo–
Our Dahlberg file.
As she leaves–
It is a picture of Hubert Humphrey standing next to another
man. The caption identifies that other man as KENNETH
WOODWARD AT HIS DESK.
The room is reasonably quiet. ROSENFELD is visible in his
office. As WOODWARD picks up the phone, gets Minneapolis
ROSENFELD’S PHONE RINGING. He hurries in, grabs it.
BERNSTEIN’S VOICE (V.O.)
Harry–I know how to get Dahlberg–
–Woodward’s talking to him know.
BERNSTEIN, drenched. There are no dimes left. He listens a
moment more, then nods, hangs up, leans back against the
glass, takes a deep breath, closes his eyes as we
WOODWARD on the phone.
–this should take only a minute,
Mr. Dahlberg, but we’re doing a follow-
up on the break-in–
–and I was kind of curious about
The twenty-five thousand dollar one.
The one with your name on it.
In Bernard Barker’s Florida account.
Bernard Barker, the Watergate burglar–
…you’re definitely doing a story…?
I’m a proper citizen, I’m a decent
man, I don’t do anything that isn’t
decent or proper.
(WOODWARD waits, pen
ready; tense as hell)
I know I shouldn’t tell you this…
WOODWARD’s lips are going “tell me, tell me.”
That twenty-five thousand dollars is
money I collected for Nixon in this
I see. And how do you think it reached
I don’t know; I really don’t. The
last time I saw it was when I was in
Washington. I gave it to the Finance
department of the Committee to Re-
Elect the President. How it got to
that burglar, your guess is as good
(trying to keep his
That checks out with our finding,
thank you, Mr. Dahlberg.
AN ARTICLE WITH WOODWARD’S NAME ON THE BYLINE.
ROSENFELD holds it.
CREEP financed the Watergate break-
in, Jesus Christ.
He starts off.
WOODWARD takes the story, scrawls BERNSTEIN’s name in front
of his on the byline. ROSENFELD watches. As WOODWARD finishes,
he takes the story again, hurries off. Now–
THE HEADLINE OF THEIR STORY:
“Campaign Funds Found in Watergate Burglar’s Account.”
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
that it isn’t exactly a gigantic headline piece. As a matter
of fact, as more and more of page one appears, we see that
their story is tucked away at the bottom and as bigger and
bigger headlines are visible–
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
–the whole first page. Plastered across the top in giant
letters is the following: “EAGLETON RESIGNS.” And as you
look at the whole page now, you can barely make out the tiny
piddling Watergate story. The point is abundantly clear:
nobody cared a whole lot.
being rung like crazy. And as it SOUNDS–
THE BUDGET MEETING
–OK, last go-round. Foreign, anything
The foreign editor, an enormously thoughtful-looking and
respected man, indicates “no.”
(to another editor)
I’ll stand with the Eagleton follow-
ups and McGovern not being able to
get a replacement–that’s your page
one stuff right there, Howard–
–you are ignoring the importance of
the Dahlberg repercussions–
–nobody gives a shit about the
(to NATIONAL EDITOR)
–quit equivocating, say what you
(to SIMONS and BRADLEE)
–our story got Government Accounting
to start an audit on CREEP’s finances–
–and we printed that, didn’t we,
Harry? And when the frigging audit’s
done, we’ll print that too–
–let me tell what happened when I
was having lunch today at the Sans
–correction–when you were drinking
your lunch at the bar of the Sans
–this White House guy, a good one,
a pro, came up and asked what is
this Watergate compulsion with you
guys and I said, well, we think it’s
important and he said, if it’s so
goddamn important, who the hell are
Woodward and Bernstein?
Ask him what he’s really saying–he
means take the story away from
Woodstein and give it to his people
at the National Desk–
–well, I’ve got some pretty
experienced fellas sitting around,
wouldn’t you say so?–
–absolutely–and that’s all they
do, sit sit sit–every once in a
while, they call up a Senator, some
–well, what if your boys get it
(after a beat)
Then it’s our asses, isn’t it?
(indicates the meeting
And we’ll all have to go to work for
As the men rise and head for the door, the FOREIGN EDITOR
moves toward BRADLEE and SIMONS who remain seated as before.
I don’t think either Metropolitan or
National should cover the story.
(BRADLEE and SIMONS
look at him)
I don’t think we should cover the
It’s not that we’re using unnamed
sources that bothers me, or that
everything we print the White House
denies, or that almost no other papers
are reprinting our stuff.
I don’t believe the goddamn story,
Howard, it doesn’t make sense.
It will, it just hasn’t bottomed out
yet, give it time.
Ben, Jesus, there are over two
thousand reporters in this town, are
there five on Watergate? Where did
we suddenly get all this wisdom?
BRADLEE and SIMONS say nothing. They respect this guy.
Look–why would the Republicans do
it? –my God, McGovern is self-
destructing before our eyes–just
like Muskie did, Humphrey, the bunch
(sits on the table,
talks quietly on)
Why would the burglars have put the
tape around the door instead of up
and down unless they wanted to get
caught? Why did they take a walkie-
talkie and then turn it off, unless
they wanted to get caught? Why would
they use McCord–the only direct
contact to the Republicans?
You saying the Democrats bugged
The FBI thinks it’s possible–the
Democrats need a campaign issue,
corruption’s always a good one.
(rises, starts out)
Get off the story, Ben–or put some
people on McGovern’s finances; fair
is fair, even in our business.
He leaves. BRADLEE and SIMONS stay where they are, both of
them flattened by what the guy’s said. Because they’re not
sure he’s wrong… HOLD. Now–
THE PAPERS POURING OUT OF THE ASSEMBLY LINE.
We’re back with the UNION GUY from before. He pulls out a
paper again, looks at a story on the front page–
THE WOODWARD/BERNSTEIN STORY that said the GAO found that
CREEP has mishandled over $500,000 in campaign funds.
(to another UNION GUY
who’s reading over
SECOND UNION GUY
Politics as usual, someone just got
caught with his hand in the cookie
jar, that’s all.
(he’s not so sure)
Big fuckin’ cookie jar.
As he turns to the sports section–
GETTING THE CREEP LIST SEQUENCE.
Either they get it as it is now, or as they really did, from
a Post researcher who knew someone. In ant case, we see the
list, with the columns of names and numbers meaning offices
and phone extensions.
We also see the two of them working, first, making long
attempts at figuring out who worked for whom at CREEP.
Then, once they have that, they begin using the cross-
reference phone books, which are not familiar to moviegoers.
And from these, they begin to get the home addresses of the
various small-fry people who work for CREEP.
Near the end alphabetically, there is a common female name,
Jane Smith or something like that. As BERNSTEIN runs his
finger down the addresses, something strikes him as familiar,
and as he reaches for the phone–
A CRUMMY-LOOKING BAR – MID-DAY.
BERNSTEIN enters, looks around, then smiles and moves to a
lovely girl with a sweet face who probably weighs 200 pounds.
She is sitting alone in a corner booth. She nods to BERNSTEIN,
can’t quite pull off a smile.
This is practically a high school
reunion for us, Jane–I would have
sprung for a classier place.
Anyplace really public, they’d know
about it–they know everything at
the Committee, Carl–
–you don’t really think you’re being
This girlfriend of mine at the
Committee, the other day she went
back to the D.A. to tell the things
the FBI didn’t ask her. That night,
her boss, he knew what she’d done.
They control everything; that’s how
they know it all.
You don’t believe me? Well, I was
working the weekend of the break-in
and my God, all the executives were
running around like crazy–you had
to practically wait in line to use
the shredding machine–and when the
FBI came to investigate, they never
even asked me about it.
If you don’t like it down there, why
don’t you quit?
I don’t know what they’d do to me.
We’re a long way from high school,
(she looks at him)
…and I’m scared.
HOLD on her frightened face a moment. Then–
riding home on his bicycle. He gets to his building, starts
lugging it up when–
JANE’S VOICE (O.S.)
They found out I saw you–
–they wanted to know everything.
Don’t call me again.
(moving toward her
I can help if you’ll–
–stay away from me, Carl!
JANE IN THE DARKNESS. If she was scared earlier, it’s panic-
time now. She turns, hurries off.
BERNSTEIN watches her. Suddenly a SOUND comes from the
darkness behind him. He whirls. It was nothing but from the
way he jumped when it happened you can tell the fear is
Now from Washington, in darkness–
ESSEX HOUSE IN MANHATTAN – BRIGHT SUNSHINE.
WOODWARD comes hurrying along, and as he enters the hotel–
A DESK CLERK shaking his head at WOODWARD.
We have no one by the name of Mitchell
My mistake, sorry.
And as he goes–
WOODWARD out on the street, in a phone booth near Essex House.
Get me John Mitchell, it’s urgent.
That would be room 710, I’ll connect
WOODWARD waits anxiously as the connection is made.
MAN’S VOICE (V.O.)
Can I speak to Martha Mitchell,
MAN’S VOICE (V.O.)
