Films on Exposés

See also:

Films on Coverups

Films on Whistleblowers

Fed Up

Documentary 2014 PG 90 minutes. The film focuses on the causes of obesity in the United States. It presents evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem. It points to the monied lobbying power of “Big Sugar” in blocking attempts to enact effective policies to address the issue. This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes behind the obesity epidemic, including the marketing strategies of major U.S. food producers. How did 60% of the country get so fat?  2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, with 1 in 3 adults considered obese. Childhood obesity has become an ever-more serious medical issue in the United States. The film includes touching video self-portraits by young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, who are considered obese. The obese parents who raise obese children — why aren’t they in the least bit curious as to how they’ve become 300 pounders when their ancestors were all normal. This film is an expose of the food industry’s pedaling of sugar-rich junk food to kids and the epidemic of obesity that has resulted from it. It rightly points to the chief villain in our food choices–sugar–as addictive and toxic. Sugar is clearly added to food products that historically had none in an effort to elicit a crave factor, so you can’t stop eating them. See Full Review

War on Whistleblowers:
Free Press and the National Security State

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 6m. This documentary highlights four cases in which whistleblowers exposed government wrongdoing to the media and faced serious repercussions. Eye-opening, frank, and disturbing, this film is a must watch. This is a very good documentary and is a fraction of what is really going on in our government. The people of this country need to stand up and say NO MORE and start fighting for your rights before they are gone. See Full Review

We Steal Secrets:
The Story of WikiLeaks

Documentary 2013 R 2hr 9m. This documentary reveals how Julian Assange fired a global debate on secrecy when his web site, Wikileaks, published thousands of confidential documents. Taking no sides, Oscar winner Alex Gibney examines every aspect of the controversial event.

Terms And Conditions May Apply

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 20m. Through interviews with technology thought leaders and futurists, this timely documentary examines the erosion of privacy in the digital age. It provides lots of information about what we give up when check that little AGREE button at the end of the Terms & Conditions of any service. I and millions of people have honestly never read any Terms & Conditions. Thing is, you can’t do much on the Net unless you hit the “Agree” button, and most webpages won’t let you on unless you agree and permit ‘cookies’. We get a lot of valuable free services from Google, Facebook etc., and in turn we unknowingly allow a lot of our personal data to be used for their purposes. In Europe customers can find out how much information a company has collected on them, and one Austrian found Facebook had 1200 pages of info on him, a pile of papers five inches high (and he only posted once a week).  See Full Review

American Addict

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 29min. The United States’ alarming appetite for prescription drugs is the focus of this sober documentary, which aims to illuminate a national health crisis. The title is misleading — the film is more about unethical practices by the pharmaceutical industry and the gross ineffectiveness of the FDA than it is about addiction to prescribed medications. The over-use of pharmaceuticals in this country is an epidemic, and this is a very good objective source of information. With only five percent of world population, more than 50% of all prescription drugs in the world are used in the US, and 80% of all narcotic prescription drugs are used in the US. The fourth leading cause of death in the US is medications. How can this be normal?? I’ve been reading for years about the actions of the pharmaceutical drug companies, collectively called Big Pharma, and it is nice to have it so well and so thoroughly covered. The facts put forward can be checked and verified quite easily. An excellent and riveting look at how Big Pharma are making America the most prescription-addicted society in the world.  See Full Review

Bottled Life

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr29m. Journalist Res Gehriger investigates how Swiss-based corporation Nestlé has plundered the world’s water resources in the name of big business. This reveals the corporation’s so-called humanitarian p.r. campaign to be ultimately self-serving sham for profit. I can’t say that this documentary was anywhere as good as either “Flow: For Love of Water” or “Tapped”, both of which are available here, so see ‘Flow’ and ‘Tapped’ first. But for the uninitiated, there is still some good information here. (This documentary is mainly good for completionists.) There’s lots of info online about this.

An Honest Liar

Documentary 2014 90 minutes. The life and career of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the paranormal, James Randi. The world-famous magician, escape artist, and enemy of deception, ‘The Amazing’ Randi publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi-religious fervor.

