Movies That Everyone Should See: “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”

There was a time, a time before cable. When the local anchorman reigned supreme. When people believed everything they heard on TV. This was an age when only men were allowed to read the news. And in San Diego, one anchorman was more man then the rest.

His name was Ron Burgundy.

He was like a god walking amongst mere mortals. He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo.

In other words, Ron Burgundy was the balls.

Will_Ferrell_Ron_Burgundy

In 2004, the most important movie in the history of cinema was released into theatres. It was a movie based on actual events. Only the names, events and locations were changed. I’m referring, of course, to “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”.

It’s a film of such monumental impact that I’m at a loss for words to describe it fully. Not that that’s going to slow me down any, you watch.

“Anchorman” is the tale of a pivotal chapter in the battle of the sexes, a shining moment in broadcast journalism, and a brief glimpse into the majestic life of one of the most renown news legends in the history of television.

Ron Burgundy.

Will_Ferrell_Ron_Burgundy_Jazz_Flute

Ron Burgundy: Jazz Flutist Extraordinaire

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) was a News Anchor for KVWN TV in San Diego from 1964 to 1977. He was the recipient of five – FIVE – (local) Emmys. The nightly news was his domain… and he prowled that territory like a lion. Fierce, and proud. Roaring his dominance, stalking his prey, and with hair just as strong and bold. But he was also as smooth as the scotch he loved… The very embodiment of his famous sign off line…

“You stay classy, San Diego”.

The_Channel_4_News_Team_Anchorman

He was the leader of the Channel 4 News Team. Along with field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner) at the sports desk, Channel 4 ruled the airwaves. They were number one in every key demographic. And it was no wonder. Their team chemistry was unmatched… unparalleled.

Don’t believe me? Have a look at this…

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Anchorman__Sex_Panther_Cologne_by_JasonOrtizThat’s not the type of chemistry that comes together overnight. This was a tight-knit group, each bringing a different skill set to the table. No wonder they were the best. Their camaraderie was infectious. They even managed to make product placement look good!

And if you think they were afraid to throw down when it was called for… well, think again.


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But there was a challenge on the horizon for this band of brothers. A challenge that would test the group’s mettle… and change the state of broadcast news forever.

Christina_Applegate_Veronica_CorningstoneA challenge in the form of woman. An astonishing, gorgeous, capable woman.

Veronica Corningstone was a news reporter with a dream of becoming the first ever network news Anchorwoman. A lofty aspiration, especially seeing as at the time… there had never BEEN a female anchor. But she was ambitious, intelligent, and attractive. When she showed up at KVWN, she caused quite a stir.

Will_Ferrell_Christina_Applegate_Anchorman_Ron_Burgundy_Veronica_Corningstone_Erection

Anchorman_Pleasure_Town_UnicornsCorningstone and Burgundy, of course, fell in love. When two talented, irresistable human beings are forced to work in such close proximity… it’s practically inevitable.

Their love was a passionate one, and Ron proudly proclaimed it.

And yet, a simple act of fate… a casually discarded burrito… would change everything.

When Ron was involved in a vehicular incident and unable to arrive in time to deliver the news, Veronica stepped in. She took a major step to fulfilling her dream… she had become the first female anchor, albeit on local news. Ron was shocked to learn of this upon his arrival at the station, however. He was a bastion of the old guard, the old ways. Broadcasting the news was a man’s domain. Atop of which, when Veronica’s appearance resulted in a ratings bump, she was promoted to co-anchor status. Ron now had to share his nightly news desk.

It was too much for their relationship to bear.

Ron_Burgundy_Fiery_EyesThings not only fell apart… they turned ugly. A war of words ensued, the likes of which had never been heard before. It culminated in an unspeakable act of betrayal that would rip the Channel 4 News team asunder.

Ron_Burgundy_Milk_Was_a_Bad_Idea

What follows is a harrowing tale of loss, grief, and ultimately… redemption. The film is a testament to the power of perseverance in the face of unspeakable loss. It’s an incredibly rich character study, yet it has unforgettable action sequences, a touching romance, and of course, gut bursting comedy. All while illustrating a triumph over sexism, the power of believing in yourself, and the dangers of the teleprompter.

