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The Insider

The Insider

1999
Drama
Suspense/Thriller
2h 37m
Balls-out "60 Minutes" producer Lowell Bergman sniffs a story when a former research biologist for Brown & Williamson, Jeff Wigand, won't talk to him. When the company leans hard on Wigand to honor a confidentiality agreement, he gets his back up. Trusting Bergman and despite a crumbling marriage, he goes on camera for a Mike Wallace interview and risks arrest for contempt of court... (imdb)
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The Insider

1999
Drama
Suspense/Thriller
2h 37m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 66.96% from 4012 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(4012)
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Rated 01 Jul 2007
99
98th
Leave it to Michael Mann to make a two-and-a-half hour actionless film that remains as riveting as any summer blockbuster. Everyone in the film gets a moment to shine (Bruce McGill's verbal throatpunch in the courtroom is amazing), and that combined with career-best work from Crowe, Pacino, and Mann, and you're left with a fiery indictment not only of corporate America, but of the media that allows them to go unchecked. Devastating, beautiful, and flawless.
Rated 26 May 2008
8
82nd
Great story, great performances and great directing. It's just under 3 hours and is an actionless subject but Mann tells it in a way that is engaging and very tense. Bruce McGill is amazing in the court room scene.
Rated 27 Mar 2021
100
97th
This is up there with All the President's Men and JFK in terms of movies based on real life investigations. Just as Heat compared the drive of both cops & robbers, here Mann shows the intensity to show the world the truth that both whistleblowers & journalists have. And it helps when that intensity is performed by Pacino and Crowe. The writing is quotable, the photography claustrophobic, and the music creates a haunting chorus for the Shakespearean conflict. Highly recommended.
Rated 18 Jun 2015
91
91st
Marvelous cast. It Illustrates what happens when someone blows the whistle on the misconduct and greed of a huge corporation. A tense believable story with exceptional acting. It shows the kind of collateral damage that occurred during his seemingly futile attempt to expose a corporate behemoth, and the risks involved when revealing corporate secrets to the world. A tense and engaging drama.
Rated 16 May 2009
96
89th
Mann very well may be at the top of his culmination and he adds on to his esteemed reputation with this extraordinary film. Russel Crowe is at his pinnacle here along with the rest of the popularly and wisely selected cast. It doesn't contain any junctures of violence or vehemence at all, but somehow it leaves an insecure feeling beneath your skin. Great.
Rated 19 Nov 2009
95
96th
Mann's best film. This is the story of some of the last people, for whom concepts like "Integrity" were worth losing all for. Strikingly beautiful film, with an amazing soundtrack to boot.
Rated 22 Apr 2020
5
91st
On the unavoidable rot that seeps into a free press when tainted by corporate influence, the failure of institutions and safeguards to protect vulnerable individuals, and the moral compromises necessary just to peaceably exist in a world straining against the suffocating boundaries of global capitalism. Boy, good thing we moved past all that.
Rated 02 Sep 2012
85
94th
A director and two actors at the top of their game. All three careers have been going downhill since.
Rated 04 Mar 2007
100
99th
One of my favourite movies of all time.
Rated 22 Apr 2007
90
94th
Incredibly compelling story, well acted and well shot. The only complaint is that the music is a little overbearing.
Rated 01 Jul 2007
95
99th
Combines compelling and substantial material with arthouse sensibilities/production.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
93
91st
Terrific moviemaking - a solid feature through and through.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
86
95th
This is definitely one of the best films of 1999, and needless to say, a must-see not only because of it's message but the fact that its one of the most well-made and riveting movies in the 90s.
Rated 06 Feb 2018
85
96th
A sort of subdued Michael Mann presents a really nice piece of journalistic true-life suspense. It runs really long and it feels like some scenes are just repeats of themselves but it's still pretty amazingly well crafted and acted. Plummer is great as Mike Wallace and there are a ton of familiar faces turning in solid work.
Rated 22 Nov 2007
100
96th
Intellectual. Has it all: ethical dilemmas, great direction, great music, great acting.
Rated 09 Jun 2009
100
96th
Utter genius.
Rated 14 Feb 2016
84
88th
20,679 physicians say that the Insider is less irritating than Michael Mann's other films. It's toasted!
Rated 26 Nov 2009
99
97th
Mann's best work second only to Thief.
Rated 11 Jan 2010
90
94th
I loved this film. Pacino gives a performance of amazing passion and really does show what a master he is. I do have a problem with Crowe though as he never really convinces me no matter what the role.
Rated 28 Feb 2010
94
97th
Michael Mann's brilliance with The Insider is creating an absolutely intense thriller that is completely composed of white collar crime and devoid of any physical action scenes. That is not to say there is no action in this movie. Instead of tenacious gunfights you have political maneuverings and careful social navigation. Pacino and Crowe are both in top form and the rest of the cast are equally good. There is literally nothing about this movie that isn't enthralling.
Rated 16 Nov 2010
8
78th
'The Insider' must have been amazing for its time, I'm afraid it's not really timeless, unless you include its topic of corporate moguls unapologetically distorting the truth. Docudramas also falter as they're embellished for dramatic effect. Still, I'd feel bad if I didn't mention the sheer quality of this film: smart, engaging, with uniformly excellent performances (especially Crowe). People who get bored by this must have the attention span of a goldfish.
Rated 10 Mar 2012
88
95th
Very interesting for a true story. Despite its 2.5 hour runtime, I never felt really uninterested. The best thing about the film though is its performances. Crowe and Pacino were great, and I thought Plummer was very good.
Rated 15 Feb 2007
75
89th
Great film.
Rated 07 Jan 2022
76
66th
Well-made movie with some great scenes and good acting, but they could (and should) have cut at least 30 minutes. Started to lose my interest in the 2nd half.
Rated 30 May 2018
90
78th
Who knew playing golf in a suit could be so intimidating?
Rated 14 Aug 2007
93
89th
Simply great, and important...
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
83rd
Masterful. One of the most flawless movies out there. Superb acting, great music and an engrossing story.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
92
82nd
Superb. What happens when you put smart people together. Loved it
Rated 17 Jan 2022
4
55th
disagree with sellis re: crowe, if only because a degree of awkwardness comes with the territory of being a nerdy whistleblower with your family on one shoulder and your conscience on the other. thing does kind of feel like mann (and pacino) heroically straining against the inherently dry procedural quality of the material though, and perhaps the celluloid as well; it can't help but feel watered down and redundant in light of mann's liberating transition into digital.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
84
69th
Really good, and fascinating movie with Russell Crowe's best performance, in my opinion.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
90th
Simply of one Michael Mann's crowning achievments.
Rated 04 Dec 2021
88
95th
Seen: 2. I avoided rewatching The Insider for 20 years, due to the runtime and the lack of action to break up the politics. But I got around to it again, and I am so glad I did. This is an eye opening, rewarding experience, filled with great performances. The pace is impeccable, and the experience is never dry or too convoluted. I hope this isn't a movie that gets forgotten about.
Rated 01 Oct 2016
75
90th
Really enjoyed this movie, if I watch it again it might move up in the ratings. Could have been a little shorter.
Rated 12 Sep 2007
90
81st
Loved it great directing by Mann and an awesome performance by Crowe.
Rated 15 Oct 2007
95
82nd
Compelling and important story. Superbly acted.
Rated 22 Aug 2021
90
91st
Utterly gripping. Crowe and Pacino are both great in this and are especially explosive whenever they share the screen together. One of Pacino's best performances of the 90s to be sure. I think Michael Mann is really undervalued for the way he works with actors, he truly brings out the best in them. Also, it literally ends with a slow-motion shot of Al Pacino popping the collar on his leather jacket, as if you needed a hint that this movie is from 1999.
Rated 20 Jun 2008
84
83rd
Michael Mann thriller with the role that Crowe should've won the Oscar for. Pacino adds to the tension in this story about Big Tobacco and modern journalism converging on the life of a brilliant scientist. Worth the almost 3 hours.
Rated 19 Jun 2021
82
80th
Institutions are controlled by governments that are funded by corporations. Lowell Bergman remarks "What did I win?" You cannot win against the overwhelming tentacles of corporate influence and greed.
