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!).
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
- Good Night And Good Luck
- The Killing Fields
- The Paper
- Ace In The Hole
- 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.)
For 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.
1. All The President’s Men
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.
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
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
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
Yeah, you heard me: George Clooney directed one of the great journalism movies of all time.
Why Not The Other Great Movies? Huh, Nagel?
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.