Who is this?
I’ve met Mrs. Mitchell in Washington,
I’m Bob Woodward of the Post and
And the phone clicks dead–
AN ELEVATOR, the numbers of the floors being lit as it rises.
4–5–6– WOODWARD stands alone in the elevator. As it reaches
seven and the doors slide open, he steps out and
THE MARRIOTT SUITE. It’s numbered 710. WOODWARD approaches
but as he does the door begins to open so he whirls, knocks
on the door nearest him. Now 710 is wide open and several
maids leave, watched by a large black man.
We’ll be back after lunch.
(it’s the voice from
We’ll be here.
WOODWARD waits by his door as 710 slowly closes. The maids
look at him a moment. He knocks again, louder.
I think they went out.
I don’t mind waiting.
The maids nod, move out of sight. WOODWARD stands tense and
still, watching the closed door numbered 710… Now–
NATIONAL AIRPORT IN D.C. – LATE AFTERNOON.
People are getting off the shuttle, WOODWARD among them.
(as WOODWARD reaches
For the paper, no; for us, plenty.
(The two of them head
for the terminal)
I waited a long time and finally
this big guy–I guess a bodyguard–
he left and I knocked and she
remembered me, we talked awhile.
(looks at BERNSTEIN)
–she was panicked, Carl–every time
I mentioned Watergate, you could
Were you eyebrow reading?
(shakes his head “no”)
It was there. I just don’t get it; a
CREEP secretary being scared, that’s
one thing. But what does the wife of
one of the most powerful men in
America have to be afraid of…?
They look at each other, neither has a clue. HOLD. Now–
THE RED KARMANN GHIA
moving along a residential area in Washington. It’s later
INSIDE THE CAR – NIGHT. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN driving along.
Left up ahead.
Alphabetically, on the CREEP phone
list, Miss Helen Abbott of South
As WOODWARD turns left.
Now hang your second right–
–this was my turf when I was a kid.
And on those words–
A DEAD END SIGN. We hear BERNSTEIN explaining–
I brought you over one street too
many–go back and hang a left again.
Now on those words–
ANOTHER DEAD END SIGN.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN pulled over to one side. BERNSTEIN,
baffled, stares around; WOODWARD looks at a map with the aid
of a flashlight.
I don’t get it… this really was my
(concentrating on the
You’re not a kid anymore.
(shaking his head)
My first day as a copy boy I was
sixteen and wearing my only grown-up
suit–it was cream colored. At 2:30
the head copy boy comes running up
to me and says, “My God, haven’t you
washed the carbon paper yet? If it’s
not washed by three, it’ll never by
dry for tomorrow.”
(WOODWARD is getting
interested in the
And I said, “Am I supposed to do
that?” and he said, “Absolutely,
it’s crucial.” So I run around and
grab all the carbon paper from all
the desks and take it to the men’s
room. I’m standing there washing it
and it’s splashing all over me and
the editor comes in to take a leak,
and he says, “What the fuck do you
think you’re doing?” And I said,
“It’s 2:30. I’m washing the carbon
(BERNSTEIN looks at
Just wanted you to know I’ve done
dumber things than get us lost, that’s
WOODWARD goes back to his map. BERNSTEIN continues to smoke,
staring around at the night.
WOODWARD – AT THE FRONT OF A HOUSE. A sweet old lady is
looking out at him.
Hi. I’m Bob Woodward of the Washington
Post and I hate to bother you at
SWEET OLD LADY
–I already get the Post. I don’t
need another subscription.
No, I’m a reporter. I wanted to talk
to you about the Committee to Re-
SWEET OLD LADY
The what to what?
You work there, Miss Abbott.
SWEET OLD LADY
I’m not Miss Abbott.
ANOTHER LADY – IN HER DOORWAY. This time both WOODWARD and
BERNSTEIN are there.
We’re from the Washington Post and
we wanted to ask you some questions
about the Committee.
CLOSE UP – MISS ABBOTT
And from nowhere, suddenly she bursts into tears.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN as her door slams in their faces.
They just look at each other, bewildered. And a little bit
upset; their upset increases as the rejections go on.
WHOLE SERIES OF FACES
in quick succession–they’re all in various doorways, men,
women, young, old. The only thing in common is their fear.
God, it’s just so awful–
And as he closes the door
A YOUNG GIRL
–I can’t–I’d like to but–
(that’s all she’ll
And as her door starts to shut
–go–you’ve got to go before they
And as he almost starts to beg
She stands there, shaking her head back and forth, back and
forth, pathetic and sad. Now–
He is seated alone staring at his coffee cup, surrounded by
junk food debris. We are in a Hot Shoppe, it’s night, and as
BERNSTEIN comes up with food, they’re dressed differently
from before. BERNSTEIN puts more junk food and coffee down.
You had the Mighty Mo and the fries
without gravy, right?
BERNSTEIN passes over some food. They both look bleary and
in foul moods. Silently, they start to eat, something they
continue doing throughout. They’re not hungry, they just
This is terrific work, if you like
I never scared anyone before.
It’s not us, they were scared before
we got there.
(looks at BERNSTEIN)
What do we know?
Facts or theory?
Anything you’ve got.
We know there’s got to be something
or they wouldn’t be so panicked.
And that something’s got to be more
than just Hunt, Liddy, and the five
burglars–those indictments are gonna
be bullshit when they come down.
What else do we know?
I just wish we knew when someone
would talk to us, that’s all.
The continue to eat, bleary and numb, as we
A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN–
–kind of an honest, hard-working face.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN are standing in her doorway.
A friend at the Committee told us to
–who was it?
We never reveal our sources, which
is why you can talk to us.
It’s safe, try it, you’ll see.
She doesn’t talk at first, but she doesn’t slam the door
We understand your problem–
–you believe in the President, you
wouldn’t ever want to do anything
We appreciate your position–really.
And now she starts, at last, to talk, and they expect it to
be their first breakthrough, but when it turns out to be the
most withering onslaught yet, they are stunned.
You people–you think that you can
come into someone’s life, squeeze
what you want, then get out.
You don’t appreciate a goddamn thing,
And you don’t understand nothing.
But the Committee’s briefed us on
you–so get the hell out of here–
–do you like scaring the life out
of decent people?–’cause if you
don’t, in the name of God–stop it!
And she slams the door–
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN, slowly walking back in silence back
to the car.
At Yale once, they held an auction.
There was this woman and her name
was Lulu Landis. Her postcards came
up for sale. She had 1400 postcards
written to her and I’d never heard
of her before but I knew I had to
have those cards, I had to know why
anyone would get so many messages. I
paid sixty-five dollars for them…
I got all crazy trying to work it
out and first it was just a maze but
then I found that her husband killed
himself in Dayton, and once I had
that, it all began to open, an
evangelist had come to Dayton and
his horses hit Lulu Landis at the
corner of 13th and Vermillion and
she was paralyzed. Permanently, and
her favorite thing til then had been
traveling and all her friends,
whenever they went anyplace, they
wrote her. Those cards, they were
They continue to walk; slowly.
A MIDDLE-AGED MAN–IN HIS DOORWAY
I know who you are and I’m not afraid
but that don’t mean I’ll talk to you
either–you’re just a couple Democrats
out to stop Nixon getting re-elected.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN, staring at the man.
I hate both parties.
And I’m a Republican.
The middle-aged man looks at him.
(surprised, turns to
Who’d you vote for?
BERNSTEIN stares at him in silence as we–
ANOTHER SERIES OF CREEP EMPLOYEES.
Only they aren’t slamming doors, they’re sitting in various
rooms of their houses and apartments. We don’t see the
reporters or hear their questions but the answers they receive
make it self-evident. We start with the middle-aged man seen
Mitchell never left the Committee–
he resigned, sure, but he was there
as much as before–
–oh, don’t worry, Gordon Liddy will
be happy to take the fall for everyone
because, well, it’s not that Gordon’s
(pauses, looking for
the right word)
…weird. I’ll give you some Committee
people who know about him–only don’t
tell it was me–
–of course we were briefed on what
to say–and never to volunteer
–oh, we were never alone with the
FBI, there was always someone from
the Committee right there–
Smiles, talks on as we–
RICHARD NIXON’S SOMBER VISAGE.
…No one in this administration,
presently employed, was involved in
this very bizarre incident…
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
BERNSTEIN and WOODWARD in a crummy cafeteria, watching the
evening news on the TV set high on the wall. WOODWARD eats a
hamburger, BERNSTEIN smokes, sips coffee. It is night, as
NIXON–on the tube.
…What really hurts in matters of
this sort is not the fact that they
occur, because overzealous people in
campaigns do things that are wrong.
What really hurts is if you try to
cover it up.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN as the news commentator come on, begins
introducing another story.
Did he just say what I think he said?
You voted for him.
He gives WOODWARD a big smile. WOODWARD eats his hamburger
A DIFFERENT TIME, A DIFFERENT PLACE–EARLY EVENING.