Rated 30 May 2017
62
75th
very interesting film. Great performance from Crowe. Blows my mind that they could get away with claiming they thought nicotine wasn't addictive - big money talks I suppose :-
Rated 29 Jul 2008
89
99th
Another great Michael Mann film with good acting all around and great visuals and score as is the norm with a Mann production. Also a great commentary about the business of the media news conglomerate and the unhappy marriage between revealing the truth and making a profit.
Rated 25 Dec 2008
75
86th
Very Nice
Rated 13 May 2009
90
95th
brilliant
Rated 16 Jun 2009
75
65th
Another very strong effort from Mann. His ability to build tension and suspense is on display here just as much as it is in Heat and Collateral, but in this film he doesn't use violence or action sequences to achieve it. (Which isn't to say that all of the tension in those films is a result of the violence and action but a large portion of it is.) The script is very good, certainly the best Eric Roth has ever had a hand in, and the leads are great. Probably my favorite Crowe performance to date.
Rated 08 Jul 2022
69
45th
Great cast, stylishly directed, fairly engaging, 40 minutes too long. Pacino dynamics = surprisingly balanced(ish).
Rated 01 Aug 2009
7
88th
A criminally underrated film, The Insider is mesmerizing thanks equally to Mann's direction and to some great performances by Pacino and Crowe. Don't be fooled by the summary with its references to confidentiality agreements and research biologists. This is not a dry and tedious legal drama. This is an excellent thriller, even better than "Collateral" which, while certainly more entertaining, also feels more contrived. Even at nearly three hours, it never overstays its welcome.
Rated 26 Sep 2009
80
85th
It's a very compelling thriller, even when there's not much happening action-wise and it leaves you wondering about the ethics of the media. Crowe did a great job in this one.
Rated 12 Oct 2009
95
98th
Mann at his best with this fantastic true story.
Rated 27 Mar 2022
97
91st
Mann at the height of his powers in the 1990s. The tobacco companies are evil bastards and in a better world their assets would be seized.
Rated 24 Aug 2015
80
89th
This is a good-ass movie in which Al Pacino is slightly more justified than usual in yelling. Christopher Plummer is the most prolific older person this side of Stan Lee. You can tell this movie was made pre-9/11 when Al Pacino gets a box from "Anonymous" covered in black tape and goes "well huh let's have a looksee at what's in here!"
Rated 30 May 2010
100
97th
Depresses the shit out of you. And then you start to roar. And finally, it roars back. Good fucking movie.
Rated 27 May 2020
80
86th
HE'S GOT A *pacino gestures his hands in a circle* GREAT SCOOP!
Rated 22 Nov 2016
65
65th
Nice journalistic nailbiter, and possibly the last worthwhile effort from Michael Mann.
Rated 15 Oct 2019
90
87th
This is Michael Mann in top form. The film is his follow-up to "Heat", and in many ways it's a companion piece. It's about two men who's life circumstances are irrevocably tied together as they mirror each other. In this film, both men must face the importance of telling the truth in face the great adversity. Both actors turn in powerful performances, and, somewhat surprisingly, Crowe is the more impressive of the two.
Rated 25 Dec 2012
75
74th
Solid Michael Mann thriller
Rated 23 May 2013
80
74th
A little bit overlong at times - you really feel like you've spent 160 minutes with these people - it's up there with All the Presidents Men in terms of a thriller. Heat will always be Mann's best work to me though
Rated 27 May 2013
85
96th
very awesome performances
Rated 06 Jul 2013
91
80th
Extremely well-played. Crowe's performance and his character's dilemma is what drives the film. A bit overlong; the latter half, with its CBS machinations and Bergman trying to get the interview on the air are not as good as the first half (but still great stuff).
Rated 28 Aug 2013
94
79th
Pacino, Crowe, and Plummer are all extremely good, and the supporting cast is all good as well. Mann turns from straight action movies and thrillers to tell a story that is more realistic and upsetting. Good work from everyone on board and well-worth a watch.
Rated 06 Dec 2013
83
85th
Mann, this was good! Terrific performances from Pacino and Crowe; compelling and nicely-paced for a two and a half-hour movie.
Rated 07 Feb 2014
75
81st
I quite like stories about journalism, so I enjoyed that. The cast was good, and Michael Mann's direction was great. It was fairly long, and I won't claim that my attention was always captured, but that doesn't necessarily mean I think it should have been any shorter. Yeah. It was good. That's all.
Rated 20 Jul 2014
80
93rd
An intelligent and intense corporate thriller that truly captures the traumatic experiences of a whistleblower in the tobacco industry. It's well written with a penetrating dialogue that centers around two very different personalities, Bergman and Wigand who both fights for what they believe in, no matter the cost. The acting is superb, like the court scene with McGill, Pacinos confrontation with CBS news or the interview scene where they again uses the soundtrack effectively.
Rated 12 Aug 2014
95
92nd
Empowered by pitch-perfect naturalistic performances and Mann's simultaneously inventive and matter-of-fact direction, this sober, exact film remains an important and topical film because it's a realistic modern rendering of the cataclysmal price of telling the truth in a world owned by mega-corporations.
Rated 18 Jan 2015
88
89th
Bruce McGill knocked it out of the park. Top notch composition & cinematography on show here too. Wouldn't mind being on the right side of those tobacco dollars though.
Rated 18 Dec 2006
70
39th
All right, I admit it. I remember very little about this movie. Is that score too high? Too low? I don't know. Why am I giving the movie a rating at all if I remember so little about it? Hell if I know.
Rated 07 Apr 2007
60
47th
Message: "Big cigarette companies care more about profits than their customers' welfare." No fuckin' shit
Rated 14 Aug 2007
82
72nd
Awesome, Crowe proves he can act drama, while the movie gives a shocking inditement on the tobacco industry.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
88
60th
very thought provoking film with excellent performances from the cast.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
83
61st
A pretty good movie, with what should have been a Oscar winning performance from Russell Crowe.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
83
50th
A little long and droll and not my kind of movie, but it is really well-made and enjoyable.
Rated 16 Sep 2007
80
89th
Really good low key thriller.
Rated 15 Oct 2007
89
71st
Great true story that should make the Tobacco execs ashamed, except they are tobacco execs so I'm sure they could care less.
Rated 15 Jun 2024
85
90th
Seemingly more and more relevant
Rated 18 Jun 2016
69
67th
What a cast! Pacino is at his best, and the portrayal of CBS's Mike Wallace is fascinating. The plot's progression degrades in the last half of the movie, but overall a well done movie.
Rated 30 Mar 2008
75
71st
The movie is good, but I think that might have been much better, since it has great actors.
Rated 31 Mar 2008
35
2nd
Very boring
Rated 04 Jun 2008
77
54th
The acting here is fantastic; this could very well be Crowe's best work to date. The only problem is that the story moves along at a snail's pace, and given the subject matter and the tone of a suspense thriller, that's ultimately an issue. Reminds me of what is wrong with Traffic in a way. It's a really well made movie in nearly every objective sense, but it just doesn't seem to cut it as entertainment. It needs a better blend of the two. I recommend seeing it, though.
Rated 20 Feb 2016
73
46th
About as good as I was expecting. The opening seems completely off and unrelated to the rest of the film, but otherwise this is a procedural, focused, and finely acted film about a whistleblower going against a large scummy company, with Crowe, Pacino, and Plummer really appropriately filling in their roles. It doesn't feel like it could do with any edits, though it can be slightly too reiterative at times.
Rated 20 Oct 2008
77
51st
Not bad, but a bit long winded. Leave it to Pacino to steal - AGAIN!
Rated 09 Jan 2009
1
0th
"A masterpiece..."
Rated 11 May 2024
80
78th
Two BFFs fax and call each other until a lawsuit comes between them and causes their relationship to grow strained. This sure doesn't sound like a film Mann would do, although he does get to put in a few night scenes and rainy pavement. For having almost no action, it zipped along well, although I'd loved to have seen Pacino go up against Gershon in the boardroom a bit longer. Some great performances, only slightly let down by the soundtrack.
Rated 25 May 2021
56
25th
Perfect one to open and sleep before TV.
Rated 25 May 2017
85
59th
One of Michael Mann's strongest, an invigorating study of honor and duty, a sleek procedural pitting a couple of good guys against a bureaucracy of real-life bad guys, watching as they sacrifice their personal lives out of a desire to preserve the greater good. The immediacy of Mann's style makes this immediately gripping, mining excitement out of phone calls and board meetings.