The cast of the film – an extraordinary lineup of comedy heavyweights – cite this film as the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience of their lives. While they wished to adhere to the core of the story, they realized that without spontaneity and quick wit, the characters just wouldn’t come alive believably. So, much of the dialogue was improvised… sometimes up to 20 takes a scene. In fact, they had such a wellspring of excellent unused material that an entirely different second film was cut: “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie”.

When the Academy Awards for 2004 were announced, producer Judd Apatow called the Academy and removed the film from consideration. His “It’s not fair to the other films” philosophy was understood – and appreciated – by everyone involved. Director Adam McKay is famously quoted as saying “This is why they have age brackets in Little League Baseball”.

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That didn’t stop the American Film Institute, however. As illustrated by the clip above, when they released their “100 Years… 100 Movies Tenth Anniversary” listing in 2008, Anchorman was proclaimed the greatest American film of all time, handily unseating the previous champion, “Citizen Kane”. It was the only logical choice… in fact, some people openly questioned why a special, interim list wasn’t released in 2004.

Film historians doubt it will ever be dethroned.

The movie has gone on to be quoted like scripture around the world. In fact, a 2010 study revealed that “Anchorman” was, in fact, the most quoted movie of all time. That’s science, right there people. But even if it wasn’t, the film’s powerful testimony to the human spirit, and outrageous comedic sensibilities would easily make it… simply? The most recommendable film in the history of movies.

It’s definitely a “Movie That Everyone Should See“.

Ron_Burgundy_Tickets_to_the_Gunshow

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81 thoughts on “Movies That Everyone Should See: “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”

  1. this is the greatest and best thing you have ever, and will ever write. And you’ll never convice me that you didn’t have that image above prepared to deploy at the first person who commented that they’d never seen Anchorman.

  2. Despite that I’m a fan of Will Ferrell, I was one of the few people who didn’t get Anchorman. It just didn’t work for me, though I’m willing to watch it again to see if it gets better after an initial viewing. Nice review.

  3. I’ve watched this ages ago and didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was funny and really didn’t understand the praise it was getting. I guess I should give it a rewatch although I doubt that will change my mind.

  4. I remember this movie announcing Apatow’s presence in comic cinema with authority. A unique brand of humor; and if it’s your brand-hilarious. Ferrell being phenomenal. Nice post. ;-)

    Ron Burgundy: Veronica and I are trying this new fad called uh, jogging. I believe it’s jogging or yogging. it might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.

    • Farrell was phenomenal. Absolutely top notch. The stuff these guys came up with was completely ridiculous. I laugh just thinking about some of it. Seriously.

      This exchange especially, LOL

      Ron Burgundy: Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.
      Veronica Corningstone: No, there’s no way that’s correct.
      Ron Burgundy: I’m sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don’t know what it means. I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
      Veronica Corningstone: Doesn’t it mean Saint Diego?
      Ron Burgundy: No. No.
      Veronica Corningstone: No, that’s – that’s what it means. Really.
      Ron Burgundy: Agree to disagree.

  5. What about Wake Up, Ron Burgundy? You’ve seen that, right? There are some disputes in this household as to which movie is better.

    If you haven’t seen it, you should. While it was compiled entirely from outtakes and deleted scenes from Anchorman, it’s pretty much a completely different movie. They’re like identical twins — you give ‘em a glance, and you think, “Eh, same thing,” but if you actually take the time to watch them, you start to notice how one has an accent, or freckles, or acts like a complete douche, and then you realize they’re not the same at all.

    • I’ve seen “Wake Up”, yeah… though its been awhile, My take on that one was that it was a lot funnier than you’d expect from a movie based on out-takes essentially… but they also definitely made the right choice on the final product. I did dig it… its probably the greatest film supplement in history. LOL Here’s a whole ‘nother movie if you liked this one! :D

      If there IS a household dispute as to which is better, I’m squarely on the “Anchorman” side of things.

  6. Oh Ronny, you’re absurd, extreme, jealous, possessive, always wrong about the weather, horny as a toad, sexist, racist, hairy on top and bottom (probably), lacking in muscle tone, entirely irrational, and always ready to leap into battles ranging from nuclear submarines to baseball bats made of purple snotty tissues….

    But you are the most endearing reporter in the world, and I do and always will love you.

  7. I tried to watch it, really tried, but I couldn’t. Love The Office and Carrel but Ferrel is just so unfunny and pathethic I switched the movie off after 40 mniutes.