BERNSTEIN gets out of his car, walks up, and knocks on the
door of a small tract house in the D.C. suburbs. A woman
opens the door.
Hi, I’m Carl Bernstein of the
Washington Post and–
–oh, you don’t want me, you want my
THE BOOKKEEPER approaching the door. She’s younger than the
cliché version of a bookkeeper. As she looks at her sister–
This here is Carl Bernstein–
–omigod, you’re from that place,
you’ve got to go.
The sister is smoking and there is a pack on the dinette
Could I bum one of your cigarettes?–
As the sister starts for the pack–
–don’t bother, I’ll get it.
And he crosses ten feet inside the front door.
You’ve really got to go.
Just let me get a match.
He goes into the living room area, picks up a book of matches.
This whole scene moves slowly, the tension building under it–
it’s not like news people talking, nothing overlaps here.
But I want you to know that I
understand why you’re afraid–a lot
of good people down there at the
Committee are afraid. I’m really
sorry for what you’re being put
All those articles you people write–
where do you find that stuff?
We don’t tell anyone that. Which is
why you can talk to us. And if we
can’t verify what you say someplace
else, we don’t print it. That’s
another reason you can relax.
I’m relaxed–light your cigarette.
BERNSTEIN lights the cigarette.
You were Hugh Sloan’s bookkeeper
when he worked for Maurice Stans at
Finance, and we were sort of
wondering, did you go work for Stans
immediately after Sloan quit or was
there a time lapse?
I never worked for Sloan or Stans.
(out of the blue; to
Would you like some coffee or
As the BOOKKEEPER winces.
(like a shot)
Please, yes, thank you.
(he looks at the
Can I sit down for a minute?
He is by a couch.
One minute but then–
–right, right, I’ve got to go.
Why did you lie just then?
The BOOKKEEPER kneads her hands together silently. BERNSTEIN
I was just curious–you don’t do it
well, so I wondered. Have you been
threatened, if you told the truth,
is that it?
…No… never in so many words…
It’s obvious you want to talk to
someone–well, I’m someone.
He takes out his notebook.
The BOOKKEEPER. And she does want to talk. But the notebook
scares her terribly and she can only stare at it.
I’m not even going to put your name
down. It’s just so I can keep things
Start with the money, why don’t you?
(returning with coffee)
How do you like it?
I won’t be a minute.
(to the BOOKKEEPER,
The General Accounting report said
there was a 350 thousand cash slush
fund in Stans’ safe. Did you know
about that from the beginning?
(about to fold)
There are too many people watching
me–they know I know a lot–
–it was all in hundreds, wasn’t it?
A lot of it was. I just thought it
was sort of an all-purpose political
fund–you know, for taking fat cats
to dinner, things like that.
Could buy a lot of steaks, 350,000
(her words are coming
I can’t be positive that it was used
for the break-in but people sure are
The ones who could disburse the money.
Who were they?
There were a group of them–I think
five, I don’t know their names.
Sloan knew which five, didn’t he?
(back with cream and
Here we are.
I don’t want to say anymore.
It’s awfully hot–
–and you haven’t finished telling
me about the money–
(long pause; then–in
–omigod, there was so much of it,
six million came in one two-day period–
six million cash, we couldn’t find
enough places to put it. I thought
it was all legal, I guess I did, til
after the break-in, when I remembered
Gordon got so much of it.
(heart starting to
Gordon Liddy, you mean?
It was all so crazy–the day after
the break-in he gave us a speech,
bouncing up and down on his heels in
that loony way of his–Gordon told
us not to let Jim McCord ruin
everything–don’t let one bad apple
spoil the barrel, he said. You just
know that when Gordon Liddy’s calling
someone a bad apple, something’s
(more and more moved
…It’s all so rotten… and getting
worse… and all I care about is
Hugh Sloan. His wife was going to
leave him if he didn’t stand up and
do what was right. And he quit. He
quit because he saw it and didn’t
want any part of it.
Think Sloan’s being set up as a fall
guy for John Mitchell? Sometimes it
looks that way.
There is a pause. Then–
If you guys… if you guys could
just get John Mitchell… that would
And now, as long last, she begins to cry. HOLD on her tears,
clicking away. The words “INTERVIEW WITH X. SEPT. 14” are
visible. There is music in the background, really blasting
away, Rachmaninoff or worse.
We are in WOODWARD’s apartment and BERNSTEIN is dictating
notes from the BOOKKEEPER interview. It’s very late, and
BERNSTEIN has notes on everything, matchboxes, and it’s hard
for him to read. They’re both really excited, BERNSTEIN from
his coffee jag, WOODWARD by what BERNSTEIN’s dictating.
I couldn’t believe what she told
me. Eight cups of coffee worth.
Go on, go on–
–we’ve got to find out who the five
guys are–the five with access to
the slush fund–they were aware of
Then tomorrow’s grand jury indictments
will just be bullshit.
It goes very high–we’ve got to find
–she was really paranoid, the
That happens to people.
(he goes over, turns
the hi-fi on even
OK, go on.
The noise blasts away as BERNSTEIN and WOODWARD hunch over
the typewriter. It’s a moment of genuine exhilaration.
Paranoid, sure, but for the first time, they’re really on to
something; it’s all starting to split open…
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN
They are driving through McLean, Virginia, a development of
identical imitation Tudor houses.
How do you want to handle Sloan?
You mean, who’s going to play the
mean M.P. and who’s going to be the
He’s another Ivy Leaguer so he’ll
probably expect you to be
understanding–might surprise him if
You want me to be the bastard.
And I’ll just shitkick in my usual
As they drive on–
A PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN standing in the doorway of one of the
Tudor houses. She is very pregnant. She knows instinctively
who they are, and she dominates them in a genuinely proud
female way. What I mean is, it’s her scene, and they’re
suddenly embarrassed to be bothering her.
To see Mr. Sloan.
(There is a pause.
She studies them–)
You’re those two from the Post, aren’t
I’ll tell him.
(as she’s about to
step back inside)
This must be a difficult time for
the both of you.
This is an honest house.
That’s why we wanted to see your
She studies them still; more silence.
That decision is up to him.
Maybe you could put in a good word.
We’ve got another appointment tonight
in this area–we’ll just stop back
later, all right?
It’s a free country–
They nod, start back down the walk. She watches them.
They turn, look back at her.
CLOSE UP–MRS. SLOAN
–you can destroy lives.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN watching her. She seems like a terrific
girl. And maybe they’ve upset her. Or maybe what she has
said, coming from her, has more impact than otherwise.
Quietly, they turn back, walk in silence toward the red
THE McLEAN McDONALD’S–DINNERTIME. Lots of very noisy, happy
children. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN sit surrounded by their
usual array of junk food.
Think Sloan’s back?
(BERNSTEIN seems lost
Nothing–I just found out that Jeb
Magruder from CREEP is a bigger bike
freak than I am.
I never like it when the other guy’s
They continue to sip coffee; outside it continues to rain.
A YOUNG, SLENDER GUY answering his door.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN stand outside, their jackets over
their heads, protecting themselves from the rain which is
My wife told me to expect you.
As you know, I haven’t talked to the
We were hoping that maybe now you
could. We know why you left the
Committee. We know you’re not guilty
of anything. But we know you know
It has begun to rain even harder.
–look, come in. We’ll have to be
quiet–my wife’s asleep.
A CHRISTMAS CARD from the Nixons, they are standing in front
of the White House Christmas tree. It is signed “To Hugh and
Debbie Sloan, with thanks, Richard M. Nixon, Patricia Nixon.”
and we’re in the living room. More coffee is being drunk;
SLOAN endlessly stirs his.
I’d like to talk to you, I really
would, but my lawyers say I shouldn’t
until after the Watergate trial.
You handed out the money. Maybe
there’s a legitimate explanation for
the way it was done–
–then again, maybe things are even
worse than we’ve written–
–they’re worse. That’s why I quit.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN wait as SLOAN is clearly going through
a struggle with himself. Then–
Try and understand this. I’m a decent
Republican. I believe in Richard
Nixon. I worked in the White House
four years–so did my wife. What
happened on June 17 I don’t think
the President knew anything about.
Some of his men I’m not so sure of.
Do you think the truth will come out
at the trial?
That’s another of the things I’m not
so sure of.
Because people at the Committee were
told to lie to the prosecutors?
We were never told flat out “Don’t
talk.” But the message was clear.
To cover up?
Well, they sure didn’t ask us to
come forward and tell the truth.
Does “they” mean the White House?
As opposed to the Committee? The
Committee’s not an independent
operation. Everything is cleared
with the White House. I don’t think
that the FBI or the prosecutors
The report on the cash in Maurice
Stans’ safe, the three hundred fifty
thousand, that’s true?
No. It was closer to seven hundred
And as treasurer, you could release
When so ordered.
We’re not sure we’ve got all the
guys who could order you, but we
know there were five.