Rated 04 Jul 2009
85
68th
Pacino and Crowe did an excelent job on this movie. And the more important thing is that none of them both over ou under acted like they use to do in their movies.
Rated 14 May 2017
66
30th
It's thoroughly well shot, and Pacino has some entertaining rants, but this subject matter hasn't dated well for me since this was released. But the thing I struggled with the most is Russell Crowe's performance - I don't buy him as introverted nor paranoid. Not for a single moment does his performance feel natural or lived-in, and it is the performance this movie relies on most.
Rated 25 Aug 2009
79
62nd
A very good relevant movie about tobacco companies. Acting was great and so was the score. But the movie could have been better paced as it was quite boring at times.
Rated 27 Sep 2009
65
52nd
the most unnecessary film score ever. acting is good, film is good but I can't stand watching it sitting from beginning to the end because it is too boring.
Rated 02 Feb 2010
88
78th
Very good film about the tobacco network TV and the tobacco scandal. Russell Crow and Christopher Plummer are standouts.
Rated 08 Feb 2010
76
69th
Gripping thriller which sustains a sense of real menace throughout despite its apparently dry subject matter.
Rated 23 Feb 2010
85
92nd
Michael Mann's finest work outside of Heat. His cold clinical style really shines here by creating suspense and a compelling drama inside of a situation that most would find boring if it were in the form of a news blurb. Much has to be said about Pacino's performance because it is one of the more understated roles he's had and doesn't overplay his presence like he did in just about everything else he's been in since the 80's.
Rated 13 Sep 2010
11
56th
Not a high-powered film. With a cast like Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, I was hoping for a high powered film, but got a mediocre film. Some dialog, a little bit of tension. A little bit better than Beautiful Mind. So if you are one of the many who liked that film, I'd definitely recommend this.
Rated 29 Oct 2010
80
85th
remember liking quite a bit and being above average so going with the RottenTomatoes average (critics and top critics seem to agree)
Rated 06 Jan 2011
99
92nd
Engrossing with brilliant performance by the lead actors!
Rated 14 Feb 2022
70
53rd
Youfuckmei'llfuckyou!+threatenedwithjail+WIPETHATSMIRKOFFYOURFACE+cansueNewsfordamages/interferedlolcouldownCBS+wifedivorcingR+digupexwifewithMS/kid+cantsayname/show/evencompanyname+gethelpthenairwholething+Afired/vacationsosnucktoothernews+mostofthesmearwasfake+infamylastsalittlelonger+winbutrestnotgonnawannablowwhistle
Rated 06 Apr 2011
90
86th
A film that inspires a palpable sense of moral outrage, Mann's essaying of the Jeff Wigand saga is a well-made and exceedingly well-played piece of work - Pacino and Crowe give sensational performances and the film piles on the morally-reprehensible behaviour with an unflinching sense of righteousness. It may be preaching to the choir, but it's a damn effective sermon.
Rated 29 May 2011
83
47th
Great performances, great cine-Mann-ography.
Rated 17 Sep 2011
70
29th
Al Pacino tries hard to lift the movie. A trifle too hard..it shows
Rated 29 Nov 2011
60
31st
Not particularly bad, but it just didn't really have anything that would make me want to watch it multiple times.
Rated 02 Jan 2013
90
95th
hala en az makyajlanmış şirket imajı çizen ender filmlerden birisi. 2008 sonrakinden daha sert olan '90'ların "kötü karakter olarak şirketler" dalgası içerisinde dahi daha özel bir noktada durduğu aşikar. hem tavizsiz tavrı hem de sinematografik başarısıyla bunu yapıyor oluşu ayrıca hayranlık uyandırıcı. belli klişe motifleri alıştığımız şekilde kullansa da terazinin diğer tarafına ağırlığı koymayı başaran muhteşem bir film.
Rated 03 Feb 2013
90
59th
Story of people putting their best
Rated 15 May 2013
79
57th
I had the expectation that the story would play out in court. Much to my disappointment it didn't, I believe it would have been more interesting that way. Mann has always been suave with the art of film-making and he does let us down. But its the direction of the film that I feel should have been better.

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