The Big Fix

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 30m. This turns cameras on the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, where two filmmakers unearth a stunning stream of corruption. If you think you know the story of the Gulf spill, take the time to watch this brilliant film that not only re-tells that story with details that have been purposely hidden, but also helps connect the dots between how and why we are consistently lied to and our health compromised in the name of corporate profits. It features investigative reporting in the Gulf and interviews ranging from the Gulf to Washington DC in an attempt to understand how this disaster could have been allowed to happen. This film presents some important on-the-ground journalism about the BP spill that is not being done by many others.  See Full Review

TWA: Flight 800

Documentary 2013 PG-13 1hr 31m. This provocative documentary examines the fate of TWA Flight 800 to Paris, France, which exploded in 1996 just minutes after takeoff from New York, and includes interviews with official investigators who claim that the catastrophe was no accident.  See Full Review

Were Not Broke

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 20m. In this searing exposé, filmmakers explore the discontent of activists fed up with a government that allows U.S. corporations to skip out on paying their fair share of taxes, leaving consumers to shoulder the brunt of a great recession.

Let’s Make Money

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 47m Let’s Make Money is not about how to make money. This film traces money as it goes through the global finance system — exposing policies and practices affecting the worldwide economy. This film is about the billions, trillions of dollars that go to selfish human greed and not to basic human need. This shows the planetary marketplace from all perspectives: wealthy investors, business owners, bankers, laborers, activists, government officials, impoverished people — from all around the globe. See Full Review

American Hustle

Docudrama 2013 R. This fictionalization of the “Abscam” (Arab scam) scandal of the early 1980s follows con man Irving Rosenfeld and his lover, Sydney Prosser, as they help an eccentric FBI agent expose corruption among several members of Congress in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The opening screen states:  “Some of this actually happened.” Christian Bale is hilarious and occasionally heart-wrenching as a con-man trying to make it big; Amy Adams is alluring as his mistress and partner; Bradley Cooper plays an FBI agent who exudes ambition and greed; and Jennifer Lawrence is excellent as an unbalanced wife.  And then you throw in a likeable mayor (Jeremy Renner) who believes he’s helping his city, corrupt politicians, and the mob. It deftly balances humor and serious drama. This is a silly, fun, and funny film with great acting and good dialogue.

Slavery in the Chocolate Industry

Documentary 46 min. Although slavery is no longer legal there are still millions of people living in slavery today. One place and industry where slaves still exist is the cocoa industry. This documentary takes a deeper look at that industry with disturbing and challenging eyes.

Link to watch Slavery in the Chocolate Industry online free

Wikisecrets

Documentary Frontline 2011 NR. Intelligence analyst Bradley Manning set off a firestorm of controversy when he released millions of classified documents to the WikiLeaks Web site in 2010. “Frontline” investigates this enigmatic figure’s motives and the fallout of his actions. It’s the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history-the leaking of more than half-a-million classified documents on the Wikileaks website in the spring of 2010. Behind it all, stand two very different men: Julian Assange, the Internet activist and hacker who published the documents, and an Army intelligence analyst named Bradley E. Manning, who’s currently charged with handing them over. Private Manning allegedly leaked the secret cables — along with a controversial video — in the hope of inciting “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms.” Assange’s stated mission has been to force the U.S. and other governments into maximum transparency through his whistle-blowing website. Through in-depth interviews with Manning’s father, Assange, and others close to the case, veteran Frontline correspondent Martin Smith tells the full story behind the leaks. He also reports on the U.S. government’s struggle to protect national security information in a post 9/11 world.

Julian Assange: A Modern Day Hero?
Inside the World of WikiLeaks

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 30m. Radical and unapologetic, Australian publisher and journalist Julian Assange created massive controversy in 2010 by making public a flood of secret correspondence among U.S. government agencies via the WikiLeaks internet whistleblower website. As this comprehensive and unbiased examination of Assange’s career illustrates, he was already engaged in distributing “secret” information in the public interest before the revelations that made him world famous. The repeated heading used in the film is “Courage is Contageous.”

Underground:
The Julian Assange Story

Docudrama 2012 NR 1hr 34m. Before becoming the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange was a hacker, one of a group that broke into the networks of some powerful organizations.  This is an immensely interesting look at the controversial computer hacker that presents a very compelling case for the appropriateness of his actions in exposing the US military to public scrutiny. Young Assange’s hacking resulted in discoveries that developed into a quest to reveal the truth about otherwise clandestine actions of the US military. I have been familiar with Wikileaks and the name Julian Assange for years but after seeing Julian’s story, his level of dedication to TRUTH and the peoples’ right to know it, Julian Assange became a genuine hero figure to me and is someone worthy of respect. His dedication and single mindedness is admirable as he has applied this toward positive change. I happen to agree with his philosophy regarding transparency. I’d say we all and especially those who believe in the truth movement owe him a great deal.  It is interesting to see his metamorphosis from a teenager to an adult, how the ideological and technical concept of Wikileaks emerged, and that ultimately Julian Assange has idealistic virtues influencing his actions, regardless of if those actions are legal or morally “right” (depending on who is judging). The most significant drama in the film is the birth of the internet and the battles, legal and ethical, between law enforcement and a new form of protest and rebellion carried out not in the streets but in bedrooms lit only by the glow from a monitor. Assange and his hacking buddies serve as catalysts that ignite the warfare and in doing so begin a long and still unresolved debate regarding the rightness of hacking and leaking information.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

Documentary 2011 NR. 1hr 42m. Big Boys Gone Bananas!* is the follow-up to the 2009 film titled simply BANANAS!*, the true story about a Swedish filmmaker and a banana corporation. This fascinating new documentary follows the battle between the Swedish filmmakers and the fruit giant Dole Food Company, which conducted a legal and publicity campaign against the filmmakers to prevent the showing of their first film about a lawsuit won in Los Angeles against the company for its use of banned pesticides in Nicaragua that make field workers sterile. What is a big corporation capable of in order to protect its brand? Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten’s experienced this recently: dirty tricks, lawsuits, manipulation, at the price of free speech.  This film is a must-watch (even if you haven’t seen the original film BANANAS!*) about just how powerful multi-national corporations are, and how the media continues to fail the public or worse than that, deceive and lull us into complacency. American media has been corrupted by corporate power through corporate ownership, corporate advertising, and global corporations who threaten to pull advertising if investigative journalism displeases them. In 1998 the Cincinatti Enquirer did an expose of hometown Chiquita Corp. similar to Gertten’s BANANAS!*, but Chiquita forced them to scrub the story, fire the two reporters, pay $15 million to Chiquita, and run a headline apologizing to Chiquita. Shame on you Dole. This Big Boys Gone Bananas!* is a David vs. Goliath, showing filmmaker Gertten fighting for the right of documentary filmmakers to do what they feel is right, and that is to expose bad practices of big corporations. Unfortunately Goliath always has more money because the big corporations targeted have deep pockets to file lawsuits, in this case to sue to keep the film from being seen. Dole has 75,000 employees in 90 countries, and earns seven billion dollars a year, making them the biggest food company in the world. “So the stage is set. In one corner, Dole the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, fortified with high-priced attorneys and spin-doctors. In the other corner, a Swedish independent filmmaker, armed with his conviction of what is right. What are the odds he’ll win?”  See Full Review

Bananas!*

Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. Nicaraguan laborers are paying a high price health-wise while working to get cheap bananas onto the world’s tables, and Southern California personal injury lawyer Juan Dominguez has decided to do something about it. This film tells his story. Swedish director Fredrik Gertten follows Dominguez as he takes on corporate giants Dole Food and Dow Chemical on behalf of 10,000 banana workers made ill by a pesticide used in Nicaraguan plantations years after it was banned in the States. This 2009 film titled BANANAS!* was followed by a sequel film two years later in 2011 titled Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

The Ambassador
(Ambassadøren)

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 37m. Filmmaker Mads Brügger poses as a diplomat in central Africa and secretly films his wheeling and dealing in a corrupt society. With forged diplomatic papers he claims to be opening a match factory, but tries to gain access to the area’s diamonds. Follow this mind-boggling documentary through hidden cameras as Danish journalist Mads Brugger becomes an ambassador to the Central African Republic. Mads has a look somewhere between Hunter Thompson and Mike Meyer. Via dubious sources and graft he is able to acquire authentic documentation making him an actual ambassador with diplomatic privilege. Mads travels to a country that is one of the most dangerous places in the world to arrange to smuggle blood diamonds out of Africa. There he meets a crew of other dubious Ambassadors who are more than willing to discuss the in and outs and dangers of their business, which he films via hidden camera. He forms an illegal contract with a mine owner, and Mads hands over 15 million Francs, unsure if he will ever see the miner again. One of his key sources, the chief of security for the government, is then assassinated. Definitely a good watch and different than most anything else you will ever see.

Inside Job

Documentary 2010 PG-13 108 minutes. Director Charles Ferguson clearly maps out the origins of the global economic meltdown of 2008, how it could have been prevented, how it could have been lessened. This sobering, Oscar-winning documentary presents in comprehensive yet cogent detail the pervasive and deep-rooted corruption that led to the economic crisis of 2008. Through unflinching interviews with key financial insiders, politicos, journalists and academics, Ferguson paints a galling portrait of an unfettered financial system run amok — without accountability. Actor Matt Damon narrates. The analysis is piercing and relentlessly thorough. It lays out the problems with the financial industry, how it effects the entire world, addresses what should be done, and the difficulty getting anything done. “Best documentary I have seen! Impeccably done! I am recommending this to everyone I know. Everyone on the planet should watch this film.” See Full Review

The Tillman Story

Documentary 2010 R 95 minutes. Pat Tillman’s family comes forward to tell the real story about what happened on April 22, 2004, in Afghanistan when the pro football player-turned-U.S. soldier was killed by friendly fire and not the Taliban, as first reported. Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary pieces together the Tillmans’ search for the truth, how they exposed a military cover-up that led to top-ranking officers and called to the carpet the likes of Donald Rumsfeld.

The Billionaires’ Tea Party

Documentary 2010 NR 54 m. Filmmaker Taki Oldham imbeds himself in the Tea Party groups Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks, revealing how corporations and the Koch Brothers engineered these fake grassroots called “Astroturf” organizations designed to look like organic grassroots movements.

Please Remove Your Shoes

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 33m. This troubling documentary examines the Transportation Security Administration’s role as protector of the American skies, raising questions about the disturbing gap between the federal agency’s avowed purpose and actual airport safety since 9/11. See Full Review

GasLand

Documentary 2010 NR 107 minutes. In this Oscar-nominated documentary, director Josh Fox journeys across America to examine the negative effects of natural-gas drilling, from poisoned water sources to kitchen sinks that burst into flames to unhealthy animals and people.

Split Estate

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 16m. The struggle between preserving public health and public treasures and satisfying the economy’s never-ending hunger for new energy sources is played out in the scenic landscape of Garfield County, Colo. Narrated by Ali MacGraw, the film details the oil and natural gas industry’s legacy of environmental damage and pollution in Colorado and elsewhere, as well as residents’ battle to protect their health and their clean water supplies.

Living Downstream

Documentary 2010 NR. This award-winning documentary follows ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. No one wants to live in a polluted area that will very likely harm them and their children. Yet, through greed and corruption of local, state and federal governments and courts biased toward corporate interests aimed at deflecting accountablility covering up and misrepresenting the actual magnitude of these man-made disasters, that is exactly what a large sector of Americans are made to do.

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Documentary National Film Board of Canada (NFB) 2011 NR 1hr 37m. In showing the real story of breast cancer, this film explores who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns: the cause or the company. It documents how some companies use pink-ribbon-related marketing to increase sales while contributing only a small fraction of proceeds to the cause. Some companies manufacturing products that may be cancer-producing (carcinogenic) use Pink Ribbons to improve their public image. The pink-ribbon movement thus far has done more for marketing than for medicine. See Full Review

Plunder: The Crime of Our Time

Documentary 2009 NR 100 minutes. Filmmaker and media critic Danny Schechter explores how the current financial crisis was built on a foundation of criminal activity, uncovering the connection between the collapse of the housing market and the economic catastrophe that followed. To get the real story, Schechter — aka “the News Dissector” — interviews bankers, economists, journalists and even a convicted white-collar criminal who blew the whistle on dishonest business practices. This film is very descriptive and accurately portrays the economic events that lead us to the dire situation we are in now. As a business student myself, I can attest to the facts presented in this film – as they are being taught to me currently in study. I did not find it to be biased, but can understand why others thought it to be. The film takes no prisoners, nor should it. People should be outraged by what has taken place. Corporate America was given the keys to the car via deregulation, and their greed ran it off the road. I don’t know where America is headed, and I wouldn’t dare guess. But if enough people watch this film and do their homework, then maybe we can avoid the mistakes of yesterday.

The Most Dangerous Man in America
Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Documentary 2009 NR 94 minutes. Revisiting a pivotal point in American history, this documentary chronicles Pentagon insider Daniel Ellsberg’s daring endeavor to leak top-secret government papers that disclosed shocking truths about the Vietnam War and Nixon’s presidency.

The Cartel

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 32m. In his first feature film, director Bob Bowdon takes aim at America’s public school system, revealing a self-serving network of wasteful cartels that squander funding and fail to deliver when it comes to academic testing and basic skills. Both parents and teachers want change, but reform is an uphill battle in the face of heel-digging bureaucrats and so-called “dropout factories.” It’s a bona fide crisis that’s burgeoning out of control. Explains in detail how Teachers Unions are killing our public education system. The NJEA is too big, to powerful, and too corrupt, and needs to be dissolved here in NJ. Only then will education reform begin. Only then will the money find its way to the classroom, the good teachers, and most importantly…the kids. Some of the firsthand stories that are told are downright sickening, but the truth must come out.Thank god for people like Bob Bowden who are not afraid to stand up and expose the corruption and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.This movie is a MUST-SEE for all American taxpayers – even if you don’t have a school age child. Related films are “Waiting for Superman” and “The Lottery”.

The World According to Monsanto
(Le Monde Selon Monsanto)

Documentary 2008. Directed by Marie-Monique Robin. Originally released in French, the film is based on Robin’s three-year long investigation into the US agricultural giant Monsantocorporation’s practices around the world. The World According to Monsanto is also a book written by Marie-Monique Robin winner of the Rachel Carson Prize (a Norwegian prize for female environmentalists).

The War on Democracy

Documentary 2007 NR 1hr 33m. Journalist and documentarian John Pilger focuses on the ambivalent role played by the United States in promoting Latin American democracy, suggesting that American leaders have often favored oppressive regimes over more democratic alternatives. Pilger outlines the last five decades of political manipulation by the CIA and other U.S. agencies, focusing in particular on recent efforts to unseat the populist Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. See Full Review

John Perkins: Speaking Freely Vol. 1

Lecture 2007 NR. Author and former economic consultant John Perkins takes aim at himself, confessing his shameful role in helping organizations such as World Bank and the IMF drive poor nations into crippling debt while enriching U.S. corporations. His social conscience awakened, Perkins finally got fed up and quit his job. Now, he runs a successful nonprofit group that works to help indigenous peoples protect and strengthen their environments and cultures. See Full Review

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Documentary 2006 PG 91 minutes. Amid a volatile climate of ever-changing gas prices, this documentary delves into the short life of the GM EV1 electric car — a fuel-efficient auto that was once all the rage in the mid-1990s and now has fallen by the roadside. How could such a green-friendly vehicle fail to transform lives? Through interviews with government officials, former GM employees and concerned celebs, filmmaker Chris Paine seeks to find out. See Full Review

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Documentary 2005 R 110 minutes. Based on the book of the same name by Peter Elkin, director Alex Gibney’s documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the powerful energy company whose downfall forever changed the landscape of the business world.

