7 Movies Based on Amazing Journalism

Not only did Spotlight take home the Oscars’ top honor for Best Picture, but the film underscores the importance of high-quality, investigative journalism. Hungry for more? Here are seven movies that are based on reported articles from newspapers and magazines, and the real life stories that inspired them.

1

The Bling Ring

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Sofia Coppola based her 2013 release on Nancy Jo Sales’s Vanity Fair feature about a group of California teenagers who broke into celebrities’ houses to steal more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon.


2

Argo

argo
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This 2013 Best Picture winner is based on Joshuah Bearman’s Wired article about how CIA operatives posed as producers on a fake science fiction film to rescue captured American diplomats in Tehran.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon.


3

Almost Famous

almost-famous
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Cameron Crowe’s 2001 Best Original Screenplay winner is actually adapted from his experiences reporting on the Allman Brothers for Rolling Stone as a teenager in the late 1970s.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon.



4

Bernie

bernie
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This quirky retelling of the circumstances around the 1996 murder of an 80-year-old Texas millionaire is based on Skip Hollandsworth’s feature for Texas Monthly. Hollandsworth also co-wrote the screenplay. The movie actually resulted in the alleged murderer, Bernie Tiede, being released from his life sentence on the condition that he live with Richard Linklater, the movie’s director.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon.


5

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

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A 2008 Washington Post profile on Eugene Allen, an African-American man who served as the White House butler for 34 years, inspired this story documenting social and political change throughout the 20th century.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon.


6

Concussion

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Jeanne Marie Laskas’s expose for GQ fueled this 2015 film’s story on the NFL’s attempts to hide research on how football players’ repeated concussions could cause long term brain damage.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon (available March 15, 2016).



7

Zodiac

zodiac
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This thrilling mystery is based on the newsroom interactions between Robert Graysmith, a political cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle, and Paul Avery, his crime reporter colleague, during their investigations of the chilling Zodiac serial killer.

Read the reporting.
Rent or buy on Amazon.