One of the last films to be released in 2017, Steven Spielberg’s The Post has been a title stuck in the minds of critics and audiences long after they walked out of the theater. Telling the story of the Washington Post’s role in publishing the Vietnam War study known as the Pentagon Papers, Spielberg’s latest historical drama is right up there with the other great journalism films that have shown both the realistic and the more dramatized elements of the respected profession.
But within those prestigious rankings, where exactly does it fit? In honor of the film’s roll-out into wide release this weekend, we’ve drawn up a list of five films that best show the news industry at its most effective. Where The Post fits in is something that might surprise you, but suffice it to say, that movie has definitely earned its place in the following group.
Reporting on a scandal in your own backyard, taking place within institutions of which you’ve been a part, is never easy. The Boston Globe learned this towards the end of 2001, as they dug deep into a systematic pattern of abuse in their local Cathlolic diocese. This is the story that Spotlight focuses on, as director Tom McCarthy put together this Best Picture winner that not only showed the extremely personal interviews with the victims of the scandal, but also the simple, yet grueling, detective work that went into putting the opening expose together. Despite pressure from the church, the community, as well as fellow editors and reporters to handle the story a certain way, the titular unit of The Boston Globe stayed the course, with an end result that brought a horrifying truth to the public. Spotlight is one of the best portraits of news at its most personal, as well as its most effective.