|All the President's Men
by William Goldman
Based on the novel
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