Celluloid Justice: The Greatest Whistleblower Films Ever Conceived

Cesareo Manansala
April 2, 2021
“I know there’s things you cannot tell people. But I also know there’s a story here people will hear about it” - Mike Rezendes, “Spotlight” (2015)

There are many institutions and establishments designed to keep human principles including law, order, and spiritual faith to keep society intact. Without the presence of these institutions, civilization as we know it would falter, crumble, and gradually give way to anarchy. 

But what happens when these so-called institutions and establishments become fraught with corruption, abuse, or criminal activity themselves? No organization - be it police, government agency, company, or religious faction - built for the betterment of their fellow man is perfect. It’s the sad, true fact that a few individuals within certain organized groups partake in unethical or even illegal behaviors for their personal gain that not only undermine their own individual mission statements, but also ruin a few lives in the process. Many people within these organizations are either outright complicit within these wrongdoings, or too afraid to reveal the truth. 

Then there’s the whistleblowers: the brave souls from inside these groups who have the guts to step up against the misconduct that reeks in their environment. The men and women who have the courage to stand up against such negative issues deserve a voice. It is Whistleblower Summit’s mission to highlight and protect the whistleblowers of the world. We strive to provide global support to these individuals, and give their actions the proper recognition they deserve. Because their stories are as patriotic as the hard-fighting historical forefathers of American history before them. 

And what better way to fulfill our organizational obligations than through the persuasive power of the cinema?

For nearly a decade, the Whistleblower Summit spearheads our movement via films, by big- or small screen storytelling. It is our intention to shine light on the tales of courage as seen through the eyes of these whistleblowers. Through the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival (WSFF), we promote original pictures that depict the real stories behind the whistleblowers, and the efforts they took to expose their group’s misdirections. Our events also provide a forum for the whistleblowers themselves and the filmmakers behind the pictures, to share their experiences with both audiences and members of the press for even further widespread awareness.

As we work to prepare for our next Film Festival event, we also highlight other original films that represent the lives and experiences of notable real-life whistleblowers. Some of these have been met with considerable critical acclaim and commercial success. Here are some of the very best based whistleblower pictures ever unleashed:

Serpico (1973) - Al Pacino portrays real-life police officer Frank Serpico, whose quest to expose charges of corruption, bribery, and brutality within the New York City Police Department nearly costs him his life. Pacino, hot off his recent success from The Godfather, is dramatic dynamite as he embodies Serpico’s desire to be an honest cop caught in a rat’s nest of illegal activity among New York’s finest.

Silkwood (1983) - In this gripping true story surrounding nuclear facility workplace dangers, Meryl Streep plays Karen Silkwood, an Oklahoma power plant worker who threatened to reveal her company’s dangerous practices to the presses. Sadly, Silkwood never got her chance as she died under mysterious circumstances. Silkwood is a great cautionary story of the dangers of radiation, and how a company would go through great lengths to hide the truth.

Chasing Madoff (2010) - Corrupt investment advisor and financier Bernie Madoff stole billions of dollars from investors with his Ponzi scheme. Reporter Harry Markopolous and his fellow investigators worked to expose Madoff’s schemes in this documentary piece on one of the greatest white-collar crimes ever conceived.

Spotlight (2015) - This journalism-based true-life thriller details the pursuit of truth by the reporters of the Boston Globe as they uncover the massive child-molestation and coverup scandal deep within the local Catholic Archdiocese. Spotlight would win the Oscar for Best Picture for its fabulous depiction of journalists who use the power of the pen to unmask a terrible controversy inside the Catholic Church.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) - Decades after the events of “All the President’s Men” (a great picture in of itself), Mark Felt depicts Liam Neeson as Mark Felt - aka “Deep Throat” - the high-ranking FBI official who risked his career, reputation, and life to help expose the Watergate scandal which would rock the American political machine for years.

We at WSFF encourage all to sit and absorb these pictures as a taste of the whistleblower experience. Afterwards, we urge you to visit our website, Whistleblowersummit.com, for further details about our upcoming Film Festival and other events to keep the momentum of whistleblower recognition going for generations to come.

Speak Truth to Power

You can help give more power and voice to whistleblowers by supporting the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival. You will be helping to highlight civil and human rights violations across the globe. Call us at (870) 543-0024 or email us at mccray.michael@gmail.com.

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