The Battle of Chernobyl

Documentary 2005. The Battle of Chernobyl describes the Thursday 26th April 1986 that became a momentous date in modern history, when one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine, exploded. For the next seven months, 500,000 men waged hand-to-hand combat with an invisible enemy, radiation, to prevent a second explosion ten times more powerful than Hiroshima which would have wiped out more than half of Europe. It was the most significant reactor failure in the history of nuclear power, a Maximum Credible Accident (MCA). The plant, just 20 km away from the town center, was made up of four reactor units each generating an output of 1,000 megawatts. The reactor in question exploded due to operational errors and inadequate safety measures and the meltdown was directly linked to routine testing on the reactor unit’s turbine generators. The test required reactor activity and the thermal reactor output to be run down to a lower level. During the procedure, however, the reactor plummeted to an unexpectedly low and unstable level of activity. At this point, it should have been shut down; as the operators chose to continue with the test, the events subsequently proved to be catastrophic. More than 200 people died or were seriously injured by radiation exposure immediately after the explosion. 161,000 people had to be evacuated from a 30 kilometer radius of the reactor and 25,000 square km of land were contaminated. As time went on millions of people suffered radiation related health problems such as leukemia and thyroid cancer and around 4,000 people have died as a result of the long-term effects of the accident. Nobody was prepared for such a crisis. For the next seven months, 600,000 men waged hand-to-hand combat with an invisible enemy – a ruthless battle that has gone unsung, which has killed 13,000 of these unnamed and now almost forgotten heroes. Yet, it is thanks to these men that the worst was avoided; a second explosion, ten times more powerful than Hiroshima which would have wiped out more than half of Europe. This was kept secret for twenty years by the Soviets and the West alike. The total number of people killed and disabled by Chernobyl was never realized because of a cover-up by the soviets. See Full Review

Link to watch Battle of Chernobyl online free

Giuliani Time

Documentary 2005 NR 1hr 58m. Rudy Giuliani catapulted to international fame (that had even Queen Elizabeth fawning over him) upon helming the post-9/11 relief effort. The former mayor of New York City is also credited with cleaning up the streets of the Big Apple during the 1990s. But Kevin Keating’s exposé tells a different story — one of First Amendment transgressions and police brutality — through interviews with legal experts, activists and even the homeless.

Libby, Montana

Documentary 2005 NR 124 minutes. For nearly 30 years, residents of the quaint town of Libby, Mont., worked for the multinational corporation W.R. Grace, mining and processing an insulation product known as vermiculite. Little did they know, they were risking their lives. This compelling documentary follows the plight of these courageous Americans as they band together to lift one another up from throes of illness and take on the all-powerful corporation. WR Grace corporation disregarded safety concerns that led to death and damage of a whole town. They then declared bankruptcy and left the bill to the government. Ronald Reagan placed Mr. Grace in charge of a federal position to trim the size of the government, thereby preventing anyone in power from actually taking action or easily ruling against Grace. The story of Libby, its residents and the workers of Grace Co. is moving, infuriating and a real indictment of the deregulation spree of the Reagan years, continued by Bush One, not helped much by Clinton, and taken to an obscene extreme by Bush Two. It is one more important documentation of the failure of Free-Market Gone Wild. An especially timely documentary when Republican and Tea Party stooges whine that corporations need weaker environmental laws. WR Grace, a US multi-national corporation, knowingly exposes a trusting community of workers and their families to asbestos for over 40 years, then shifts billions in assets to avoid liability. One expert says you expect environmental travesties of this magnitude in poor countries, but not in the US.  It’s a lesson in just how bad things get without strong government intervention. The film concerns the biggest environmental-crime prosecution in U.S. history. Isn’t it odd that everyone knows of BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, yet most of us are unaware of how The Grace Corporation left a Montana town to die. I lived in Libby from age 12 to 20.See Full Review

WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception

Documentary 2004 NR 90 minutes. Independent investigative reporter and filmmaker Danny Schechter’s documentary focuses on how the media mistakenly shaped people’s views of the Iraq War through their intense coverage from the war’s inception through February 2004. Schechter’s film examines provocative theories such as the Pentagon’s involvement in media messages, how new methods such as satellites and embedded journalists distorted media coverage, and the competition between media outlets.

Unprecedented
The 2000 Presidential Election

Documentary 2002 UR 49 minutes. Filmmakers Joan Sekler and Richard Ray Perez rehash the dramatic events of the 2000 presidential election, exposing a chain of incidents they claim led up to the battle for the presidency in Florida and the undermining of democracy in America. Narrated by Peter Coyote, this revealing documentary examines an allegedly suspicious pattern of irregularities, injustices and voter purges — all in a state governed by the winning candidate’s brother. See Full Review

Blue Vinyl

Documentary 2002 NR 98 minutes. In this sardonic but sobering exposé, activist filmmakers Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold reveal the potentially toxic effects of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used in everything from cars to water mains to toys. Armed with a piece of blue vinyl siding, Helfand and Gold head to Louisiana — America’s vinyl-manufacturing capital — and to Italy, where bigwigs from a PVC-producing company stand accused of manslaughter in a landmark case.

