Best Journalism Movies, Ranked

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A long staple of Hollywood, since the days of silent cinema, films about journalism have always been an important function of storytelling. The reporter plays a big role in moral and ethical storytelling, digging deeper into what drives America. What entertains us, what informs us, and above all, who do we go to for the truth. Journalism is now often the vehicle for telling real-life stories, especially around true crimes.



Before that, however, they were also big movies about how journalists would use the newspaper as an engine of fame. movies like His daughter Friday, Ace in the holeand more recently, Broken glass. Sometimes the old style of newspaper journalism is now a dying minimum of the corporate media machine. That said, these films set the bar high for why they are essential to society and to film itself.

ten Projector

A huge piece of work that shows the workings of investigative journalism, from editors to reporters, and what it takes to get a story out. Not only how thorough the work, but also how long journalists take to uphold a code of ethics while balancing the morality of doing the right thing. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Liev Schrieber as a team of Boston Globe reporters who uncover the horrific child abuse scandal that had plagued the Catholic Church for decades across multiple dioceses. . A landmark case highlighting institutional violence and the framework needed to cover the trauma imposed on young children, Projector is a fascinating true story.

Related: Best Movies Based On Magazine & Newspaper Articles, Ranked

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9 The insider

What is essential in Michael Mann’s films is essential in his way of doing business: a dedicated craftsman who likes to show men at work, doing what they do best. Naturally, his incredible ability to bring an aesthetic to blue-collar heroism made him an ideal candidate to enter the field of journalism. The insider is the true story of the tobacco industry’s grip on public consciousness. It stars Al Pacino as journalist Lowell Bergman who worked with Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) to expose capitalist greed unleashed in a grassroots industry, and how tobacco executives were long overdue to be ousted for all the lies. they were selling on cigarettes. The film is an epic extension of how America has turned almost everything into a corporation and the dangers it poses to the public.


8 almost known

Cameron Crowe’s Love Book almost known is an autobiographical tale of journalism and the murky path to rock and roll stardom colliding. Loosely based on his life as a young teenager covering Rolling Stone music, Patrick Fugit plays surrogate Crowe as a wide-eyed kid caught in the guise of a rising band. Billy Crudup and Jason Lee are leading the way by embodying – or so they think – the musical dream and trying to convince the kid so they can be painted as rock gods. As Crowe uses the lens of journalism to show how he came of age, his broken heart and his shattered rock star delusions, on the verge of becoming a successful writer.

seven Ace in the hole

There are so many great movies about the central role investigative journalists play in shaping public perception, but there’s also a flip side to being able to reach so many people. Ace in the hole shows Kirk Douglas in all his smarmy, muscular charm as reporter Chuck Tatum seeking fame in the big city. After being sent to a small town, he creates the story of a man trapped in a cave. Creating a literal carnival out of one man’s tragic situation, Tatum fights for his soul as the lies he begins to weave crumble around him. The film shows how the media can feed on spectacle like the people, where the truth inherent in a story does not matter. One of the best films the immaculate Billy Wilder has made and ends the story on a chaotic and cynical note as only Wilder could.


6 The sweet scent of success

Taking the world of journalism and giving it a criminal feel to show how the game is played by dirty, seedy men with no morals was a fascinating adventure. With a commanding performance from Burt Lancaster as the man behind the curtain, calling the shots, and a desperate Tony Curtis struggling to rise in the world. The film has a sharp, snappy script, loaded with quotable dialogue directed with an Alexander McKendrick wry, cynical side that elevates the material to an indelible piece of pulp. The sweet scent of success is a layered representation of how money turns information into valuable currency.

5 News broadcast

James L. Brooks crafted some of the greatest love stories of the 80s and 90s, a Hollywood machine that would produce easily digestible stories crafted with artistic merit. Probably his best film, News broadcast took on the hilariously chaotic nature of the TV newsroom while emphasizing how critical it is to have people who can report the news in the current and historical-political context. It is a rich text that shows the unfortunate degradation within current corporate structures. In it all are three incredible lead performances from Albert Brooks, William Hurt and scene stealer Holly Hunter as the three emerge as central figures in their news station. Brooks perfectly contextualizes the different types of news anchors needed to share the news, but creates a heartfelt romance that goes off the rails because love messes everything up.

Related: William Hurt’s Best Movies, Ranked

4 Network

One of the best screenplays ever written by three-time Oscar winner Paddy Chayefsky, Network explores the heart of darkness that is capitalism and how it began to poison news journalism. Capitalism has infiltrated the news and corporate sectors as Sidney Lumet shows men in suits, like Robert Duvall, acting like men only interested in numbers. Every interaction is a transaction and every person is a number. With an off-the-rails, “I’m mad as hell!” performance by the late Peter Finch. Finch sees in the void when he discovers he has lost his job and becomes the mad prophet. It starts out telling hard truths about the superficial nature of media affecting our modern society, but then it becomes a product as well. It’s sophisticated drama and hilarious satire, showing an industry losing its core values ​​for the dollar.


3 Zodiac

An epic sprawl in the heart of San Francisco, David Fincher’s Zodiac is one of the greatest films made about real terror. Working from the diligent screenplay by James Vanderbilt, adapted from the non-fiction work of Robert Graysmuith, the film delved into the processes of the serial killer and the reporters and detectives who did the work to track him down. There’s a supreme ASMR component as the many scenes depict the hard work of journalists typing obsessively as phones buzz and cigarette smoke engulfs the air. But also, what it means to work so close to manifest evil and how it can ruin your life. The film is terrifyingly cold in the way it depicts the Zodiac Killer murders, yet epic in its scope and execution of the bureaucratic detective processes required to bring a monster like the Zodiac Killer to justice.


2 All the President’s Men

All the President’s Men focuses on the two names that would become synonymous with journalistic integrity: Woodward and Bernstein. Directed by paranoid 1970s conspiracy maker Alan Pakula and the lens of legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis, the two created a sophisticated visual language to appeal to and complement material already plagued with institutional suspicion. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play the two journalists embroiled in one of the biggest corruption scandals in political history. The couple slowly realize the immensity of the Watergate Hotel robbery as far as President Richard Nixon and his corruptible cabinet are concerned as they have engaged in highly illegal activities. They get information from the mysterious “Deep Throat” and find out what it means for the country. It’s an exhilarating process, but it also highlights the importance of the work of journalists.


1 Citizen Kane

The mythical and mundane biopic that showed the epic reach of an ascending and descending empire born of American consciousness, the legendary cinematic feat of Orson Welles, Citizen Kane, is an indelible work of art that only the best in Hollywood can promise. Based in some way on the life of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Welles created a view of the world through the eyes of someone who manufactured consent and created a journalistic empire. Not only told through a fragmented lens, Welles actively deconstructs the mythos he is creating. From the opening “Rosebud”. scene, the film promises tragedy while experiencing an epic downfall in a truly American way.

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