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Directed by Michael Mann

United States 1999 157 mins. In English

A scalding exposé of big tobacco, government lobbying practices, and the methods that power will leverage to silence its critics, Mann’s most critically-acclaimed film focuses on Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe in an Oscar-nominated turn), a big tobacco whistleblower whose troubling claims about his employer, Brown & Williamson (now part of tobacco conglomerate Reynolds American Inc.), are investigated by 60 Minutes’ power producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino). Wigand, threatened by the B&W legal—and extralegal—machine, and Bergman, blocked in by CBS corporate policy and a tumultuous media landscape, must work together to get the story out despite Wigand’s deep, almost paranoiac distrust in the media. “One of the film’s canniest qualities is the manner in which it folds conspiratorial intrigue into processes we tend to think of as silently efficient and unmitigated by outside pressures, from broadsheet reportage at a major national newspaper to the recording of disposition in an ordinary court of law: Here the checks and balances on which we rely for the sanctity of the system are themselves subject to coercion from sources with money and power, and any man intent on confronting this kind of injustice is liable to be paid off, silenced, or worse.”—Calum Marsh, Slant Magazine.

Genres: Drama

Appears in: Print the Legend



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.