George Clooney pays homage to one of the icons of American broadcast journalism, Edward R. Murrow, in this fact-based drama, which was Clooney's second feature film as a director. In 1953, Edward R. Murrow (played by David Strathairn) was one of the best-known newsmen on television as host of both the talk show Person to Person and the pioneering investigate series See It Now. Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, was generating no small amount of controversy in the public and private sectors with his allegations that Communists had risen to positions of power and influence in America, and an Air Force pilot, Milo Radulovich, had been drummed out of the service due to McCarthy's charges that he was a Communist agent. However, Radulovich had been dismissed without a formal hearing of the charges, and he protested that he was innocent of any wrongdoing. Murrow decided to do a story on Radulovich's case questioning the legitimacy of his dismissal, which was seen by McCarthy and his supporters as an open challenge to his campaign. McCarthy responded by accusing Murrow of being a Communist, leading to a legendary installment of See It Now in which both Murrow and McCarthy presented their sides of the story, which was seen by many as the first step toward McCarthy's downfall. Meanwhile, Murrow had to deal with CBS head William Paley (Frank Langella), who was supportive of Murrow but extremely wary of his controversial positions, while Murrow was also trying to support fellow newsman Don Hollenbeck (Ray Wise), battling charges against his own political views, and working alongside Fred Friendly (George Clooney), the daring head of CBS News. Good Night, and Good Luck also stars Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, and Robert John Burke; the film won Best Film honors after its world premiere at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis