Premiere of Spielberg watchdog drama prompts consideration of the top 20 journalism films – let’s compare lists

Daniel Ellsberg appears before reporters outside a federal courthouse in 1971 (THE HISTORY CHANNEL)

Garry: Daniel Ellsberg has been arrested almost 100 times for civic activism.

There is perhaps no living American who better exemplifies the historian Howard Zinn’s mantra that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

Ellsberg, an 86-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps, holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. An Oscar-nominated 2009 documentary labeled Ellsberg “The Most Dangerous Man in America.

A new film — “The Post” — is placing the legendary whistleblower’s name back in the headlines.

“The Post” is a historical drama directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg about Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post who battled the federal government over their right to publish the Pentagon Papers, which Ellsberg leaked to the press. In the movie, Matthew Rhys portrays Ellsberg. The film also stars Tom Hanks as Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Graham.

The movie goes into wide release Friday. Holly and I have planned our day around it. To prepare, I’m reading Ellsberg’s classic book “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers” published in 2002.

Following the release of the film, we’ll be asking former and current Oakland University journalism students to comment on it.

For two decades, I’ve maintained a list of the best films about journalism. Cannot be sure yet, but “The Post” is almost certain to make the first five. Here’s my top 20:

  1. Spotlight” 2015
  2. Good Night, and Good Luck” 2005
  3. All the President’s Men” 1976
  4. Shattered Glass” 2003
  5. Almost Famous” 2000 — Did you know Billy Crudup shines in both “Spotlight” and “Almost Famous”?
  6. The Insider” 1999
  7. The Paper” 1994
  8. Frost/Nixon” 2008
  9. Broadcast News” 1987
  10. Absence of Malice” 1981
  11. State of Play” 2009 — Did you know Rachel McAdams stars in both “Spotlight” and “State of Play”?
  12. The Soloist” 2009
  13. Network” 1976
  14. The Year of Living Dangerously” 1982
  15. The Killing Fields” 1984
  16. Reds” 1981
  17. His Girl Friday” 1940
  18. The Front Page” 1931
  19. Nightcrawler” 2014
  20. Citizen Kane” 1941

Considered:

Michael” 1996
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — Swedish version 2009
The Devil Wears Prada” — 2006
Anchorman”— 2004
Groundhog Day” — 1993
Superman” 1978 and “Superman II” 1980
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” — 1998
Capote” — 2005
Trainwreck” — 2015
Veronica Guerin” — 2003
Salvador” — 1986
Deadline U.S.A.” — 1952
Under Fire” — 1983
The China Syndrome” — 1979

I did not include — but I highly recommend — excellent documentaries such as “Citizen McCaw” and “Dying to Tell the Story” and TV programs such as “The Newsroom” and a blast from the past: “Lou Grant.”

For your reading pleasure, The Washington Post itself has published a list of 10 influential journalism films with comments from a “who’s who” list of reporters and editors.

Holly: Seriously? No such conversation is complete without mention of Mary Tyler Moore. After all, she made “Lou Grant” possible.

What else is missing? Let us know.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

1 comments On Premiere of Spielberg watchdog drama prompts consideration of the top 20 journalism films – let’s compare lists

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer

%d bloggers like this: