The true story of Jeffrey Wigand, a tobacco executive who
blew the whistle on the industry's most dangerous secrets.
The Insider (1999)
Directed by Michael Mann
Written by Eric Roth and Michael Mann
Starring Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diana Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, Colm Feore, Bruce McGill
Based on the article "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
by Marie Brenner
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Russell Crowe),
Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography,
Best Film Editing, Best Sound
For most of the twentieth century, the tobacco industry was untouchable in this country. Big Tobacco called the shots, made policy, and did so with impunity. Anybody who dared take them on lost everything and became a lesson to the next one. Then Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) had a moment of clarity and a change of heart. He was the VP of research and development at the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, and after he was fired for voicing concerns about a new product, he went to 60 Minutes and did an interview with Mike Wallace (Plummer) that completely uprooted his entire life and made him the biggest enemy of Big Tobacco. This is his story.
The Insider is an eye-opening thriller that takes you through the most tumultuous time in Wigand's life. He was stalked, threatened, sued, slandered, and ruined financially by Brown & Williamson. Through it all, 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Pacino) pressed to make sure Wigand's story was seen and heard. Watching Crowe and Pacino go head to head was a treat, and Michael Mann's expert direction keeps the audience invested from beginning to end. The story is crazy, and so morally corrupt that it doesn't seem real at times.
The results of Wigand's interview saw the court of public opinion forever change peoples' thoughts on cigarettes and nicotine. Plus, it highlighted the lengths that the tobacco companies were willing to go to silence whistleblowers, from destroying their careers to threatening their families. This film is a must-see for its awesome ensemble, its tense screenplay, and some truly satisfying moments for the free press.