These Are The Best Whistleblowing Films Ever Made

All-The-President-s-Men-Review

When it comes to conversations, there is one thing that we sometimes forget. When we talk about the latest outrageous thing – such as the phone-hacking scandal, films we have seen, the latest article we have read – whistleblowers are so often not acknowledged, or even credited with their role in our culture. There are some pretty brilliant whistleblowing films that are really worth watching.

So; let’s talk about them, the whistleblowers. We can start by watching films about them, to learn just a little bit more about their reality. We have compiled the best films about whistleblowing that you should watch for this very reason.

These are the best whistleblowing films ever made

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All The President’s Men

Robert Redford in All The President's Men

Credit: Warner Bros.

Journalism often gets a bad rap these days – and is not exactly a popular career choice among some individuals, thanks to various invasive actions over the years. But, All The President’s Men is a testament to what happens when journalism is used for good. All The President’s Men is the story of how two fairly rookie reporters brought down a presidency – and with the help of one particular whistleblower, codenamed DeepThroat. This is based on a true story, and may be dated – but it’s a testament to the power words have, when used for good.

Now available on Amazon Prime.

Erin Brokovich

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Credit: Universal Pictures

Erin Brockovich is twenty-one years old this year! And how little things have changed. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her performance as the single, foul-mouthed mother who was twice divorced, who went on to become something of an infamous household name. Brockovich worked in an office and went to investigate a legal complaint in her role – and brought down a company that had been poisoning the water. Residents had been drinking from it, too, and it caused serious diseases – sometimes even cancers of various kinds. Brockovich still is an activist, and often speaks out about environmental contamination to this day.

Now available on Netflix.

CitizenFour

For a moment you could almost hear the whole world talking about it; the biggest leak of official secrets ever had been leaked to the Guardian, and the revelations just kept on coming. The National Security Agency (NSA) in America had been tapping everyone’s data, as had the UK’s version. Some specific world leaders had also had their phoned tapped, including the German chancellor. There was no independent oversight or any sort of check on this power – and it was all on the grounds of preventing terrorist attacks. And all because a security contractor called Edward Snowden had decided to leak these secrets, later fleeing with political asylum to Russia.

CitizenFour is more of a long-form documentary than anything else, and examines the issues raised by the whistleblower. Hurled up in a hotel room there was Snowden, the Guardian’s editor in chief at the time Alan Rusbridger, Laura Portias, Glenn Greenwald – and they had to work together to piece and package this story in its entirety. This raises some questions about how your data is used – how you could potentially be put at a crime scene having never been there – and so much more. And if you need something else to watch after this, try Snowden.

The Fifth Estate

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Credit: Dreamworks Pictures

Another Guardian story, The Fifth Estate is still making systemic waves in our cultural climate today. At the time Julian Assange leaked the biggest stash of secrets – only to be trumped by Edward Snowden’s leak to the same paper – and the drama unfolds around his website, Wikileaks, back in its infancy. You also have some serious names attached to the project, including people such as Benedict Cumberbatch (as Assange with the creepily accurate accent and gestures), and Peter Capaldi as Alan Rusbridger, the editor in chief at the time.

Julian Assange is arguably something of a whistleblower, but not in the traditional sense that we are all probably familiar with. This presents something of a fascinating character study.

Attacking The Devil: Harold Evans And The Last Nazi War Crime

Attacking the devil netflix

Credit: Netflix

It marked something of a watershed in British journalism; the Sunday Times, under the editorship of Harold Evans, was known for its investigative muscle. The news would eventually reach the pages of the paper, it just may be later than usual, due to the paper often being embroiled in legal action. Attacking The Devil is a documentary directed by Jacqui Morris, and illustrates how the paper unravelled one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in all of human history. Had a whistleblower not helped the paper, it would have never happened. And you can hear from the very people who were directly involved with the paper.

Now available on Netflix.

Dark Waters

dark-waters_MnDFd2

Credit: Dreamworks Pictures

Dark Waters has recently won an award – and is still a firm favourite for some. A corporate American lawyer played by Mark Ruffalo had a chance encounter with a farmer, a one Earl Tennant. Dismissed by his community as a conspiracy theorist, Tennant had stumbled on to a huge scandal – and one that impacts every single person on Earth, period. This film is based on a true story, and it will blow your mind. Earl Tennant is no longer with us, but is arguably pivotal in blowing the whistle on the company involved. Dark Waters is a drama, but the story is also the subject of the documentary, The Devil We Know. (Psstt, anyone outside the US – the documentary is available on YouTube.)

Now available on Amazon Prime.

Official Secrets

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Credit: Entertainment One

If you work within the security services in the UK, arguably you are not being paid to think for yourself or to question. You may be asked to translate, to listen to the conversations you should not be privy to, to spy. Official Secrets is a true story of what happens when you go against this, and the fallout that follows – and is based on a true story, too. There are also some big names attached to this film, with Kiera Knightley in the leading role. If anything, it will make you think about whistleblowing and its role.

Now available on Amazon Prime.

What films about whistleblowing do you like? Have you watched any recently? Let us know in the comments below.

What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!



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