TCM Fest: Carl Bernstein, 'Spotlight' Creators Introduce Opening Night Film, 'All the President's Men'

Carl Bernstein attends All The President's Premiere -Getty-H 2016
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner

The seventh edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival, also known as heaven on earth for lovers of classic movies, kicked off on Thursday night with a 40th anniversary screening of All the President's Men at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

It was the first time that this one-of-a-kind, four-day trip-back-in-time festival has ever opened with a non-musical. And the 1976 movie also happened to be the "youngest" old movie to open the event as well.

While the principal talent associated with All the President's Men wasn't able to walk the red carpet — director Alan J. Pakula died in 1998, and writer William Goldman and stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman apparently had other commitments — there was on hand another voice of authority on the film and its subject matter: Carl Bernstein, one half of the Washington Post team that broke the Watergate story at the center of the movie, and who is portrayed in the pic by Hoffman. (Bob Woodward is, of course, the other.)

Bernstein participated in a pre-screening Q&A with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz at the packed theater. And they were then joined by the creators of Spotlight, the most acclaimed film about journalism since All the President's Men — co-writer Josh Singer and co-writer/director Tom McCarthy. (The film won the best picture and best original screenplay Oscars in February.)

Bernstein called All the President's Men and Spotlight "perfect bookends" but noted, to hearty applause, that he feels there is a third movie in the top-tier of journalism movies: 1940's His Girl Friday. "That's called pandering," Mankiewicz cracked.

Other highlights of the fest's schedule: screenings with and appearances by Gina Lollobrigida, Anna Karina, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Stacy Keach, John Singleton, Eva Marie Saint and Faye Dunaway. And, I must note, there will be another very special 40th anniversary screening at the Chinese, on Saturday night, when the Oscar-nominated actress Talia Shire and I will do a Q&A before unspooling the film that beat All the President's Men at the Oscars — Rocky!