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The Insider (1999)

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A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director:

Michael Mann

Writers:

Marie Brenner (article), Eric Roth | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,163 ( 230)
Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino ... Lowell Bergman
Russell Crowe ... Jeffrey Wigand
Christopher Plummer ... Mike Wallace
Diane Venora ... Liane Wigand
Philip Baker Hall ... Don Hewitt
Lindsay Crouse ... Sharon Tiller
Debi Mazar ... Debbie De Luca
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Eric Kluster
Colm Feore ... Richard Scruggs
Bruce McGill ... Ron Motley
Gina Gershon ... Helen Caperelli
Michael Gambon ... Thomas Sandefur
Rip Torn ... John Scanlon
Lynne Thigpen ... Mrs. Williams
Hallie Eisenberg ... Barbara Wigand
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Storyline

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. Westinghouse is negotiating to buy CBS, so CBS attorneys advise CBS News to shelve the interview and avoid a lawsuit. "60 Minutes" and CBS News bosses cave, Wigand is hung out to dry, Bergman is compromised, and the CEOs of Big Tobacco may get away with perjury. Will the truth come out? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Warning: Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardous See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese | Arabic | Persian

Release Date:

5 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

60 Minutes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,712,361, 7 November 1999

Gross USA:

$29,089,912

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,289,912
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen Tobolowsky and Gina Gershon's characters, Eric Kluster and Helen Caperelli, are based on Eric Ober and Ellen Kaden, the respective president of CBS News and general counsel for CBS during the events of the film. In early drafts of the script, they were explicitly named as being Ober and Kaden. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Wigand comes home, there is a van parked in the driveway. The phone number on the van is 1-800-CLOCK, which doesn't have enough digits to be a real phone number. See more »

Quotes

Mike Wallace: Do me a favor, will you - spare me, for God's sake, get in the real world, what do you think? I'm going to resign in protest? To force it on the air? The answer's "no". I don't plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio. That decision I've already made.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The TV version is actually longer than the theatrical version and was extended over two nights. The edit was supervised by director Michael Mann. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Episode #11.6 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Safe from Harm
(Perfecto Mix)
Written by Bill Cobham (as Billy Cobham), Robert Del Naja (as Robert Del Naja),
Grant Marshall (as Grantley Marshall), Shara Nelson and Andrew Vowles (as Andrew Vowles)
Performed by Massive Attack
Courtesy of Circa Records, Ltd./Virgin Records America, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Intensity beyond intensity
29 March 2005 | by SurecureSee all my reviews

The Insider is the only film I remember having seen where I walked out of the theatre with a headache because of the intensity of the story. Michael Mann is one of few directors who has such an in-depth understanding of both the subject of his film and the nature of that subject, that he is able to portray a realism that is nearly impossible to match.

There is real skill displayed in the way in which the Insider weaves through the aspects of both Bergmann and Wigand's lives. Whereas a lesser director would have thrown the characters at each other in an artificial collision, Mann introduces each character as being average professionals each living in their own respective stable lives. It is only when their chance encounter creates a subtext that could consume them both does the real chemical reaction in the story take place.

Bringing life to these fantastically written characters are two of the most talented 'big-name' character actors of our time, Al Pacino and Russell Crowe. Surprisingly, it is Crowe that drives this film forward, and his portrayal of Wigand is spot-on perfect. His is an honest humanity, both a loving father and a flawed husband who never fully balances his life under the pressure of circumstance. Crowe nails the performance by not hamming-up the character, but rather by understating his personality. This works in that it is the character that is elevated while the actor disappears.

That is not to ignore the excellent work by the remainder of the cast. Pacino's performance is accented and accentuated beautifully by Christopher Plummer's portrayal of Mike Wallace. Most notably are several standout scenes mixing Pacino, Plummer, Philip Baker Hall and Stephen Tobolowsky that ground the underlying tensions of the film fantastically. And the juxtaposition between the cold, hard New York settings and the organic nature of Mississippi further press this film beyond standard non-fiction works.

Easily one of the best dramas of 1999, the Insider is a standout member of that elite club of great historical dramas such as All the President's Men that are few and far between. It is for that audience that appreciates skilled performances meeting skilled direction and restrained, mature writing.


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