Top 5 Movies Inspired by Real-Life Scandals
Scandals are something that appear to happen more frequently than we might expect. From conspiracies involving the highest forms of government, to businesses doing anything they can to absolve themselves from responsibility and even law enforcement doing whatever they can to protect the officers from the public; scandals are everywhere these days. Movies and television have drawn inspiration from such real-life events and the movies on this list reflect the very scandals that were brought to life on the big screen. Not only are these movies well made, but they display great acting, tense writing and above all else, plays pretty close to the real-life events that inspired them. So, let’s name these five great movies that inspire the detective in all of us.
A name that lives in infamy, Erin Brockovich is an ordinary woman who did an unbelievable thing. She brought a major corporation to its knees and without having a law degree, they became fearful of her. The movie draws inspiration from the Hinkley groundwater contamination that became a national story after Erin Brockovich uncovered troubling documents that linked Pacific Gas and Electric Company to this scandal that threatened the lives of numerous families living in Hinkley, California. While the movie is more of a biographical film about the Erin Brockovich, we are introduced to this single mother who was at odds with keeping the bills paid. She finds works at a law firm and without having a law degree follows up on something that became one of the largest class action suits in the state of California. This movie is inspiring for all women and those who don’t have a fancy degree further proving that an average person can see when something is so wrong. From the excellent direction, an Oscar Winning Performance by Julia Roberts and a powerful story at heart, Erin Brockovich is a story that engages the audience in learning more about their community and standing up to the big corporations who think they are above the law.
All The President’s Men
The case that shook the world which in turn led to the only President in American History to resign office prior to being impeached is the infamous Watergate Scandal. President Richard Nixon became the focus of an encompassing investigation that was led by Washington Post Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their quest to uncover the truth as to why the Democratic National Committee was burglarized during the night of June 17, 1972. At first, the story didn’t appear that important but after the two reporters are assigned to the case, it would become of the greatest scandals ever perpetrated at the hands of an American President. The movie takes us on a wild journey of painstaking investigation, verifying information from countless sources and the suspicions of being followed or surveilled at the hands of the people that the reporters are investigating! For those who are interested in becoming reporters, this is the essential movie to watch and it accurately details the daily workings of the press. Not only is this film a masterpiece, but the story that inspired it is all the more shocking.
Being a cop is any child’s dream but once on the force, the glamour can quickly slip away revealing a harsh and cruel reality that could result in you becoming the target. Al Pacino stars as Frank Serpico, the cop in the NYPD who was regarded as the “most dangerous man alive” simply because he was an honest cop. During the 1960s, the NYPD was rife with corruption. Suspects were beaten in order to coerce confessions; bribes were disturbed so that officers would look the other way so criminals could run free while engaging in illegal activities and some of those officers lived well beyond their means in relation to their salary. Frank Serpico refused to take a bribe and always did his job by the book. For that, Serpico became the target of corrupted officers in the NYPD. Al Pacino worked closely with Frank Serpico to prepare for the role and his performance here is perhaps one of the major highlights of his career. Serpico just wanted to be an honest cop and follow the law. He enforced the law as it was required and, in the end, he was almost killed as a result. After serving eleven years on the force, Frank became a witness and offered evidence that led to the Knapp Commission to investigate the corruption that plagued the NYPD. Frank Serpico’s story is a reminder that there are good cops out there and their lives are at risk the very same as the civilians who live in the city that the police are sworn to protect.
Everyone remembers Teflon. Most notably, the nonstick frying pans that were in every kitchen in America. Robert Billot was a corporate defense lawyer who defended chemical companies from being sued that is until a farmer entered his office and demanded he look at the evidence that he brought to him. This farmer had video that displayed disturbing footage of his cows becoming horribly infected with tumors and dying at an alarming rate. The farmers claim that DuPont was to blame for the deaths of his cows, one-hundred and ninety to be exact. Reluctant at first, Billot decides to take on his case and investigate. What ensues is a year’s long battle that uncovers the inner workings of DuPont and how their actions threatened the lives of thousands of people. The chemicals that DuPont manufactures are revealed to be harmful to humans and the water supply itself is contamination with those so-called “forever chemicals”. Billot and his firm take on the case and we see just how long an investigation of this magnitude can take. Much like Erin Brockovich, this is a movie about an individual’s pursuit of the truth and the lengths that a company will go to refrain from responsibility and to ensure their own power. This is a case that not only impacted the state of West Virigina, but the world entire. Dark Waters put the blame squarely at the company’s feet and the thrill of watching this movie should empower us to take action when something is gravely wrong.
In 2002, the world was shocked to learn the intricate workings of the Catholic Church and how they actively participated in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic Priests. The Boston Globe’s investigative journalist unit known as “Spotlight” was familiar with the allegations that were made against priests in the Boston area and after a new managing editor named Marty Baron reads stories regarding this he urges the Spotlight team to investigate. Rather than prove if the priests were guilty, Marty wanted to know if the Archdiocese of Boston was aware of the problem and what measures were taken in order to deal with the allegations. What transpires is a groundbreaking story involving hundreds of priests and even more children who were abused at the hands of these pedophiles. Spotlight takes the audience in the investigative steps in uncovering the truth. From the interviews with victims, consulting with lawyers who were involved in representing the victims and or the priests, to the final report that was published on the front page of the Boston Globe, Spotlight is one of the most rewarding and encapsulating movies of the 21st century. Displaying an intelligent script, deft direction and powerful acting, Spotlight is the modern-day version of All The President’s Men of investigative journalism. It’s an emotional movie about a traumatic event that affected children and families all over the world and not just Boston. Their investigation opened the eyes of the world and the Catholic Church has never been looked at the same ever since that report was published back in 2002.
What are your favorite movies inspired by real-life scandals? Let us know!