The 30th anniversary of “Broadcast News” is upon us. Arguably no movie has ever so entertained its audience while informing them about the day-to-day business of making the news, but which other films could be in the conversation? Take a look.
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
A chilling fairy tale of a tycoon who buys a struggling newspaper with the hopes of using his influence to help those who can’t help themselves. Unfortunately, his absolute power corrupts him and he eventually uses the power of the press to heap glory on himself.
“Ace in the Hole” (1951)
Kirk Douglas shines as an unethical reporter who manipulates a tragic situation to his advantage. For all the movies glorifying the men and women in the profession, Billy Wilder’s classic takes the unpleasant role of revealing the dark, seedy side of journalism.
“All the President’s Men” (1976)
Watergate. A crime so significant that it became the placeholder name for all political scandals since. A crime that would never have been uncovered were it not for the exhaustive research and gritty determinism of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, brought to the big screen by acting legends Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
The most famous crazy newsman in film history, Peter Finch set the standard as evening news anchor Howard Beale, who starts a movement after he grows sick and tired of how the businessmen and politicians are ruining the country while the news runs trivial stories in order to garner ratings. All together: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
“The Paper” (1994)
In an era in which they have arguably never been more revered and despised at the same time, it’s easy to forget that journalists are just ordinary people who also have to worry about money, spouses, new kids, and stalled careers. Ron Howard’s underrated gem does a great job of putting a human face on the front page.
“The Insider” (1999)
In his first of three consecutive Oscar-nominated roles, Russell Crowe stars as a corporate scientist who begins to fear for his life after revealing to a news producer (Al Pacino) the various misdeeds of his company. For anyone who thinks it’s so easy to step forward and speak out against a powerful individual or business, “The Insider” aims to prove them wrong.
“Shattered Glass” (2003)
The fake news story of all fake news stories. When Stephen Glass, a rising star at the elite magazine The New Republic, is accused of fabricating his sensational stories, his editor must dig out the truth to save the magazine’s reputation. With outstanding performances by Hayden Christensen and Peter Sarsgaard (who was nominated for a Golden Globe), “Glass” is an immensely rewatchable film that will break your heart before rebuilding your faith in the system.
A seemingly juvenile comedy that is also subtly one of the smartest in the genre, “Anchorman” lays low the petty office sexual politics (and sexism) of 1970s local news, much of which is still, unfortunately, all too prevalent.
“Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005)
During the height of the Red Scare when senator Joseph McCarthy destroyed careers just by insinuating someone was a communist, TV newsman Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for the demagogue and liar he truly was. Played masterfully by David Straithairn, Murrow remains the standard by which broadcast journalists are judged.
“When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” The jaw-dropping reveal from former POTUS Richard Nixon in the famous series of interviews by British journalist David Frost should sound more than a few alarm bells and hits painfully close to home. Add Frank Langella’s captivating performance of a once-powerful man brought low by his own mistakes, and Ron Howard’s tense drama is arguably much more relevant now than ever before.