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The Insider

4.5 out of 5 stars 417 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE INSIDER recounts the chain of events that pitted an ordinary man against the tobacco industry and dragged two people into the fight of their lives. Academy Award(R)-winner Al Pacino (1990 Best Actor, SCENT OF A WOMAN; THE RECRUIT) gives a powerful performance as veteran 60 MINUTES producer Lowell Bergman and Academy Award(R) Winner Russell Crowe (2000 Best Actor, GLADIATOR; A BEAUTIFUL MIND) co-stars as the ultimate insider, former tobacco executive Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. When Wigand is fired by his employer -- one of the largest tobacco companies in America -- he agrees to become a paid consultant for a story Bergman is working on regarding alleged unethical practices within the tobacco industry. But what begins as a temporary alliance leads to a lengthy battle for both men to save their reputations, and much, much more. As they soon find out, Corporate America will use all legal means at its disposal to save a billion-dollar-a-year habit. And as the corporate giants soon find out, Bergman and Wigand are honorable men, driven to smoke out the evidence. Also starring Christopher Plummer (MALCOLM X) as anchor Mike Wallace and Gina Gershon (FACE/OFF), THE INSIDER will chill you with its cold, hard edge -- and thrill you with its unbelievable twists and turns.


As revisionist history, Michael Mann's intelligent docudrama The Insider is a simmering brew of altered facts and dramatic license. In a broader perspective, however, the film (cowritten with Forrest Gump Oscar-winner Eric Roth) is effectively accurate as an engrossing study of ethics in the corruptible industries of tobacco and broadcast journalism. On one side, there is Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), the former tobacco scientist who violated contractual agreements to expose Brown & Williamson's inclusion of addictive ingredients in cigarettes, casting himself into a vortex of moral dilemma. On the other side is 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), whose struggle to report Wigand's story puts him at odds with veteran correspondent Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) and senior executives at CBS News.

As the urgency of the story increases, so does the film's palpable sense of paranoia, inviting favorable comparison to All the President's Men. While Pacino downplays the theatrical excess that plagued him in previous roles, Crow is superb as a man who retains his tortured integrity at great personal cost. The Insider is two movies--a cover-up thriller and a drama about journalistic ethics--that combine to embrace the noble values personified by Wigand and Bergman. Even if the details aren't always precise (as Mike Wallace and others protested prior to the film's release), the film adheres to a higher truth that was so blatantly violated by tobacco executives seen in an oft-repeated video clip, lying under oath in the service of greed. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Production Featurette -- Audio Commentary With Al Pacino And Russell Crowe|Inside A Scene

Product Details

  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall
  • Directors: Michael Mann
  • Writers: Michael Mann, Eric Roth, Marie Brenner
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Avi Kleinberger, Gusmano Cesaretti, Kathleen M. Shea, Pieter Jan Brugge
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 11, 2000
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CWRX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,870 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Insider" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"The Insider", a theatrical delight, is a well cast, brilliantly acted, and ingeniously directed movie. I cannot say enough about this film!
Russell Crowe is pheonominal as the socially-conscious scientist,Dr. Jeffrey Weigand. Mr. Crowe, one of my favorite actors since first seeing him in "L.A. Confidential", brings multiple dimensions to his character. One the one hand you applaud Dr. Weigand for being so courageous in spite of the threats he receives from "big tobacco". On the other hand, you sense his pain, and the fear he has for his family. It is all in the eyes- Russell Crowe emotes like few actors can. WE WILL BE PULLING FOR HIM ON OSCAR NIGHT!
While Russell Crowe is truly the star in this film, one certainly cannot overlook the outstanding performance turned in by Al Pacino. Mr. Pacino lives up to this movie's expectations, and provides wonderful depth in his character. The pure sarcasm in several of his lines leaves you laughing inside, while silently saying to yourself, "you know, this guy has a point!" Watching Al Pacino is a delight- and in the end, you hope he not only wins the right to produce TV as he sees fit, you are hoping that his character gets a raise! Al Pacino- you are not worthy of a "supporting actor" nomination, you are in a class all your own!
Lastly, we cannot forget the performance of a veteran actor, Christopher Plummer. Mr. Plummer shows sides of Mike Wallace that you imagined were there, but have never been able to see. Mr. Plummer gives the movie perspective- and plays the depressive Mike Wallace with stunning accuracy. In the end, you forget that Mr. Plummer is an actor- you begin to think that the real Mike Wallace is the true actor!
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Format: DVD
This movie is riveting, engaging, and extremely well done. The performances by Crowe, Pacino, and Plummer are especially sharp and on edge, and the direction by Mann is,as always, simply superb. From the opening frames illustrating the cache, access and raw power a TV program like Sixty Minutes offers its producers and stars to the immediately introduced suspenseful counterpoint of Philip Wigand as a man caught in a terrible moral dilemma, this movie is absolutely terrific.
While one relates to Russell Crowe's superb depiction (truly an Oscar-caliber performance) as the man who almost singlehandedly eventually breaks the back of the tobacco conglomerates, I found myself also captivated by Al Pacino's performance with a thoughtful and emotional coda as a smart and street savvy TV producer skating hellbent for leather over the dangerous edges between his personal morality and the seductive but corrupting pressures of a super-competitive and absolutely testosterone-crazy TV program. Likewise, Christopher Plummer's interpretation of Mike Wallace as an egotistical and morally obtuse dilletante who perhaps has stayed at the party overlong is a joy to observe. If it is at all accurate, maybe it's time to finally retire, Mike!
This is a movie that explores the way in which all the powers that be seem to be growing deaf, dumb, and blind to the rights and needs of the individuals in the society, as Wigand finds out quite quickly, to his despair. He finds himself compromised no matter which way he turns, and in an absolutely riveting scene played to the hilt, decides to do what's morally right regardless of the personal consequences.
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Format: DVD
"The Insider" is by far, the best motion picture of1999. It focuses on the lives of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe),vice president in charge of research for Brown & Williamson Tobacco, and Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a veteran producer for the much-respected "60 Minutes" CBS news magazine. Recently fired from his cushy 6 figure job, Wigand soon faces the dilemma of whether or not to violate his confidentiality agreement and expose the disturbing truth about cigarettes, or to keep silent and protect his family. Bergman, meanwhile, must try to coax the story out of Wigand, while protecting him and sidestepping legal snaffus which arrise and fighting to get his piece aired. "The Insider" features top-notch performances from its cast, top to bottom, particularly from Crowe, as the brave yet terrified Wigand. Director Michael Mann keeps the story moving and keeps his audience interested throughout- not an easy task for a 3 hour movie. What really enhanced my enjoyment of this movie was the terrific hand-held cinematography by Dante Spinotti. His camera is often perched over Wigand's shoulder, and we as an audience feel as if we are right there with him as he franticly searches for the answers. I suppose a lot of people avoided this movie at the box office due to its length and its subject matter-and its their loss. If you like the movies with explosions and gunfights then rent something else. If you like an engrossing, thought-provoking movie with terrific performances, then "The Insider" is the movie for you.
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