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  • Transparency Networks

Movies to Watch During Lockdown: Whistleblowing Edition

As the world remains indoors for the foreseeable future, most of us have found ways to cope via digital alternatives to life as we once knew it. Digital parties, workouts, offices, and virtual movie screenings are the new normal. For cinephiles, it’s always comforting to have easy access to the world of film even more than usual.

When the going gets tough, and you could do with stories of resilience and grit, there is nothing like a gripping whistleblower film to set the mood. Here are some of the most thrilling whistleblower movies we can never get enough of.

All the President's Men (1976)

Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) receive tips about rampant corruption in the Nixon administration from a source identified as "Deep Throat" (Hal Holbrook). The investigation unravels what the world now knows as the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation.

Serpico (1973)

The film pays tribute to Frank Serpico, an Italian-American cop who created history by exposing deep-rooted corruption in the New York Police Department. Serpico was the first police officer to ever speak up about murky dealings by his fellow-officers where they repeatedly took a series of payoffs. The Oscar-nominated drama stars the legendary Al Pacino as Serpico.

Snowden (2016)

Edward Snowden was employed with the US Government when he discovered the NSA was spying on millions of American citizens through their own emails, phone calls, and webcams.

Snowden’s revelations triggered a chain of sensational events, compelling him to seek exile in Moscow. The film is a tribute to his courage and an indictment of laws that offer little safety for people who dare to tell the truth.

The Post (2017)

The Post documents the infamous case of the Pentagon Papers and the bravery of a whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked details of the United States Government’s secret activities during the Vietnam war. Soon after, life changed for the owner of the Washington Post and her executive director. The two risked their lives and livelihoods to uncover top-secret atrocities that included the US Government’s secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia.

Official Secrets (2019)

Official Secrets is a riveting drama/thriller about Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a linguist at a British intelligence listening station Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). In 2003, she leaked an NSA memo that asked GCHQ staff to spy on members of the UN Security Council. The incriminating memo revealed the extent of American lobbying and pressure on the United Nations to push support for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Erin Brockovich is an Oscar-winning drama based on the 1993 Hinkley groundwater contamination case in California. Brockovich (Julia Roberts), a single mom and legal clerk built a case against Pacific Gas and Electric after it directed two former utility employees to dispose of thirty years of historical records in a garbage dump.

The records contained evidence of the utility knowingly contaminating local drinking water with chromium. The class-action suit was settled at over US$330 million - the largest direct action settlement in US history.

The Trial of Ratko Mladic (2018)

The film depicts the tragic genocide of 8000 Muslim men and boys during the war in Bosnia. Set in 1995 Srebrenica and based on witness testimonies, the movie is a telling account of one of the most tragic events in recent history

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