(SLOAN is silent)
(ticking them off)
Mitchell, Stans, Magruder, they’re
SLOAN stirs his coffee.
–there had to be a White House
Colson’s too smart to get directly
involved with something like that.
I won’t talk about the other two.
But they both worked at the White
I will not talk about the other two.
(out of the blue)
Kalmbach–Nixon’s personal lawyer.
SLOAN is shocked at the mention of Kalmbach.
I can’t say anything, I’m sorry.
(He starts to rise)
One thing I’m not completely clear
on–when you gave out the money to
Liddy, how did that work?
(and now for the first
time, he almost smiles)
You don’t realize how close all this
came to staying undiscovered–I gave
Liddy the Dahlberg check and he gave
it to Barker who took it to Miami
and deposited it.
Then Barker withdrew the 25 thousand
in hundred dollar bills and gave it
back to Liddy who gave it back to me
and I put it in the office safe which
Well, when Liddy came and asked for
money for what turned out to be the
break-in funds, I went to the safe
and gave him–out of this whole
fortune–I happened to give him the
same hundreds he gave me–banks have
to keep track of hundreds. If the
money had been in fifties, or if I’d
grabbed a different stack, there
probably wouldn’t have been any
Ordinarily, though, what was the
Routine–I’d just call John Mitchell
over at the Justice Department and
he’d say “go ahead, give out the
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN just look at each other–they hadn’t
known it, not remotely. SLOAN stands and as they head for
THE THREE OF THEM heading across the foyer.
What happens when the baby comes?
I’ve been looking for a job but it’s
been… hard. My name’s been in the
papers too much. Sometimes I wonder
if reporters understand how much
pain they can inflict in just one
sentence. I’m not thinking of myself.
But my wife, my parents, it’s been
very rough on them.
BERNSTEIN and WOODWARD looking very uncomfortable as SLOAN
I wish I could put down on paper
what it’s like–you come to Washington
because you believe in something,
and then you get inside and you see
how things actually work and you
watch your ideals disintegrate.
The people inside, the people in the
White House, they start to believe
they can suspend the rules because
they’re fulfilling a mission. That
becomes the only important thing–
the mission. It’s so easy to lose
perspective. We want to get out before
we lose ours altogether.
SLOAN opens the front door. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN pause,
nod, almost an embarrassed pause. Then as they hurry out
into the rain–
flying toward a basket cupped to a picture window. When we
we’re in BRADLEE’s office, SIMONS and ROSENFELD are also
there, along with WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN. BRADLEE plays
nerfball mostly; he hasn’t got the worlds’s longest attention
Look–five men controlled that slush
fund as CREEP–three of them we’ve
got, Mitchell, Stans, Magruder, and
we’re pretty sure of Kalmbach.
We’d like to wait til we have all
five before we print it.
This is a daily paper, we’ll explain
(looks at them)
You’re certain on Mitchell?
He approved the payments to Liddy
while he was still Attorney General–
And all this now goes fast–
–you got more than one source?–
–has any of them got an ax?–
–political, personal, sexual,
anything at all against Mitchell?–
–can we use their names?–
–goddamnit, when’s somebody gonna
go on the record on this story–
–who you got?–
–and we got a guy in Justice–
–I saw him. He verifies.
(now after the burst
of talk, a pause)
You’re about to write a story that
says that the former Attorney General–
the man who represented law in America–
is a crook.
(throws the nerfball)
Just be right, huh?
As WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN leave the office–
Leave plenty of room for his denial.
BERNSTEIN AT HIS DESK ON THE PHONE. He has some papers in
front of him an a notepad and pencil in his free hand. He is
tired and very, very nervous. It is dark outside. In what
follows, BERNSTEIN takes notes.
OPERATOR’S VOICE (V.O.)
Essex House, can I help you?
John Mitchell, please.
There is a BUZZING SOUND. Then–
JOHN MITCHELL’S VOICE (V.O.)
Sir, this is Carl Bernstein of the
Washington Post, and I’m sorry to
bother you but we’re running a story
in tomorrow’s paper that we thought
you should have a chance to comment
What does it say?
(starting to read)
John N. Mitchell, while serving as
US Attorney General, personally
controlled a secret cash fund that–
–fund that was used to gather
information against the Democrats–
–according to sources involved in
the Watergate investigation. Beginning
in the spring of 1971–
–almost a year before he left the
–to become President Nixon’s campaign
manager on March 1, Mitchell
personally approved withdrawals from
–all that crap, you’re putting it
in the paper? It’s all been denied.
You tell your publisher–tell Katie
Graham she’s gonna get her tit caught
in a big fat wringer if that’s
published. Good Christ! That’s the
most sickening thing I ever heard.
Sir, I’d like to ask you a few–
–what time is it?
Morning or night?
And he hangs up.
BRADLEE and BERNSTEIN at BERNSTEIN’s desk. BRADLEE is going
over BERNSTEIN’s notes.
He really made that remark about
This is a family newspaper–cut the
words “her tit” and run it.
And now suddenly–
THE PRESSES OF THE POST
rolling the story. They’re modern and gigantic and
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN. They’re in the lobby of the Post at
night and through a thick-pane of glass they’re watching
their story roll and on their faces is something you don’t
expect to see: panic.
BRADLEE comes up behind them, looks down at the presses,
starts to talk.
Once when I was reporting, Lyndon
Johnson’s top guy gave me the word
they were looking for a successor to
J. Edgar Hoover. I wrote it and the
day it appeared Johnson called a
press conference and appointed Hoover
head of the FBI for life… And when
he was done, he turned to his top
guy and the President said, “Call
Ben Bradlee and tell him fuck you.”
(shakes his head)
I took a lot of static for that–
everyone said, “You did it, Bradlee,
you screwed up–you stuck us with
(looks at WOODWARD
–I screwed up but I wasn’t wrong.
They all watch the presses now.
You guys haven’t been wrong yet, is
that why you’re scared shitless?
(as WOODWARD and
BERNSTEIN nod, BRADLEE
You should be…
THE PRESSES continuing to roll. The SOUND is incredible. Now–
A TELETYPE MACHINE
clacking away like crazy. We can read the words, “The Senator
finished by saying that although he was…” and from there–
A SENATOR and while the words “although he was” are still
very fresh in our minds–
Although I am a Republican, I would
like to state in a pure bipartisan
spirit that I feel only sadness that
a once fine journal of record like
the Post would have become merely
the hysterical spokesman for the
equally hysterical left wing of the
The SOUND of the teletype doesn’t stop in this little part
and we see three people and it’s very important that their
voices are immediately recognizable and distinct. One, the
SENATOR is from the West and will have that twang. The next
two whom we are about to meet are PUBLIC RELATIONS PEOPLE
from CREEP and the WHITE HOUSE. The CREEP voice is very
southern, the WHITE HOUSE GUY sounds like an NBC announcer.
The WESTERN SENATOR will be seen in a corridor of the Senate
office building, talking to reporters, the CREEP P.R.
SOUTHERNER will be talking to reporters in front of the CREEP
office doors and so identified. The WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
will be standing on a platform with a flag visible off to
one side. As the teletype goes on–
THE SOUTHERN CREEP P.R. MAN
CREEP P.R. MAN
–hearsay, innuendo, and character
assassination. I can only conclude
that the so-called sources of the
Washington Post are a fountain of
THE WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
–the White House has long since
stopped being surprised at this type
of reporting by certain elements of
the Eastern liberal press–
A lot of activity. BRADLEE is at his desk reading the teletype
dispatches. SIMONS and ROSENFELD are there, WOODWARD and
BERNSTEIN, too. A kid comes in with more teletype stuff. The
editors look at it.
Same kind of crap–
–all non-denial denials–we’re dirty
guys and they doubt we were ever
virgins but they don’t say the story
What’s a real denial?
If they ever start calling us goddamn
–it’s time to start circling the
THE UNION GUYS IN THE POST
looking at a new headline:
NIXON ELECTION AIDES CONCEALED FACTS FROM GOVERNMENT PROBERS
FIRST UNION GUY
You think they know what they’re
doing on the fifth floor?
SECOND UNION GUY
I got eight kids to support–they
They start for the sports section, only this time, they stop,
go back, stare at the headline again. From them watching–
walking WOODWARD to the elevators.
What do you think Mrs. Graham wants
to see me for?
Maybe to fire you–since you two
started on this story, the Post stock
has dropped, what, 50 percent?
(WOODWARD pushes for
And the word is some Nixon people
are challenging her TV licenses. I’m
not saying she’s going on relief,
but I don’t think it’s unreasonable
for her to want to meet you.
You think she wants us to ease up on
I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s
unreasonable either, do you?
The elevator opens. WOODWARD shakes his head “no” and steps
inside as we
MRS. GRAHAM in her office as a SECRETARY lets WOODWARD in.
He’s nervous. She’s standing by the window, he crosses to
I’m so glad you could come, Mr.–
She nods. There’s a pause. He waits. She’s trying to say
something, get something started, but it’s difficult. Silence.
