5 great movies about journalism

As a longtime journalist, I love a good movie about the Fourth Estate. Over the years, there have been some fabulous films about news gathering. Below are some of my favorites about journalists who work in newspapers, book publishing, magazines, blogs, and TV. Hopefully, you'll find something here that you can enjoy during your next movie night!

"All the President's Men"
Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman
This film is a testament to the tenacity of newspaper reporters who tackle the stories that hold government and companies accountable like no other news outlets can. As the movie outlines the events surrounding the incredibly complex Watergate scandal, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein follow lead after lead to get to the real story behind the break-in at Democratic Headquarter in 1972. With anonymous sources, tapped phones, and covert operations that ultimately bring down a president, this movie has it all.

"The Hoax"
Starring Richard Gere
Writer Clifford Irving is the perpetrator of a great big lie. He's conning his publisher into thinking that he's co-writing Howard Hughes' autobiography. Since the famous billionaire is such a reclusive eccentric, Irving thinks he can prevent his boss from contacting Hughes. He then takes the millions in advance money meant for Hughes and puts it away for himself. However, he soon becomes delusional and paranoid as his world begins to fall apart.

"The Life of David Gale"
Starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet
A man sits on death row for a crime he says he did not commit. Magazine reporter Bitsey Bloom is called to the prison by the inmate where she pays for his final interview. Did he do it? Bitsey starts digging around, but the clock is ticking. The killer (who, ironically, is a well known advocate against the death penalty) only has three days left until his execution. Her interviews and reenactments seem to prove that he's innocent. But can she prove it in time to save him from the lethal injection?

"Julie & Julia"
Starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams
Admittedly, there's not any real competition in this category since Hollywood isn't clambering to make movies about bloggers (not yet anyway!). However, this film provides an interesting look at how Julie Powell started a 365 day challenge to blog her way through Julia Child's famous "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook. Her blog eventually gains momentum, a fierce following, and ultimately her foray into blogging turns into a book and movie deal!

Starring Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, and Peter Finch

This iconic film about TV news is a must-see. Longtime news anchor Howard Beale is being fired due to low ratings. In a fit of rage, he tells his viewers, live on the air, that he's going to commit suicide during the next broadcast. Later, Beale launches an on-air rant that has everyone in the country poking their heads out their windows to scream, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!" Instead of killing himself, Beale ends up turning his angry man tirade into a TV show.

These films are just a few of my favorites that highlight the challenges of news gathering and story telling. What are your favorite movies about journalists?


  1. Hi Amber--great post! I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves a good movie about journalism...While "All the President's Men" is high on my list, I think it's bested by "The Insider." Aside from being an amazingly directed and acted film, it captures the conflict of whistleblowers as confidential sources and the corporate interests of big business media. My favorite olde time film about journalists has to be "His Girl Friday," because who can resist Cary Grant as a newspaper editor?

  2. Oh, yes, The Insider was great! Wonderful film. I had forgotten about His Girl Friday. I saw it a few years ago. Another good choice! I'll have to watch them again.

    I think there is potentially a lot of competition on the category of newspaper films, isn't there?

    Thanks so much for chiming in and adding some good films to the list, Krista!

  3. I just recently watched "Network" again and had forgotten how brilliant it is. It still holds up -- even today. In fact, it's so much better than many of the films being made it should be deconstructed and taught in film schools. I think you've covered my faves, too.

  4. Jayne: The woman with an opinion about everything has nothing to add????? Whoever this is is obviously an impostor! ;-)

    Funny to watch old films and some of them seem so out of date, yet some of them are timeless. The mark of an excellent film, I guess.

    Thanks for stopping by to chime in, Jayne. Always a pleasure!

  5. All of the movies mentioned are great. I enjoyed them all. My favocire though is the Network. Julia and Julia was a fun movie to watch. It was amazing to me how they went about putting that movie together. This was a great topic. I like your blog too. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Lisa! Yeah, Network is a classic. The one here that I hadn't heard of before I watched it was The Life of David Gale. Talk about a roller coaster ride. I was yelling out loud at the screen (in my home, not the theater!).

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for your kind words! ;-)

  7. Thanks for this great post Amber!

    All the President's Men is one of my all time favourites. I read most of the books by Bob Woodward, played in the movie by Robert Redford. IMO he's the best investigative journalist of our times.

    I also like movies about photo-journalism like Nick Nolte's Under Fire & James Woods' Salvador. They splendidly represent news gathering in the field.

    I worked mostly for magazines. My favourite movie about magazines is, uhm, Funny Face... I love the way the editor, played by Kay Thompson, runs the fashion magazine and dictates the fashion world. Maybe she inspired Anna Wintour, who knows :)

  8. Well, I love Network. It is indeed my all time FAV film simply because it does operate in an area when I've spent a good portion of my life in and it speaks to well to the way I've seen American society for so long, and if anything, it's only worsened with the impact of gaming. I'm sure if Paddy were alive today he would be sickened by not the amount of hours the new generation spends watching television but playing Xbox and all the rest of the video games combined.

    But other journalist oriented pictures that I enjoyed include Salvador, The Year of Living Dangerously, and I think the recent Insider as well.

  9. Sinan, oooohhhh, good films to add to the mix! I've actually never seen Funny Face (a crime, I know!), so I'll have to add that one to my movie list! I wouldn't mind rewatching the others you mentioned, either. It's been long enough that I don't really remember the particulars and can enjoy them all over again!

    Thanks so much for adding your suggestions to the conversation, Sinan! ;-)

  10. Bryon, you worked in TV news, too? We'll have to talk about that on Twitter one day (I was a TV reporter once upon a time).

    Good flicks to add to the list here, Bryon. Looks like we're seeing some momentum around Salvador and The Insider! You know, I'll have to rewatch The Year of Living Dangerously. I remember it being very good, but I've forgotten the details of the film. I'll add it to my list!

    Thanks so much for chiming in, Bryon!

  11. I love "Network" and I'm- letchoo finish, but Orson Welles' did one of the greatest journalism movies of ALL TIME: "Citizen Kane." ("I think it would be fun to run a newspaper!" -- Charles Foster Kane)

    And speaking of movie lists, I hope you don't mind if I plug my own humble list that I did a while back of advertising-related movies! Some great oldies in here (I recommend "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy).

  12. My pleasure Amber :)

    BTW Funny Face is a Fred Astaire/Audrey Hepburn musical, songs by George & Ira Gershwin :)

    I almost forgot. The James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, may not be entirely about journalism, but gives a great example how Yellow Journalism works...

  13. Ah, yes, Citizen Kane! A must have on any journalism movies list, for sure!

    Oh, you did an advertising movie list? Sounds great! I'll have to go check it out! >>> Ok, just did. Ha! I'm THAT fast! Couldn't help but notice (500) Days of Summer since it's next to last of the list. I don't think of that as an advertising movie per se since it's more about greeting cards, but I LOVED that film. Just loved it. I'll have to go back and look at the movies more closely! I'm sure I'll find a few to add to my must-see list. ;-)

    Thanks for chiming in, Mitch!

  14. You can never go wrong with a musical! ;-)

    Ya know, I've never watched a James Bond movie all the way through (let the hate mail commence!). But if you say Tomorrow Never Dies is worth my time, I'll check it out. Who doesn't like a little yellow journalism in their movies from time to time?

    Thanks, Sinan!

  15. All The President's Men, Network and definitely not least, The Insider!

  16. Yep, The Insider is definitely a winner for sure! Thanks for adding to the discussion, Marlena! :-)


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