  8. I didn’t know there were people in this world who didn’t like Anchorman (except my grandparents). This is horrifying news.

    This is one of my favorite movies of all-time and would take my vote for “Most Quotable Film of the Decade.” For a long time (like even up to last week) it seemed like I couldn’t talk to another dude without, at some point, engaging in an Anchorman quote off and I’m usually the person that gets seriously annoyed by that. It’s a modern comedic classic. If anyone would like to disagree with me on that I’ll just be over here eating a whole wheel of cheese.

    • You’re so wise…

      You’re like a 7’10” Buddha, covered in hair….
      :D

      Yeah, horrifying news is right. I literally can’t believe the backlash here. I wanna puch some people in the babymaker :) It’s their loss, really… this is one of the most brilliant comedies of all time. You wont get any disagreement at all from me on it being the most quotable (I’ve said “Ribs. I had Ribs for lunch” in situations where… it wasn’t even lunchtime LOL) or a modern classic. Amen to both.

      You stay classy, Brian.

  9. I’m aware of your criteria in choosing film for this feature fogs but I’m another that just didn’t like this film at all. You say yet improvising all the way through it? I thought it showed. I’m stunned that so many people love this as much as they do. Sorry man, I’m not a fan. :-(

    • I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother MRS Walker out to a … nice seafood dinner…. and then NEVER call her again!

      LOL. It saddens me that you may not recognize that line. This is one of those cases where it just makes you sad hearing that someone else doesn’t like it. Literally one of the funniest movies ever made. If I did a top ten comedies of all time list, this would have a serious shot at the top five. I wouldnt have it at MY number one, but if I came across someone’s list that did I’d have no complaints or quips…

      I’m the one thats sorry man, I wish you liked this movie more. Its funny as hell.

      • Haha. I do love the responses you given to this though man. I think they work better in this context than they do in the film. I’ve tried to watch it twice and twice I didn’t buy it. Admittedly, I’m not sold on Ferrell but on occasion he can be good. I watched Everything Must Go the other day and I thought he was excellent in it. Not a great film but decent and Ferrell was the highlight. That takes a lot for me to admit to. :-)

    • Yeahhhhh… now THAT IS a source of concern for me too. It just seems as if a little too much time has passed, you know? I’m more on the worried side than the excited side.

      Hey, if its good, can you imagine more Anchorman greatness? How awesome would that be?

      But Im worried too that they wont be able to catch lightning in a bottle twice, you know? :(

  10. Never seen it and I don’t think I have much need/want/inclination to see it! I’m not a Ferrel fan. Or Carrell. Or many of the people involved in this film. I know, I know. I suck. I get the weirdest looks whenever I admit this fact.

    • DONT ACT LIKE YOU’RE NOT IMPRESSED!!

      LOL :D

      Yeah, hysterical flick. I think I started completely losing it during the jazz flute solo, and everything after that threatened my life, I was laughing so hard. :D

  11. Hah, this is your ballsiest choice yet. I think it’s a funny movie, but it drove me nuts when people would quote it ad nauseum when it was at its most popular. Probably Ferrell’s best comedy, though.

    • “Hah, this is your ballsiest choice yet.”

      I’m a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s what kind of man I am.

      Oh, wait. That’s an Anchorman quote. Dont want to drive you nuts…
      :D

      • You toed the middle of the road. LOL. This is what happens.

        When you see your way clear to the awesomest movie comedy in the history of the universe, and the most important, enlightening film of our generation… you let us know. We’ll find something for you. ;)

  12. The Human Torch was denied a bank loan!

    You have to be in the right frame of mind to watch most any Will Farrel movie…no expectations and a silly mood for the most part…but I FRIGGIN LOVE ANCHORMAN!!! Not surprised its the most quoted movie; I quote it all the time. The things they say are just super funny and the more I watch it the more I pick up on that I think is just brilliant in the creative humor department. Not sure I’d rate it the all time #1 movie everyone must see; but it deserves its place on the list for sure!

    • The arsonist has oddly shaped feet….

      That’s part of the brilliance of this movie, seriously, almost ANY line can be quoted, and its funny. Even the throw away stuff like him warming up for the show is hysterical.

      Of course, it IS the #1 movie of all time… AFI said so. (LOL, I cant believe how funny that clip is. :D I thought it fit right in here!)

      Thanks for joining up with the Channel 4 News Team here Pam, you stay classy. ;)

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