She stares out again, quietly starts to talk.
You know, the paper was my father’s
and my husband’s when they were alive
and I was thinking back a year or
two ago when Ben called me and said
he wanted to publish the Pentagon
Papers the next day. The Times had
already been stopped from publishing
anymore of them and all my legal
counsel said “don’t, don’t” and I
was frightened but I knew if I said
no, I’d lose the whole fifth floor.
So we published, and that night,
after I’d told Ben to go ahead, I
woke up in the darkness and I thought,
“Oh my Lord, what am I doing to this
(She looks at WOODWARD)
I woke up again last night with that
(WOODWARD says nothing,
Are we right on this story?
I think so.
Are you sure?
When will you be, do you think?–
when are we going to know it all?
It may never come out.
Never? Please don’t tell me never.
Ben says you’ve found some wonderful
Some Justice Department lawyers and
an FBI man, and some people from the
Committee to Re-Elect, yes ma’am.
And the underground garage one.
(WOODWARD, more nervous
Would I know him?
I couldn’t say.
But it’s possible.
(throat very dry)
You’ve never told anyone who he is?
(WOODWARD shakes his
But you’d have to tell me if I asked
(he is dying)
I would, if you really ever wanted
I really want to know.
WOODWARD caught between a rock and a hard place. He is silent
until there is the SOUND of light laughter and we–
MRS. GRAHAM. The laughter came from her.
I wasn’t serious. I have plenty of
burdens to carry around, I don’t
WOODWARD tries not to exhale too audibly.
We’re going to need lots of good
luck, aren’t we?
Nobody ever had too much.
CLOSE UP–MRS. GRAHAM as abruptly she reaches out, touches
WOODWARD on the arm.
WOODWARD makes a nod. HOLD. Then–
in a state of anger, pacing around the tiny teletype room.
WOODWARD hurries in.
BRADLEE says nothing, just points to the AP teletype. WOODWARD
looks at it, clearly is upset.
I thought you guys were supposed to
be working on this story–
(to BERNSTEIN who
–you think I like being aced out?
–The L.A. Times has a huge interview
–the lookout in the Motor Inn?–
–he say anything we don’t know?–
–just that a lot of reports were
sent to CREEP, but he doesn’t name
who, not here anyway–
–it would have been nice to have
had this, I sure would have liked to
have had this–
–there’s nothing new in it–
–it makes the break-in real–it’s a
major goddamn story–
–I’m not going to kick ass over
this, but I’d like you to know I
hate getting beat, I just hate it–
don’t forget that I hate it–
And he stalks out. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN stand staring at
the teletype which keeps on clacking and clacking as the
L.A. Times story keeps getting longer.
–we gotta top the Times–
–I know, I know–
–if we could name the guys got the
reports, we’d be ahead again–
–shit, who do we know?–
–I know a lawyer at Justice–
–has he got an ax?–
–almost every source we’ve used has
been Republican, this guy’s a card-
Then he’s got an ax.
Call him anyway.
As BERNSTEIN nods, takes off out of the room–
THE UNION GUYS
studying the front page, on which one headline indicates
that they’re named the guys at CREEP who got the reports.
FIRST UNION GUY
Who is this Woodstein?
(points to paper)
Two stories on the front page.
SECOND UNION GUY
If he can’t pick a winner at Pimlico,
to hell with him.
A HOT SHOPPE.
WOODWARD is stirring his morning coffee as BERNSTEIN comes
in, spots him, hurries over. BERNSTEIN is maybe more excited
then we’ve yet seen him.
–I want you to shut up and listen
–I haven’t said anything–
–for the first time I’m beginning
to feel like a fucking reporter–
Woodward, I got a tip. A guy called
me up with a tip–
–someone named Donald Segretti
contacted a bunch of lawyers and
asked them if they’d like to go to
work with him screwing up the
Democrats, dirty tricks, shit like
that. The FBI knows about Segretti–
Howard Hunt made a bunch of phone
calls to him–they interrogated him,
but on account of Segretti wasn’t
involved with the break-in, they
didn’t follow through. But Segretti
did a lot of traveling–he called
these lawyers from different places,
and he told them the Republicans
knew what he was doing.
How high up, which Republicans?
That’s what we’ve got to find out,
but Segretti went to Southern Cal.
and so did a bunch of Nixon men–
–Haldeman I know, who else?
Dwight Chapin, Nixon’s appointments
chief–he knew Segretti in school.
Maybe I’m crazy, but this is the
first time any of this starts to
make sense. What were the three
The burglary was done by Cubans or
Democrats or Republicans.
Now the reason no one believed the
Republicans is because there wasn’t
any reason, they were so far ahead.
But Segretti was talking to these
other lawyers a year before the break-
So maybe Watergate wasn’t really
about Watergate–maybe that was just
–because a year before, the
Republicans weren’t ahead, not in
the polls, Muskie was running ahead
of Nixon then. Before he self-
If he self-destructed.
Now, from the two of them–
A MAZE OF CREDIT CARD RECEIPTS IN VARIOUS PILES.
There is the SOUND of bad guitar music, which as we
we see is BERNSTEIN playing. We are in his apartment, it’s
night, and the two of them, bleary, are studying the maze of
Segretti criss-crossed the country
over ten times in six months–and
never stayed anyplace over a night
Switch to another station, huh? You’re
driving me crazy with that.
Segovia begged me for me secret but
I said, “No, Andres, you’ll have to
try and make it without me.”
He switches to another song which sounds a lot like the one
he just finished playing.
(pointing to the
California, Illinois, Florida, New
Hampshire–all the major Democratic
Why does everything you play sound
–’cause I only know four chords–
THE CREDIT CARDS. The camera moves across the travels of
Donald Segretti. There is the SOUND of BERNSTEIN’s guitar.
HOLD for a moment, then–
TINY, BABY-FACED MAN
standing in his doorway.
BERNSTEIN–OUTSIDE THE APARTMENT DOOR. We are, it will soon
be clear, in California now, Marina Del Rey.
I’m Carl Bernstein.
My paper sent me out to see if I
couldn’t persuade you to go on the
Mind if I try?
SEGRETTI shrugs, and as they enter his apartment–
INSIDE. They walk across to a small terrace outside, where
they sit. The terrace has a glorious view of the water and
lots of girls in bathing costume, below.
According to what we’ve been able to
verify, you’ve been busy.
I’ve got a lot of energy.
Listen–we know you’re involved in
this–we’re going to get the story,
why not help?
They never told me anything except
my own role–I had to find out the
rest in the papers.
By “they” you mean…?
He waits; SEGRETTI just shakes his head.
By “they” you mean the White House,
(SEGRETTI makes no
Your buddy from USC, Dwight Chapin–
he works for the White House.
I know where Dwight works.
When did he hire you?
SEGRETTI shakes his head, stares out at the girls.
Do you feel much about the things
I didn’t do anything wrong.
Tell that to Muskie.
Oh, maybe nickel and dime stuff.
During the Florida primary, you wrote
a letter on Muskie stationery saying
Scoop Jackson had a bastard child.
You wrote another that said Hubert
Humphrey was out with call girls.
Sometimes it got up to a quarter
–off the record.
You wrote the Canuck letter–the one
where you claimed Muskie slurred the
But you know who did.
When you guys print it in the paper,
then I’ll know.
(closes his eyes)
I’m a lawyer, and I’ll probably go
to jail, and be disbarred, and what
did I do that was so awful?
BERNSTEIN says nothing, waits.
None of it was my idea, Carl–I didn’t
go looking for the job.
Chapin did contact you then?
Sure–off the record.
On the orders of Haldeman?
I don’t know anything about Haldeman,
except, Dwight’s frightened of him–
everybody’s frightened of him–Christ,
I wish I’d never gotten messed around
with this–all I wanna do is sit in
the sun; sit, swim, see some girls.
It gets interesting if it was
Haldeman, because our word is that
when Chapin says something, he’s
gotten the OK from Haldeman, and
when Haldeman says something, he’s
gotten the OK from the President.
Can’t help you.
At USC, you had a word the this–
screwing up the opposition you all
did it at college and called it
Ever wonder if Nixon might turn out
to be the biggest ratfucker of them
CLOSE UP–SEGRETTI staring at the girls and the blue water.
What would you have done if you were
just getting out of the Army, if
you’d been away from the real world
for four years, if you weren’t sure
what kind of law you wanted to
practice, and then one day you got a
call from an old friend asking you
to go to work for the President of
the United States…?
HOLD on the question, then–
WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN
back in D.C., walking through the airport.
What would you have done?
You asking would I have been one of
the President’s men?
I would have been.
As they continue on–
alone in the underground garage. Tense, jumpy. He looks at
his watch, paces around. It’s all eerie as hell. Then, from
the ramps, footsteps.
DEEP THROAT moving out of the shadows, smoking, as always.
My turn to keep you waiting.
What’s the topic for tonight?
