movies journalism

Top 10 Movies About Journalism

Do you like movies about journalists?

by Iva Rizova

Quality movies about journalism – we just love them!

In the world of quality moviemaking, the intricacies of the media industry prepare the ground for turning great stories into screen versions. There are numerous examples of well-crafted journalism movies, not to mention that the past decade gave birth to successful TV series like “The Newsroom” and “The Morning Show.” As promising as it sounds, making a movie about the media business is equally challenging. This is why we have created a list of the top 10 best movie productions that focus on the fourth estate. 

Nothing But the Truth

An ambitious reporter comes across information about a CSI agent’s research in Venezuela and the possible government attempt on the American president’s life. Despite the agent’s refusal to cooperate, the reporter publishes an article that exposes secret government information, thus creating a national security threat. For that reason, she must reveal her sources, but she is determined to keep her journalistic integrity, even though the court deems her actions treason.


This movie is based on actual events. The plot focuses on the Boston Globe investigative journalism team that works on the column “Spotlight” – the inspiration behind the movie title. The journalists investigate a cover-up of sexual transgressions against kids in the Boston Catholic church. Spotlight won an Oscar for Best Movie and Best Screenplay.

Citizen Kane

Who hasn’t heard of the all-time classic “Citizen Kane”? Although it is not based on a true story, the media tycoon Charles Foster Kane is a prototype for real people William Randolph Hearst, Samuel Insull, and Harold McCormick. A group of reporters tries to decipher the last word he ever said – rosebud. They explore his rise to fame and subsequent career downfall.

All the President’s Men

This movie is based on actual events as well as on a book by the same name. On the eve of the USA Presidential Elections in 1972, two Washington Post journalists investigated the Watergate scandal, which led them to uncover the involvement of the Republican party, and eventually – of the White House. This results in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, who is unable to disprove the evidence against him, and resigns, setting a precedent in American history.

Good night, and Good Luck

Even though it was released in 2005, Good Night and Good Luck is a black-and-white movie. The goal behind this cinematic choice is that the film reflects the time it’s set in – the 1950s. The Communist threat has shaken the USA, and senator Joseph McCarthy exploits the people’s fear in every way that he can. A reporter and a CBS producer decide to expose the senator and help to bring him down.

The Post

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the Post is yet another movie that takes inspiration from an actual event. It tells the story of a scandal in 1971 caused by the Washington Post editor’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. They expose America’s decades-long involvement in the Vietnamese war, and, naturally, its publishing meets many setbacks. However, the court eventually ruled in favor of the newspaper.


This movie is inspired by a true story about the investigation of a serial killer in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s. It is one of the most prominent unsolved crimes in the USA. The perpetrator mocks the police by sending them letters, bloody clothes, and newspaper riddles. The plot focuses on the journalists’ efforts to solve the puzzle and their complete obsession with catching the killer. In a BBC survey, Zodiac is ranked as one of the 12 best movies of the 21st century. That’s one of the best movies about journalism as well.


This movie tells the story of an American journalist, down on his luck, who travels to Salvador to cover the Civil War in 1980. He gets mixed up with both sides, and they pressure him into giving them photos and information. Meanwhile, he must find a way to get this girlfriend and her kids out of Salvador as the conflict reaches a turning point.

Page One: Inside the New York Times

In the 1920s, the media outlets were faced with new challenges, and the director gained unprecedented access to the New York Times’ newsroom for a whole year. During that time, he succeeds in making a documentary about the journalists’ work and personal lives full of danger and great opportunities. The movie manages to show the media industry truly and fearlessly.

Kill the Messenger

The plot takes place in the mid-1990s when an investigative journalist exposes the CSI’s involvement in the illegal drug trade in the USA. This act aims to collect money from Nicaraguan rebels. Despite an immense amount of pressure not to publish the article, the journalist doesn’t give in. However, his plan backfires, and that costs him his job. Eventually, he is forced to live in exile, and that leads him to suicide.

The media world and the field of journalism are an inexhaustible source of screenplay inspirations and book plots. If you don’t concur, perhaps you look at the lives of reporters through rose-tinted glasses, but these movies about journalism are surely going to prove you wrong.

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