‘All The President’s Men’ Is Best Journalism Movie of All Time

BY RICK NAGEL, EX-JOURNALIST

What’s the best damn journalism movie of all time?

“All The Presidents Men.”

That’s not only the correct answer in my opinion, it’s your answer to the poll we posted on the NINA website and social media.

We got a whopping 18 responses to our First-Ever NINA Online Movie Poll. (Note to Tammie: Fire Nagel as Outreach Committee chairman.)

That said, “All The President’s Men” was the consensus choice, with 12 votes. Tied for second was “Spotlight” (yay!) and “His Girl Friday” (WTF?) with two apiece.

Tied for third was “The Paper” (yay!) and “Good Night And Good Luck” (yay!).

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 1.50.09 PM

14 Best Journalism Movies of All Time

Our reader poll would have been a lot more fun and interesting if we’d given you the chance to rank the best journalism movies on our list, from best to last.

We actually gave you 14 choices. Here’s the list:

  • All The President’s Men
  • The Post
  • Broadcast News
  • Network
  • Spotlight
  • Good Night And Good Luck
  • The Killing Fields
  • The Paper
  • Ace In The Hole
  • Zodiac
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Year of Living Dangerously
  • His Girl Friday
  • The Front Page

If you’d like to let us know your rankings, comment to this post! (See below.)

My Top 5

Here are my personal top five, with “a few, uh, provisos, a couple of quid pro quos” as the genie says in the animated movie classic “Aladdin.” (Which, by they way, is probably in my top five list of  Disney animated films … But I digress.)

NINA NagelFor me, the ex-newspaper editor, the criteria has to be weighted toward the movie that portrayed the journalism most accurately and whether the journalism was the subject matter or central theme of the screenplay.

For example, “Citizen Kane” is one of the greatest movies of all time. It’s NOT, in my book, one of the greatest journalism movies of all time. Capiche?

1. All The President’s Men

all-the-presidents-men-1976-001-dustin-hoffman-robert-redford-newsroom-lineup-00n-qcz

No brainer, really.

Quick confession: William Goldman is my favorite writer in all the world. And that screenplay, which went through a lot of iterations (see “Adventures in the Screen Trade”), is mostly his.

Sure, it’s dramatic, but it gets the essential journalism right.

2. Spotlight

Spotlight B

Loved it. Missed it in theaters, but it knocked my socks off when I finally saw it “On Demand.”

Definitely gets the journalism. Loved seeing the old-fashioned morgue.

3. The Paper

The Paper

Directed by Ron Howard, starring Michael Keaton, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall, “The Paper” is another classic.

As a former editor of a semi-big newsroom (four dailies, a dozen weeklies, websites, etc.), my favorite scene is where the camera is spinning around the Michael Keaton character while people are shouting urgent questions at him in terrifying, dizzying rapid fire until a gun literally goes off.

At least, that’s how I remember it. Might be PTSD playing with me.

4.  The Post

The Post 5

Sure, I dissed it a bit in the review. But it’s still a really good journalism movie.

You can’t beat the Washington Post and Pentagon Papers as subject matter.

5. Good Night And Good Luck

good-night-good-luck

Yeah, you heard me: George Clooney directed one of the great journalism movies of all time.

Description: “Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Sen. Joseph McCarthy.”

‘Nuff said.

Why Not The Other Great Movies? Huh, Nagel?

citizen-kane

Some didn’t make the top five because, as I mention above, they weren’t journalism-y enough for me. (That’s a word, right?)

At least two others — “Zodiac” and “Ace in The Hole” — I haven’t seen.

I’m putting that little task high on my to-do list.

 

 

 

 

 

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