In my day, it was simply called the
double cross. I believe the CIA refers
to it as Mindfuck. In our context,
it simply means infiltration of the
I know what it means–Segretti
wouldn’t go on the record, but if he
would, we know he’d implicate Chapin.
And that would put us inside the
Yes, the little ratfuckers are now
running our government.
Who?–be specific. How high up?
You’ll have to find that out, won’t
The slush fund at CREEP financed the
ratfucking, we’ve almost got that
nailed down, so–
He stops as suddenly DEEP THROAT dives down behind the nearest
WOODWARD dropping beside him.
Did you change cabs?
(as WOODWARD nods)
It didn’t work, something moved there–
And as he points
THE SHADOWS BY THE RAMP. You can’t see a goddamn thing. But
there is the SOUND, faint but distinct, of breathing.
WOODWARD standing, staring into the darkness. He is scared,
wipes his mouth. He doesn’t move for a moment. Then he walks
directly into the darkness and as he’s gone–
A HORRID FACE IN CLOSE UP, red eyed, unshaven, beaten–there
are half-formed scabs and cuts. He is leaning against a wall,
shivering. He looks, for all the world, like a perpetual
WOODWARD in the shadows, coming closer.
THE DRUNK. He blinks slowly, tongue lolling outside his mouth.
He watches WOODWARD approach.
WOODWARD coming still closer.
THE DRUNK. He blinks very slowly now. Maybe he isn’t even
certain WOODWARD’s there.
WOODWARD stopping in front of the drunk. They look at each
other for a long time. Then:
Who are you?
THE DRUNK. Nothing, no reaction.
WOODWARD studying the other man.
THE DRUNK. And he blinks again, then slowly, shivering, begins
sliding down the wall. WOODWARD reaches for him, holds him
WOODWARD managing to get out his wallet, take out some bills.
He starts up the ramp with the drunk, and as they disappear
up the ramp out of sight, he gives the drunk the money.
Forget your troubles and just be
DEEP THROAT pacing and smoking. He is visibly upset; scared
maybe. He glances over as WOODWARD comes back down the ramp
I hope you noticed how coolly I
behaved under the threat of discovery.
Do Justice and the FBI know what we
know, and why the hell haven’t they
done anything about it?
They know, but they focused on the
burglary–if it didn’t deal with the
break-in, they didn’t pursue it.
Why didn’t they?–who told them not
Someone with authority I’d imagine,
Don’t you know what you’re onto?
Mitchell knew then.
Of course–my God, you think something
this big just happens? The break-in
and the cover up, of course Mitchell
knew, but no more than Ehrlichman.
You get nothing from me about
And from this tone, you know HALDEMAN scares him.
Why did they do all this for
Chrissakes?–what were they after?
Total manipulation. I suppose you
could say they wanted to subvert the
Constitution, but they don’t think
along philosophical lines.
Talk about Segretti–
–don’t concentrate on Segretti or
you’ll miss the overall scheme too.
There were more then.
Follow every lead–every lead goes
–the Canuck letter–was that a White
–don’t you miss the grand scheme
Nationwide–my God, they were
frightened of Muskie and look who
got destroyed–they wanted to run
against McGovern, and look who they’re
running against. They bugged, they
followed people, false press leaks,
fake letters, they canceled Democratic
campaign rallies, they investigated
Democratic private lives, they planted
spies, stole documents, on and on–
don’t tell me you think this was all
the work of little Don Segretti.
And Justice and FBI know all this?
Yes, yes, everything. There were
over fifty people employed by the
White House and CREEP to ratfuck–
some of what they did is beyond
Fifty ratfuckers directed by the
White House to destroy the Democrats?
I was being cautious.
You can safely say more then fifty…
SILENCE in the garage. HOLD… then–
THE FIFTH FLOOR OF THE POST
and it’s noisy. Not as noisy as it’s going to get, but there
is more tension around just now than there has been
AN ATTRACTIVE WOMAN IN HER MID-30s. On her desk is her name,
MARILYN BERGER. She is watching BERNSTEIN who is standing by
the water cooler nearby. As she gets up–
BERNSTEIN drinking water.
Do you guys know about the Canuck
(stops, looks at her)
I just wanted to be sure you knew
who wrote it.
As she speaks–
WOODWARD working at his desk, suddenly looking up as a SCREAM
comes from the direction of the water cooler and as everyone
turns to see, here comes BERNSTEIN dragging BERGER over to
Tell him what you just told me.
Just than Ken Clawsen–he used to be
a reporter here before he went to
work for Nixon–I had him over for a
drink a few weeks ago and he told me
he wrote the Canuck letter.
(she looks from one
of them to the other)
You did want to know, didn’t you?
And now from her–
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN in a corner of the room, talking low
You think we’re being set up?–Christ,
Deep Throat tells you last night
that the letter came from inside the
White House and up traipses Marilyn
It makes a crazy kind of sense–
remember that initiation rite they
have at the White House? Each new
member of the President’s staff has
to prove his guts by getting an enemy
You think this was Clawsen’s
Could have won him a fraternity paddle
with a White House seal.
God knows it worked.
A FROZEN SHOT OF MUSKIE IN THE SNOW in tears, standing on
the flat-bed truck. This was in the New Hampshire primary,
just after the Canuck letter was published.
You claiming it was all a
Absolutely–Marilyn’s gotten it
WOODWARD ON THE PHONE
She’s an awfully good reporter–I
can’t remember her getting too much
wrong before, can you?
That’s a bullshit question, that’s a
question straight out of Wichita,
Sorry, Ken; listen, one last thing:
where did your talk with Berger
What do you mean, where?
Well, was it in a bar, her apartment,
–I’ve completely forgotten where it
was, except I know it wasn’t her
There is a sound of him hanging up the phone. Hard. WOODWARD
hangs up quietly, rubs his eyes, calls out to BERGER who is
at her desk–
Non denial-denial, Marilyn–
BERGER is about to answer when her phone rings. She picks it
up, turns to WOODWARD, mouths “it’s him” and we
BERGER ON THE PHONE. Again Clawsen on the other end.
For Chissakes, don’t tell them I
came to your place.
I already told them.
Oh, that’s terrific, that’s just so
terrific, I’m thrilled you did that.
I have a clear conscience.
Marilyn, I have a wife and a family
and a cat and a dog.
Now from this–
BRADLEE IN HIS OFFICE GESTURING
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN heading toward the office. As they
I got Clawsen on hold–
–his dialing finger must be falling
–what do you think?–
–he went to her apartment and he
–if he did it or just said he did
it, God knows.
I could care less about where it
happened; what happened is what
(calling out to his
Put him on.
(picks up the phone)
Ken, I’m sorry, it was Goddamn Beirut
and they were having a crisis, what’s
Slow down, Ken, you sound frazzled.
A wife and a family and a cat and a
dog, right, Ken.
Ken, I would never print that you
were in Marilyn’s apartment at night–
unless, of course, you force me to.
CLOSE UP–BRADLEE. He is genuinely enjoying himself. Now, he
puts his hand over the receiver–
It’s like they taught us at Harvard:
few things are as gratifying to the
soul as having another man’s nuts in
Now, as he goes back to talking–
A BIG HEADLINE IN THE POST READING: NIXON AIDES SABOTAGED
Now we HOLD on that headline as the three deniers are visible
through it in the same places they spoke before.
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
The story is based entirely on hearsay
CREEP P.R. MAN
–we at the Committee are continually
amazed at the creativity shown by
the Washington Post–
–although I am a Republican, I would
like to state in a pure bipartisan
spirit that I am happy that this
latest onslaught against the
intelligence of the American people
will be wrapping fish tomorrow. I
offer my condolences to the fish…
And now, the headline fades as we
SIMONS IN ROSENFELD’S OFFICE
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN hurry in.
We’ve just been talking to Young–
Larry Young, a California lawyer–
–he was going to go into law practice
–and he says Chapin hired Segretti–
–well and good, but when will he
say it on the record.
He just did.
He’ll give us a sworn statement.
We’re inside the White House now.
ROSENFELD and SIMONS just look at each other. They should be
happy, and maybe they are. But at the moment more then
anything else they look scared… HOLD. Then–
THE MONTPELIER ROOM OF THE MADISON HOTEL.
It’s a very fancy restaurant and BRADLEE is at a corner table
as WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN sit down. They are exhausted.
Look, I wanted to talk because things
are getting really hairy and there’s
a couple of things we’ve got to be
careful of because–
A waiter is nearby.
–either of you want a drink or should
And suddenly he lapses into perfect French with the waiter,
ordering lunch ann salad and as the waiter nods and goes
–because our cocks are on the
chopping block and you’ve got to be
sure that you’re not just dealing
with people who hate Richard Nixon
and want to get him through us. You
see, I don’t give a shit who’s
President–I really don’t, it’s an
adversary situation between them and
us and it’s always gonna be. I never
had a closer friend than Jack Kennedy
and once I printed something that
pissed him off and for seven months
I didn’t exist.
