Top 10 Movies About Journalism

The movies listed are personal picks. The movie journalists are either newspapermen, photographers, investigative reporters or tv anchors. The list is supposed to celebrate journalists, so I don’t put films where journalists are shown in dominantly negative lights (no ‘Network’, ‘Ace In The Hole’, ‘L.A. Confidential’ and ‘Nightcrawler’, brilliant films they might be).

And I don’t put films where journalists are supporting characters (no ‘Superman ‘ movies, despite Lois Lane being a Pulitzer winning reporter) :))

  1. All The President’s Men (1976) Dir : Alan J. Pakula. Probably the greatest triumph of investigative journalism in history, brilliantly told as a foreboding thriller. Pakula and DOP Gordon Willis turn the canvass very dark, making reporter duo Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) like mice, crawling in the dark, following every crumbles they can find. The triumph they eventually got is not even present in the movie : we as audience supplied it. And that’s what made the movie so powerful and relevant until today.
  2. Almost Famous (2000) Dir : Cameron Crowe. An ode to freedom, first loves, growing up and being in the dilemma of ‘being truth and unmerciful’ to your subjects. Through young William Miller (Patrick Fugit) we bask in the glory of love and rock and roll and then asks : ‘What would you do if adoration gets in the way of your reporting ?’
  3. Spotlight (2015) Dir : Tom McCarthy. A real life scandal of huge scale uncovered in a city that’s filled with the institution that basically have God on their side. At heart lies a tragedy that everyone has the change to get preyed upon, yet those who survived mostly choose to ignore and forget. The Spotlight team took the hard way and rocked that ignorance.
  4. Zodiac (2007) Dir : David Fincher. An obsessive man hunt for the most mysterious serial killings last century. Like the codes the zodiac killer sent, one pieces of trails might be unsolved, but sooner or later the truth will be found. Though it might not solve the case.
  5. Shattered Glass (2003) Dir : Billy Ray. A story of the fall of integrity, that weirdly enough, resonates better today in the age of social media. Glass is a tragic figure who thinks as long as he can entertain and pose for others, they will pass what he says as truth.
  6. Nothing But The Truth (2008) Dir : Rod Lurie. The opposite side of Shattered Glass, this is a tale of integrity. Jailed for contempt, Kate Beckinsale’s reporter lost almost everything she holds dear, knowing she can never break her promise.
  7. The Insider (1999) Dir : Michael Mann. A very long movie about the struggle of two men against two corporations : the tobacco industry and a media giant. The media caves in, initially, until later perseverance wins.
  8. Switching Channels (1988) Dir : Ted Kotcheff. The only comedy on the list is a fast paced romantic lark that’s not too subtle at its jabs (‘SNN’ as opposed to ‘CNN’ ? Christopher Reeve as an obnoxious millionaire ?), but perfectly illustrates that for journalists, any romance is a triangle.
  9. The China Syndrome (1979). Dir : James Bridges. Based on a real life incident, tells what is more lethal than a combination of a gun and a camera : the determination of the man holding the gun in front of the camera.
  10. Under Fire (1983) Dir : Roger Spottiswoode. “I take pictures, not sides”, famously said the war photographer Russel Price (Nick Nolte), only for him later, to realise that pictures can always be manipulated.
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