All the President's Men (1976) in the Netflix queue, but at the same time I can't figure out why it took me so long to get around to seeing it. I have a mild fascination with this period of American history, and films about it, on top of which one of my favorite cinematic tropes is the jaded, corroded Washington informant as embodied by Donald Sutherland in JFK and William B. Davis in The X-Files, and of course the granddaddy of them all is Hal Holbrook's Deep Throat.
IOW, it's an important film politically, but also a satisfying film artistically.
But I think my favorite scene, at the moment, isn't one of Holbrook's, but Dustin Hoffman's conversation with Robert Walden, playing Donald Segretti, a low-level operative in Nixon's dirty tricks team. From the Mouth-of-Sauron smile he flashes when he opens the door to the way he sits cross-legged in his lawn chair, Walden gives us a guy who's still half a college kid at heart, a naughty frat boy only partly grown up, just wise enough to know that what he's done is no prank, is serious shit, but just foolish enough to try to convince himself that it was all just fun and games, and just young enough that he probably half believes it. Panic and cockiness, regret and disbelief and perverted pride in his own badness, all painfully evident.
Who knows if this accurately represents the real-life Segretti, but as a character in a narrative, as a work of art, it rings true: I've known people like this. Young Republicans so sure of their own smartness and their savvy about the System, and so confident that they're serving the side that secretly controls everything, that they feel they can get away with anything, but still young enough to worry that maybe they can't, or that they might actually care that you think they're serpents. They're usually right about the first, and they usually get over the second. But not always.