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5 Movies About Journalism To Inspire You

by Shelly Horton
Posted: April 07, 2016

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Need some creative inspiration to fuel your writing? Media personality and journalist, Shelly Horton, recommends five top movies about Journalism to help you go the extra mile.

When Spotlight won the Oscar for best picture this year, it reinforced a long-standing fascination filmmakers have with journalism.  

Journalists and their lives are rich fodder for characters on the big screen; their tenacious approach to revealing the facts, their personal sacrifices and their less than glamorous lifestyles.

Often the movies show the amount of work and roadblocks journalists come up against before the front-page story can run. But at their core, it’s still about discovering the truth. 

If you work in the industry it can be frustrating to see technical errors on screen, for example a TV crew would never have the sound guy in the back of the media scrum with his boom held aloft, but you have to accept some creative licence. If you’ve worked in TV news you’d also know Anchorman, could be categorised as a documentary rather than a comedy. 

But jokes aside, films about journalism are triumphant and sure to ignite a fire in your belly if you’re in the industry or considering a career in journalism.

Here are five must-see movies about journalism to inspire you.  

1. Spotlight (2015)

5 Movies About Journalism To Inspire You
Image courtesy: Open Road Films

A team of journalists for the Boston Globe investigates allegations that a priest molested more than 80 boys. They uncover so much more, and set out to prove there is a systemic cover-up of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams. It won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Original Screenplay

2. All the President's Men (1976)

All the president's men movie _ journalist inspiration
Image courtesy: Warner Bros

Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that resulted in President Nixon's resignation. Adding to the drama, they never reveal their anonymous source known only as, "Deep Throat".

Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, it won four Oscars.

3. Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane movie - journalism movies
Image courtesy: Warner Home Video

When newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane dies, his mysterious last word is "rosebud". A newspaper investigation into the meaning of this uncovers the extraordinary story of Kane's life. Rumour has it Kane was modelled after William Randolph Hearst, an American newspaper publisher who built the nation's largest newspaper chain.

Written, directed and starring Orson Welles, he won an Oscar for best original screenplay.  

4. The Insider (1999)

The Insider - movies about journalism
Image courtesy: Touchstone Pictures

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a 60 Minutes expose on “Big Tobacco”. It’s based on a Vanity Fair article written by Lowell Bergman, a producer who used to work on 60 Minutes for CBS.

It was nominated for seven Oscars and stars Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.

5. Frost/Nixon (2008)

Frost/Nixon (2008) movie - journalist inspire
Image courtesy: Universal Films

Through a series of TV interviews, this movie shows how David Frost and his team, persuaded Richard Nixon to admit his guilt in the Watergate scandal.  

Starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, it was nominated for five Oscars.

Looking for even more invigoration? If you prefer a romanticised/rom com version of journalism it’s hard to go past Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford in 1996’s Up Close and Personal, or Rachel McAdams as the frazzled morning TV producer trying to wrangle hosts Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford in 2010’s Morning Glory. And soon to show in cinemas Tina Fey and Margot Robbie play war correspondents in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Ready to get inspired by some Journalism movies? Well hop to it!

Feeling motivated? Research the pathway to a career in Writing and Communication here.


Shelly Horton

Known for fronting up to uncomfortable conversations and never sitting on the fence, Shelly is a well-known voice in the area of pop culture, women's issues and health. She’s interviewed everyone from Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian to the Dalai Lama.

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