A wine steward appears, hands BRADLEE the list. As he examines
it, a man walks up to the table, stands there…
You none of you know who I am, do
You screw me up good, you don’t even
know what I look like.
OK, you’ve had your preamble; who
the hell are you?
Glenn Sedam–you wrote about me last
week, you said I was one of the guys
at the Committee who was sent reports.
You were wrong.
Baldwin told the FBI it was you.
Baldwin told the FBI it was someone
whose first name sounded like a last
name. They showed him a list and he
picked me but it wasn’t me, it was
(looks at the reporters)
My phone hasn’t stopped ringing, my
wife’s hysterical, my kids think I’m
mixed up with the burglary, my friends
don’t like me around all of a sudden.
You fucked around my life, you two.
I just wanted to say thanks.
BRADLEE watching WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN, who are clearly
That didn’t sound to me like a non-
denial denial; could you have been
You had a good source?
Did he have an ax?
(pause. Then another
All right, you made a mistake maybe,
we all have, just don’t make another.
And watch your personal lives, who
you hang around with. Someone once
said the price of democracy is a
bloodletting every ten years.
Make sure it isn’t our blood…
Now from BRADLEE–
holding a broom and dustpan at his front door.
I really can’t talk now–
–this’ll only take one second–
–my wife just had the baby, my in-
laws are arriving, I’m trying to get
the house in some kind of shape.
A boy or a girl?
A girl. Melissa.
INSIDE THE HOUSE. WOODWARD AND BERNSTEIN are helping SLOAN
with the housework. WOODWARD has a dust mop, BERNSTEIN a
dust cloth. We are mostly in the living room throughout, and
also throughout, the three guys beaver away tidying.
(holding up a cup)
Where does this go?
SLOAN points to a shelf. WOODWARD moves to put the cup in
its proper place.
–That cash fund that financed the
sabotaging of the Democrats–five
guys had control–
(ticking them off)
–Mitchell, Stans, Magruder, Kalmbach–
–we’re working on the last guy now
and we’re going all the way–that
fifth man was Haldeman.
–I’m not your source on that–
–it’s gotta be Haldeman–someone
from the White House had to be
–and it wasn’t Ehrlichman or Colson
or the President.
No, none of those.
–that leaves Haldeman, period.
I’m not your source on that.
He picks up a dust pan, starts sweeping it full.
(taking the dust pan,
–look, when the Watergate grand
jury questioned you, did you name
Of course–everything they asked–
–if we wrote a story that said
Haldeman controlled the fund?–
–let me put it this way: I’d have
no problem if you did.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN look at each other while SLOAN empties
the dust pan into the trash and from there, quickly–
A LONG LONG LONG SHOT OF A COUPLE
walking in the park.
We can’t really make them out clearly, we never do in this
little sequence. But the guy is wearing a windbreaker and
has a crew cut and the woman with him is dressed casually
too. He has his arm around her, and they are deep in
WOODWARD’S VOICE (V.O.)
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN sitting on a park bench swilling down
I think that’s him.
THE COUPLE walking along. We just can’t quite make them out.
But it might be.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN staring after the couple, trying to
What if I went up and introduced
myself–think he’d slug me?
Well, we are trying to ruin his life.
It’s nothing personal, though.
What’s the matter?
Same as Magruder, I don’t like it
when they turn out to be human.
I wish we were investigating Attila
Maybe we are…
THE SLOW-WALKING COUPLE. They continue on. We still don’t
see them quite clearly. HOLD… then–
A PUDGY LITTLE MAN HALF-HIDDEN BEHIND A MAGAZINE.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
A DRUGSTORE-TYPE PLACE. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN are at the
–Goddamnit, I’m not gonna say it
again–you get nothing about Haldeman
–we don’t need it now, because
tomorrow’s story is about the FBI–
–about how all you supposed experts
really blew the whole investigation–
–we didn’t miss so much–
–you never knew Haldeman had control
of the slush fund–
–it’s all in our files–
–not about Haldeman–
–yeah, Haldeman, John Haldeman.
And he gets up quickly, goes. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN savor
the moment but only briefly as it hits them–
–he said John Haldeman, not Bob
And as they take off after the agent–
WOODWARD, BERNSTEIN, BRADLEE, SIMONS, ROSENFELD. Wild tension.
The editors have a long story and they all read and pace,
read and pace; the reporters look traumatized with fatigue.
All this goes fast.
(staring at the typed
–I don’t know, I don’t know, it
–Christ, I wish I knew if we should
–listen, we didn’t make them do
these things–once they did, it’s
our job to report it–
(to the reporters)
–go over your sources again–
–Sloan told the Grand Jury–he
answered everything they asked him–
that means there’s a record somewhere–
–and the FBI confirms–what more do
(whirling to BERNSTEIN)
–listen, I love this country, you
think I want to bring it down?–I’m
not some goddamn zany, I was a hawk–
–Harry, weren’t you just arguing
the opposite way?–
–maybe I’m tense–
–well shit, we oughtta be tense–
we’re about to accuse Mr. Haldeman
who only happens to be the second
most important man in America of
conducting a criminal conspiracy
from inside the White House–
–it would be nice if we were right–
(to the reporters)
–you double-checked both sources?–
–Bernstein, are you sure on this
–what about you?–
–I’m not sure, it still feels thin–
(looks at SIMONS)
(to WOODWARD and
BERNSTEIN, after a
–get another source.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN huddling outside BRADLEE’s office.
How many fucking sources they think
–Deep Throat won’t confirm–I never
thought he was scared of anyone, but
he’s scared of Haldeman.
I know a guy in the Justice Department
who was around the Grand Jury.
(looks at WOODWARD)
–We got twenty minutes to deadline–
And as he speaks
BERNSTEIN talking softly from a relatively private phone in
the newsroom. The voice of the lawyer is also whispered and
scared to death.
LAWYER’S VOICE (O.S.)
…You shouldn’t ever call me like
Will you confirm that Haldeman was
mentioned by Sloan to the Grand Jury?
LAWYER’S VOICE (O.S.)
…I won’t say anything about
Haldeman… not ever…
All right–listen–it’s against the
law if you talk about the Grand Jury,
right? But you don’t have to say a
thing–I’ll count to ten–if the
story’s wrong, hang up before I get
there–if it’s OK stay on the line
till after, got it?
Hang up, right?
Right, right–OK, counting: one, two–
(he inhales deeply)
–three, four, five, six–
(now he’s starting to
–nine, ten, thank you.
You’ve got it straight now? Everything
(on a note of triumph)
And on that shout
A HEADLINE IN THE POST–A PHOTO VISIBLE OF HALDEMAN:
“TESTIMONY TIES TOP NIXON AIDE TO SECRET FUND”
THE WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
On the record let me say just this:
the story is totally untrue. On
background, I’d like to add that Bob
Haldeman is one of the greatest public
servants this country has ever had
and the story is a goddamned lie.
NOW FAST ZOOM TO:
roaring out of his office doorway.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN tearing into BRADLEE’s office–he
stands scowling at the TV set in a corner of the room–
outside, it is raining like hell.
THE TV SET. SLOAN is walking along toward a large office
building, he is flanked by a lawyer. A TV Reporter (it was
DANIEL SCHORR) is walking alongside, mike in hand.
Mr. Sloan, would you care to comment
on your testimony before the Grand
My lawyer says–
–the answer is an unequivocal no.
Mr. Sloan did not implicate Mr.
Haldeman in that testimony at all.
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN. They look sick. Desperate, tired,
stunned, confused; there is nothing to say.
BRADLEE glaring at them. HOLD ON BRADLEE… then
THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
in the rain, and
A CORRIDOR IN THE BUILDING AS THE PUDGY FBI MAN retreats
down the hall. WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN, soaked, chase after
–I’ll deny everything–everything–
I never talked to you about Haldeman–
I never talked to you about anything–
I’m not talking to you now–
–what went wrong?–
–for Chrissakes just tell that–
PUDGY FBI MAN
–fuck you fuck you fuck you–
And he tears into an office, slams the door and as we hear
THIS IS WHERE THE SOURCE BURNING SCENE WOULD COME BUT I AM
NOT WRITING IT FOR THIS VERSION.
My reasons are as follows: (1) it is a complicated long scene
to put down; (2) we are terribly late in our story; (3) it
would mean, here, two hours into the movie, we are bringing
in an entirely new character; the FBI agent’s head to whom
they go, and I think that is unnecessary and confusing; and
(4) most important, I think the characters have been abused
enough in this version–we have added the Sedam scene and
they are berated more in this version by the CREEP people
before things turn. (5) Finally, all this can show in reality
is that they are desperate, and I would rather let the actors
give that to us. I feel that it would be a genuine error at
this time in the flick to go into the convolutions of how
it’s bad manners for a reporter to burn a source, if we’ve
got anything going by this point, I can’t conceive of much
an audience will be less interested in than the reporters
However, if the scene is requested next time through, I shall
be only too happy to oblige.
