Top 10 Whistleblower Movies



Top 10 Whistleblower Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by George Cimurt.

You can't help but love the people that risked it all to blow the lid off corruption – on the big screen, at least. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 whistleblower movies. For this list, we'll be looking at the most critically-acclaimed and memorable films that feature characters blowing the lid off corruption, misconduct and dishonesty by the big guys. These characters brought the major corporations to justice and brought their movies to thrilling heights.

Special thanks to our user Georgiano for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by George Cimurt.

Top 10 Whistleblower Movies

You can’t help but love the people that risked it all to blow the lid off corruption – on the big screen, at least. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 whistleblower movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most critically-acclaimed and memorable films that feature characters blowing the lid off corruption, misconduct and dishonesty by the big guys.

#10: “The Informant!” (2009)

Based on the true story of Mark Whitacre, the highest-ranking executive whistleblower in American history, this crime comedy sees Matt Damon take on the role of the bland and mild vice president of one of the United States’ biggest corporations. When Whitacre finds out his company is involved in global price-fixing that has cost consumers billions, it’s not long before he spills the beans and is recruited as an informant for the FBI...but is he all that innocent himself? This fascinating Steven Soderbergh thriller keeps us guessing as Damon keeps us watching.

#9: “Silkwood” (1983)

Starring legends like Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, and Cher, this is the life story of Karen Silkwood, an average, everyday woman who works at a nuclear plant. When the company begins to cut corners and employees begin to work overtime, Silkwood realizes that the compromises being made are hazardous and that lives are being endangered. However, upon standing up to the union officials, she finds that they are more worried about publicity than safety. Streep disappears completely into her role based on the real-life nuclear power whistleblower, and was Oscar-nominated for her efforts.

#8: “The Constant Gardener” (2005)

When Justin Quayle, played by a forceful Ralph Fiennes, finds out that his wife, an opinionated humanitarian and activist, has been slain, he refuses to accept the obvious and begins to investigate what really happened. As he does so, he uncovers a conspiracy linked to a powerful drug corporation and the local Foreign Office, and as the truth comes out, he finds himself picking up where his wife left off. Racking up BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominations, this is one drama thriller that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

#7: “The China Syndrome” (1979)

As lauded for the brilliant performances as the story itself, this thriller follows a nuclear plant employee, a reporter, and a cameraman who find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that could potentially kill thousands of people. It all starts when the shift supervisor, played by a hesitant and Oscar-nominated Jack Lemmon, uncovers that an earthquake at the nuclear plant where he works is actually a symptom of something much more deadly. When a cameraman, played by Michael Douglas, gets involved by secretly filming the control room and records something dangerous, it is up him, the cautious supervisor, and Jane Fonda’s reporter to expose the risk before a meltdown occurs.

#6: “Michael Clayton” (2007)

With the incomparable George Clooney in the leading role, and with Tilda Swinton winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, this film takes us into the dark world of an attorney who doubles as a “fixer” for a powerful law firm, benefiting his clients with his shadowy business practices. When a client of the firm he works for is sued after it’s discovered to be involved in the production of a carcinogenic weed killer, Michael must decide whose side he is on and who to believe as the corruption and secrecy spiral out of control.

#5: “Erin Brockovich” (2000)

In a movie based on the real-life Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts dazzles as the title character, a role for which she won the coveted Academy Award for Best Actress. Playing an everyday woman who learns that Pacific Gas & Electric has contaminated groundwater and is responsible for many illnesses and deaths, she decides to take on the multi-billion-dollar corporation at any cost. Along with the customary Hollywood coupling of romance, comedy, and intrigue, Roberts pulls off the likeable character in this whistleblower classic that Brockovich herself has cited as “probably 98% accurate.”

#4: “On the Waterfront” (1954)

Directed by Elia Kazan and based on his own often-criticized testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, this classic stars screen legend Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, a humble dockworker who stands up to his union due to the rampant violence and corruption. Packed with raw emotion and intense performances, this is one film that honors the whistleblower like no other. Often cited as one of the best American films ever and with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “On the Waterfront”’s story and characters stay with you long after you watch it.

#3: “Serpico” (1973)

When you’re divided between your desire to change the system and the prospect of becoming a squealer, what do you do? This is the dilemma that faces Al Pacino’s Serpico, an honest cop who is horrified to discover widespread dishonesty, bribery, and violence in the New York police force. After he decides to go undercover to expose the corruption, he finds himself at odds with some very powerful people. Praised for everything from its direction to its screenplay to its truthful performances, this crime drama is as compelling as it is hard to watch.

#2: “All the President’s Men” (1976)

A political thriller that sees Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star as the real-life journalists who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, this movie is all about the events that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation from the presidency. Starting with what seems to be a minor burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, the lies, cover-ups, and questions escalate as the burglars’ ties with the CIA are discovered. Combining a gripping story with actual investigative journalism, this is one film that captures the true essence of what really happened in the early ‘70s.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Firm” (1993)
- “The Pelican Brief” (1993)
- “A Few Good Men” (1992)
- “North Country” (2005)

#1: “The Insider” (1999)

This is the true story of a whistleblower whose exposure of the truth led to a $246 billion settlement of suits against the tobacco industry by every state in the U.S.A. It also happens to be one heck of a movie. Russell Crowe is perfectly cast as the man who blew the lid off the industry’s secrets, and Al Pacino is spectacular as the CBS producer who brought it to “60 Minutes” and, therefore, the world. With seven Academy Award nominations and one of Crowe’s most brilliant portrayals, it’s an inspiring story for anyone who had to bite the bullet for truth, liberty, and justice.

Do you agree with our list? Which whistleblower movies had you cheering for the protagonist? For more great top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to