Erin Brockovich

Docudrama 2000 R 131 minutes. Julia Roberts earned an Oscar in this unconventional drama based on actual events for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich, a twice-divorced mother of three who sees an injustice, takes on the bad guy and wins — with a little help from her push-up bra. She develops a case against PG&E; for poisoning the water of the community of Hinkley, CA, with the carcinogen, hexavalent chromium.

Con Artist

Documentary 2009 NR 84 minutes. With this documentary, Michael Sladek chronicles the rise and fall of Mark Kostabi, the infamous contemporary artist who rose to acclaim in the 1980s by openly lampooning and exploiting the art industry with a series of attention-grabbing gimmicks. Taking aim at what he saw as the commoditization of modern-day art, Kostabi caused a stir in the art world when he decided to mass-produce and sell artworks that he himself had no hand in creating.

Silent Spring

Documentary 1993 NR 56 minutes. Rachel Carson’s tireless devotion to nature would make her the godmother to the environmental movement. In this “American Experience” presentation, Carson’s groundbreaking best-seller Silent Spring and its tremendous impact are explored. The book’s focus on the dangers of synthetic pesticides — specifically DDT — on the environment set off an outcry that led to a ban on the substances and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wall Street

Drama 1987 126 min. Stone takes a critical look at casino capitalism as practiced in America and the culture of greed in the Reagan era. An unscrupulous Wall Street broker breaks all the rules on his way to fame and fortune until a disillusioned protege finally blows the whistle. Dir. Oliver Stone. With Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen. English. Color.

All the President’s Men

Docudrama 1976 PG 139 minutes. The film that launched a thousand journalism school students, All the President’s Men chronicles how the work of reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) contributed to the public downfall of President Richard M. Nixon. The duo connected a Washington, D.C., hotel break-in with a Nixon “dirty tricks” team assigned to discredit Democratic rivals, launching a series of tense events that forced Nixon to resign. This story of the exposure of the Watergate break-in and subsequent coverup by two Washington Post reporters focuses attention on the inves­tigative journalism that has done so much to make Americans skeptical and even cynical about their nation’s institutions.

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

Documentary 1932 NR 93 minutes. Paul Muni stars in director Mervyn LeRoy’s gritty prison exposé based on Robert E. Burns’s memoirs. Returning war veteran James Allen descends into darkness when his architectural aspirations dissolve and he’s incarcerated on bogus robbery charges.

FRONTLINE

Inside the Tobacco Deal

Documentary Frontline 1998. Frontline goes inside the tobacco deal, telling the intriguing tale of how a group of small-town lawyers from the nation’s poorest state brought Big Tobacco to the bargaining table. Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman follows the trail of confidential Brown & Williamson documents that were leaked, examines the role of former presidential adviser Dick Morris in shaping Clinton’s stance on tobacco, and reveals new information about the government’s criminal case against the tobacco industry.

Smoke in the Eye

Documentary Frontline 1996. Frontline investigates the war between network news and the tobacco industry in the wake of the $10 billion libel suit against ABC and the controversial decision by CBS not to allow 60 Minutes to air an explosive interview with a tobacco company whistle-blower. As media companies increasingly come under the control of large corporations, will their newsrooms continue to aggressively report on corporate America?

Secrets of a Bomb Factory

Documentary Frontline 1993. Wes McKinley didn’t know what he was getting into when, in 1990, he was chosen as foreman of a special grand jury investigating potential crimes at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado. But what McKinley and the other grand jurors learned in their two-and-one-half years of listening to testimony and examining other evidence disturbed them enough to risk prosecution themselves by going public. Frontline, in co-production with Oregon Public Broadcasting, examines what the grand jury learned and what led to their rebellion.

See also:

Films on Coverups

Films on Whistleblowers

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