Movies about investigative journalism

Note. Some of the movies listed below may contain violence and coarse language. Please consult each film’s classification rating to ensure it is suitable for the viewer’s age.

All the President’s Men (1976)

Based on a true story. In the run-up to the 1972 elections, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein cover what seems to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters. After further investigation, they find the trail leading higher and higher in the Republican Party, and eventually into the White House itself.

Frost/Nixon (2008)

Based on a true story. A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011)

Documentary. During the most tumultuous time for media in generations, filmmaker Andrew Rossi gains unprecedented access to the newsroom at The New York Times. For a year, he follows journalists on the paper’s Media Desk, a department created to cover the transformation of the media industry.

Balibo (2009)

Based on a true story. War correspondent Roger East and the young Jose Ramos-Horta travel to East Timor to investigate the murders in 1975 of five Australian based journalists known as the “Balibo Five”.

A Mighty Heart (2007)

Based on a true story. On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl went missing in Pakistan after an interview with an Islamic fundamentalist cleric. His wife, Mariane, also a reporter embarks on a frantic search to locate her husband.

Veronica Guerin (2003)

Based on a true story. Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, a reporter for The Sunday Independent, who exposed some of Dublin’s most powerful crime barons in 1996 is gunned down by assassins hired by the same criminal drug lords she exposed.

The Insider (1999)

Based on a true story. The story of Jeffrey Wigand, a research biologist, who decided to tell the world what the seven major tobacco companies knew (and concealed) about the dangers of their product.

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

Based on a true story. In the early 1950s, the threat of Communism created an air of paranoia in the United States and exploiting those fears was Senator Joseph McCarthy. However, CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow decided to take a stand and challenge McCarthy and expose him for the fear monger he was.

The Killing Fields (1984)

Based on a true story. An award winning film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. It’s based on the experiences of three journalists: Dith Pran, a Cambodian, Sydney Schanberg, a New York Times correspondent, and Jon Swain, a journalist from the UK.

State of Play (2009)

Fiction. A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman’s assistant falls in front of a subway – two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered.

Live from Baghdad (2002)

Fiction. A group of CNN reporters wrestle with journalistic ethics and the life-and-death perils of reporting during the Gulf War.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

Fiction. A law student and investigative journalist uncover a legal brief that speculates assassinations were committed on behalf of an oil tycoon who wants to drill for oil on a Louisiana marshland, which is a major habitat of an endangered species of pelicans.

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

Fiction. A young Australian reporter, on his first job as a foreign correspondent, tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno.

Roman Holiday (1953)

Fiction. A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with and American journalist in Rome. It stars Gregory Peck as the reporter and Audrey Hepburn as the princess. This movie isn’t about investigative journalism—we just like it (and it will make you want a Vespa!)