In today’s world, there are so many different types of movies out there; from natural disasters to musicals, and everything in between. However, I feel like there’s one category of film that seems to be ignored more often than not. Movies about journalism can be some of the best, not to mention more informative, films that you can enjoy. These types of movies are especially important if you’re aspiring to become a journalist, and want to know a little more about what it means to work in the world of journalism. I’ll admit, that I didn’t see some of these films until college, and I wish I would’ve watched them sooner than that. But I didn’t figure out that I wanted to be a journalist until halfway through my first semester, after watching one of the five movies mentioned below. These movies about journalism not only give inspiration, but will leave you feeling enthralled with journalism as a whole. I know I certainly felt that way after watching them. I also felt a great sense of pride that I had indeed chosen the right career path.
1. Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 hit movie about journalism that is undeniably a classic, and should be watched by all who are interested in a journalism career. This film is partly based off of the life of William Randolph Hearst, who was the publisher of The New York Journal, as well as a businessman and politician. Orson Welles plays the compelling Charles Foster Kane, who is a newspaper tycoon, and owner of the New York Enquirer. Throughout the film we follow reporter Jerry Thompson as he tries to uncover the meaning of the last word that Kane uttered on his deathbed, “Rosebud.” He talks to many who were close to Kane to get their accounts of what his life was like, and we learn that he gave rise to yellow journalism, ran as governor of New York and forced his mistress turned wife into an unwanted career of opera. One thing for sure that can be said about Charles Foster Kane is that the man was truly eccentric right up until his death. I highly recommend this truly classic film as it not only portrays the wrongs of yellow journalism, and why it is frowned upon today, but is also considered by many critics to be the greatest film ever made.
2. The Insider
I’ll admit that this is one of my favorite movies about journalism due to its engaging story, and the suspense you feel throughout the whole film. The Insider stars Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, and is a fictionalized account on the 1996 60 Minutes segment about Jeffrey Wigand. Crowe plays Wigand who is a former executive of tobacco company Brown & Williamson, and Pacino plays the ambitious CBS producer Lowell Bergman. In the film we learn that Wigand is a whistleblower who claims that Brown & Williamson are manipulating tobacco to make it more addictive. Bergman gets ahold of the story, and wishes to help Wigand in outing big tobacco, but it’s not an easy process as Brown & Williamson threaten CBS with legal action if they air the 60 Minutes Wigand interview. The Insider is a masterpiece, in my opinion, that shows young aspiring journalists not to back down when things get tough, and if they know the truth to be of high importance to the public, then that truth should be heard no matter what the consequences may be.
3. State of Play
This 2009 thriller film is one that I very much enjoyed watching as it was highly entertaining, and kept me captivated the whole way through. State of Play stars Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren, and focuses on investigative reporter Cal McAffrey looking into the suspicious death of Congressman Stephen Collins’ mistress. In this movie about journalism we learn that Collins and McAffrey are old friends, and that Collins asks McAffrey to look into Sonia Bakers ‘suicide,’ to which he (Collins) then admits that he’d been having an affair with her. McAffrey uncovers much more than he initially thought, and ends up questioning his long-time friend. Though this film is completely fictional, it depicts the relationship between politicians and the press, and also includes some good journalistic techniques and tactics that journalists use in their everyday jobs.
4. All the President’s Men
All the President’s Men is probably one of the most famous movies about journalism, and one that I love to watch every now and then. This film stars Robert Redford as Bob Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein, who are two journalists that work for The Washington Post investigating the infamous Watergate scandal. Watergate was one of the biggest U.S. scandals committed in the 20th century, and was carried out by Richard Nixon’s administration. Throughout the film, we witness Woodward and Bernstein work together reluctantly to get the story on Watergate right, and how they hit a few snafus on the way. One being their editor, Benjamin Bradlee, telling them that their story lacks sources, but still encouraging them to keep digging. And even when the two reporters’ lives are threatened, they still carry on their investigation to get the whole truth out to the public. I would honestly consider Woodward and Bernstein to be the golden standard of good reporting, and what it means to show hard work and tenacity.
5. Just One of the Guys
This is a lighthearted and funny movie about journalism of which I very much adore. This is actually the movie that got me interested in journalism because I felt the main character was very relatable. Just One of the Guys stars Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jacoby and William Zabka, and follows teenager Terri Griffith and her struggles of wanting to become a serious reporter. Terri was always being told that she should think of another career instead of journalism, and due to her being attractive, was suggested she be a model (even by her own journalism teacher). Terri finally has enough, and goes undercover as a boy at a rival high school to prove that she is good enough to get published. Naturally, chaos and mayhem ensue. This movie teaches other aspiring young journalists not to give up just because someone tells them to, and to always be bettering their skills as a reporter. Terri truly shows her unwillingness to give up, and that she is good enough to be a reporter.