What I would like to do is cut from the FBI saying “fuck you
fuck you fuck you” and locking his door to the following:
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN walking in the rain. It’s pouring as
they leave FBI Headquarters and they are in anguish.
(after a while)
What was the mistake? Do you think
it’s been rigged, all along the way,
leading us on so they could slip it
to us when it mattered? They couldn’t
have set us up better; after all
these months our credibility’s gone,
you know what that means?
They are soaked, Nearby is a garbage can, they grab papers,
hold them over their heads, start to walk. Now–
CAMERA MOVES UP HIGHER TO REVEAL
The papers they grabbed were the Post front page. (This
happened.) And as they walked, the Haldeman story was on
their heads. HOLD on the reporters walking miserably through
the rain. Now–
A tremendous pall has settled on the city room. People walk
by, glancing at WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN, who sit almost
immobilized at their desks, wet, whipped; no energy left.
BRADLEE’S OFFICE. SIMONS sits across from BRADLEE as ROSENFELD
enters quietly with a bundle of teletype paper.
(indicating the papers)
One Senator just gave a speech
slurring us 57 times in 20 minutes.
BRADLEE has started typing something brief. When ROSENFELD’s
done, so is he. He hands it to SIMONS.
My non-denial denial.
We’re not printing a retraction?
CLOSE UP–BRADLEE. He is thoughtful for a while. Then,
spinning around, staring out towards the newsroom:
Fuck it, let’s stand by the boys.
And he stands, spins out of the room as we
THE FLOWER POT ON WOODWARD’S TERRACE.
The rain has stopped. The apartment is dark. It’s late at
night. Inside, the phone RINGS and
WOODWARD’S APARTMENT in the dark as he manages to knock the
phone off its cradle.
BERNSTEIN’S VOICE (O.S.)
What’d you find?
Jesus Christ, what time is it?
He fumbles for the lamp, as it falls with a CRASH–
WOODWARD–MOVING. Hair wild, clothes half-buttoned, he runs
through the dark Washington streets as we
TWO WELL-DRESSED MEN in the shadows across the street, going
in the same direction and
WOODWARD spotting them, picking up the pace and
THE TWO MEN moving faster too and now
A BUNCH OF CABS. WOODWARD jumps into the first and as it
THE TWO MEN getting into a cab also, roaring off in the same
WOODWARD’S CAB taking a corner fast and as it goes on, HOLD
until the second cab takes the same corner, faster, and now
WOODWARD jumping out of his cab, fumbling into his pockets
for change as we
THE TWO MEN getting out of their cab, paying, and as their
cab drives off
WOODWARD diving back into his cab and in a moment it is
roaring again through the night and we
THE TWO WELL-DRESSED MEN standing on the sidewalk, watching
as WOODWARD disappears into the night and then suddenly,
DEEP THROAT IN CLOSE UP AND MAD.
–you were doing so well and then
you got stupid, you went too fast–
Christ, what a royal screw up–
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
DEEP THROAT and WOODWARD in the underground garage.
–I know, I know, the pressure’s off
the White House and it’s all back on
–you’ve done worse than let Haldeman
slip away, you’ve got people feeling
sorry for him–I didn’t think that
was possible. A conspiracy like this–
the rope has to tighten slowly around
everyone’s neck. You build from the
outer edges and you go step by step.
If you shoot too high and miss, then
everybody feels more secure. You’ve
put the investigation back months.
We know that–and if we were wrong,
we’re resigning–were we wrong?
You’ll have to find that out, won’t
–I’m tired of your chickenshit games–
I don’t want hints, I want what you
DEEP THROAT. He blinks for a moment. Then he begins to
It was a Haldeman operation–the
whole business–he ran the money,
but he was insulated, you’ll have to
find out how–
WOODWARD takes a breath, nods.
(almost a smile)
And from his weathered face
walking up to his apartment house later that night. He sees,
and then we see, BERNSTEIN, asleep at the front door. He
comes awake as WOODWARD approaches.
We gotta go see Bradlee–I’ll fill
you in in the car.
BRADLEE IN HIS DOORWAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
It’s a house with a lawn and from somewhere there is the
SOUND of dogs barking.
You couldn’t have told me over the
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN moving up the walk to BRADLEE.
We can’t trust the phones, not
anymore. Deep Throat says so.
As WOODWARD beckons for him to move out into the lawn–
We can’t talk inside either?
THE THREE OF THEM MOVING OUT ONTO THE LAWN. It’s October
now. You can see their breaths as they speak.
I finally got through to Sloan–it
was all a misunderstanding that we
had: he would have told the Grand
Jury about Haldeman, he was ready
to, only nobody on the Grand Jury
asked him the goddamn question.
So I guess you could say that we
screwed up, but we weren’t wrong.
Anything else from Mr. Throat?
Mitchell started the cover-up early,
everyone is involved in the cover-
up, all the way to the top. The whole
U.S. intelligence community is mixed
in with the covert activities. The
extent of it is incredible.
And people’s lives are in danger,
maybe including ours.
BRADLEE. He nods again, starts walking the two reporters
back toward WOODWARD’s car.
He’s wrong on that last, we’re not
in the least danger, because nobody
gives a shit–what was that Gallup
Poll result? Half the country’s never
even heard the word Watergate.
THE RED KARMANN GHIA as the three approach.
Look, you’re both probably a little
You should be, you’ve been under a
lot of pressure. So go home, have a
nice hot bath, rest up fifteen minutes
if you want before you get your asses
back in gear–
–because we’re under a lot of
pressure, too, and you put us there–
not that I want it to worry you–
nothing’s riding on you except the
First Amendment of the Constitution
plus the freedom of the press plus
the reputation of a hundred-year-old
paper plus the jobs of the two
thousand people who work there–
–but none of that counts as much as
this: you fuck up again, I’m gonna
lose my temper.
I promise you, you don’t want me to
lose my temper.
(shooing them off)
Move-move-move–what have you done
for me tomorrow…?
And as they get back into the car–
THE NEWSROOM–EARLY MORNING
and it’s empty pretty much, except at their desks sit WOODWARD
and BERNSTEIN, typing away. They type on and on and as they
do, voices are HEARD, the same voices we’ve become familiar
with, the WESTERN SENATOR, the CREEP P.R. MAN and the WHITE
WESTERN SENATOR (O.S.)
Although I’m a Republican, I would
like to state in a pure bipartisan
spirit tht the greatest political
scandal of this campaign is the brazen
manner in which, without benefit of
clergy, the Washington Post has set
up housekeeping with the McGovern
CREEP P.R. MAN
For twenty years, the Eastern liberal
press has been trying to smear Dick
Nixon. Fortunately, the American
public is too smart to be fooled
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
I have been informed reliably by
John Dean that no one connected with
the White House…
(coming in, overlapping)
It is only our pathetic Post that
deliberately tries to infuse the
Watergate caper with a seriousness
far beyond those shenanigans that
have been the stock trade of political
pranksters ever since…
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN work on. And now, as the voices
continue condemning, we see them–all the President’s men–
as their faces flash on the screen for an instant–only these
aren’t fashion portraits we’re looking at, these are the mug
shots of the men taken when they went to jail and they flash
on, the mug shots and the name and across each the word
CONVICTED. There’s VIRGILIO GONZALES–CONVICTED, and EUGENIO
MARTINEZ, CONVICTED, and FRANK STURGIS, CONVICTED, and BERNARD
BARKER, CONVICTED, and JAMES McCORD, CONVICTED, and HOWARD
HUNT, CONVICTED, and GORDON LIDDY, CONVICTED, and DONALD
SEGRETTI, CONVICTED, and DWIGHT CHAPIN, CONVICTED, and now
the denunciations are louder, shriller, briefer.
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
An insult to the American public–
CREEP P.R. MAN
–the deplorable tactics employed by
the Washington Post–
–I have been given access to evidence
in possession of the White House and
WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN type on. Their machines are the only
SOUND in the enormous room. And now more mug shots appear–
JEB MAGRUDER, CONVICTED, EGIL KROGH, CONVICTED, JOHN DEAN,
CONVICTED, JOHN EHRLICHMAN, CONVICTED, CHARLES COLSON,
CONVICTED, HERBERT KALMBACH, CONVICTED, and LARUE and PORTER
and MITCHELL and HALDEMAN–all, all the President’s men–
THE CAMERA STARTS TO MOVE toward the pillar, the one that
separates the two reporters, and the denunciations are still
going on, but not so loud now, not so fierce.
Well, if I was wrong, I sure the
hell wasn’t alone–
–the fact remains that except for
Watergate, we ran one hell of a great
The CAMERA is almost at the pillar now.
BERNSTEIN bums a cigarette from a cleaning lady. WOODWARD
kicks his typewriter. Then they both go back to work.
Now we’re at the pillar. That’s all we see. Just that. And
all we HEAR is the two reporters working away, on and on
FINAL FADE OUT: