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We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (2013)


Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 71
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: As fascinating as it is provocative, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks presents another documentary triumph for director Alex Gibney, as well as a troubling look at one of the more meaningful issues of our time.

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 26
Fresh: 24
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: As fascinating as it is provocative, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks presents another documentary triumph for director Alex Gibney, as well as a troubling look at one of the more meaningful issues of our time.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 9,220




Movie Info

Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) takes the reins for this no-holds-barred look at one of the most unusual phenomena of early 21st century media. In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website As run by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange, the site's mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information, often regarding governments and their respective military operations. … More

R (for some disturbing violent images, language and sexual material)
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Oct 7, 2013
Box Office:
Focus World - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (5)

This thorough, engrossing film shows how idealistic Aussie hacker Julian Assange took on the might of the US, exposing their military and diplomatic misconduct, then allowed his own murky personal life to tarnish his credibility.

Full Review… | July 9, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

Sometimes it takes a feature-length documentary to stitch together a story we think we already know.

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A psychological suspense film with an open ending that's more haunting than the tricky climaxes of most post-Hitchcock thrillers.

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Orange County Register
Top Critic

A real-life cyber-thriller with real-life consequences, Alex Gibney's We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is a riveting and revelatory documentary ...

Full Review… | June 6, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Gibney builds a remarkable level of suspense, given how exhaustively WikiLeaks has been covered in the media.

Full Review… | June 6, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Engaging, kinetic, revelatory and unexpected.

Full Review… | June 6, 2013
Top Critic

Gibney does a good job surveying the history of WikiLeaks, but unfortunately, there is little left to say.

Full Review… | January 22, 2014
The Verge

It isn't propaganda, it's journalism. This is a very controversial film among Assange's followers because it shows Assange to be less than the Messiah they think he is. This provides an exit from news echo chambers.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
Laramie Movie Scope

A subtle trashing of Wikileaks by someone echoing the outlook of the NYT and the Guardian--anxious to make a buck off of the leaks but anxious to preserve the status quo.

Full Review… | October 24, 2013

Words on the screen, their power to free you, and also entrap you - if this isn't the internet's deadly blessing, what is?

Full Review… | July 18, 2013
Daily Telegraph

The film creates an astonishing picture of the complex new world of internet communications, intelligence and the ever-expanding web of post-cold war secrecy.

Full Review… | July 14, 2013
Observer [UK]

Having recently released documentaries on clerical abuse, Mario Cuomo, Park Avenue, Lance Armstrong and, now, WikiLeaks, Gibney seems in danger of becoming an actualité machine.

Full Review… | July 14, 2013
Irish Times

Outstanding, cool-headed documentary.

Full Review… | July 13, 2013

Compelling, enlightening and utterly accessible, Gibney's ultra-slick pop-doc cleaves through the thorniest thicket of contemporary political issues to find, at its heart, two wholly human stories.

Full Review… | July 12, 2013

A breathless, dazzling and mind-blowingly complex 130-minute story.

Full Review… | July 12, 2013
Birmingham Mail

I'd have liked to know more about his private life and background but Gibney has too much other ground to cover.

Full Review… | July 12, 2013
Daily Express

We Steal Secrets is much concerned with conspiracy theories and may well wind up fuelling new ones.

Full Review… | July 12, 2013
This is London

A thorough and decently intentioned work, though it accepts a little too glibly the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger line against Assange: that he is a fascinating radical who simply became a paranoid authoritarian.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013

With a subject matter that oddly feels both timely and out-of-date, this documentary is packed with telling details about WikiLeaks, Although it gets muddy as it delves into the lives of founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Bradley Manning.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013

This is saying something important. Check your Facebook settings.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Little White Lies

This is an expertly organised documentary; Gibney's always are.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Financial Times

In truth, there's little in Alex Gibney's film that won't be familiar to attentive news watchers, but this skilled documentarian has mastered the art of condensing a vast and complex amount of information into a gripping and entertaining package.

Full Review… | July 9, 2013
The Skinny

The range of Gibney's subjects, the rigour of his research and the complexity of his questions make We Steal Secrets breathlessly compelling, but it's the moments of psychological probing that haunt the most.

Full Review… | July 9, 2013
Digital Spy

Noxious government activities may warrant exposure, but Gibney points out that the whistleblowers can be pretty flawed too.

Full Review… | July 8, 2013

Alex Gibney adds to his forensic examinations of Enron and Abu Ghraib with another fine documentary.

Full Review… | July 8, 2013
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

What Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks team did in their short time was astounding. It was a revolution. The consequence was Global, even if half the Globe don't realise it. I knew a lot about WikiLeaks but Alex Gibney's documentary certainly filled in the blanks and then some. It's clear that Julian Assange isn't what he first appears to be. It takes a certain someone to do something great (and I do think what they did was great), it's just sometimes that same sort of person can then go on to become something else unintentional. He must have been under serious pressure and I don't think his paranoia is totally without justification but in the end WikiLeaks didn't need a poster boy. It's sad that more people protested for Assange's release then for Bradley Manning's. Alex Gibney talks to those who were fighting the good fight along side Assange and give the documentary the important authentication it needs to be believed. Believe in the idea but not necessarily the man in charge - where have we heard that before. Viewers should remember the cause and who is on the other side of it though, there are still good people doing the right thing out there and this revolutionary idea is far from over. It's quite sad really but always balanced, engaging and informative. Like a good documentary should be.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

For what it is, it's worth seeing. There are many parts that just make you say "WTF is this guy implying" which makes you question the veracity of most of the claims made here. It's basically the story of Assange and Manning. The other reason I didn't like it so much was that at times it was hard to pinpoint what event happened first; the film is quite jumbled and interviews are very varied.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

For most people in the United States, the state of secrets is relatively unknown. With the ensuing scandals, the secrecy, leaks, whistle blowers, and constant news coverage, we are at odds with government at an incomparable level. A couple of years ago Julian Assange, head of Wikileaks, unleashed upon the world the secrets of our government and those of its war. This documentary, helmed by the unmatched Alex Gibney, covers that history and lets those of us not in the know, know about what occurred. A good portion of the film is actually about the private life of Mr. Assange, another large portion on Wikileaks, and another still on Bradley Manning. Through a set of long interviews, news coverage, and found footage, this documentary tells the story of the website's inception, its head's history, and what became of it. This is one of the more pointed and unbiased documentaries I've ever seen, and gives criticism of both Assange and his operations, as well as praise. Not only does this film give the very technical details of what occurred three years ago, it also broaches on how it was inevitably derailed. The film does get a little bogged down in its own jargon and extensive timeline, jumping between the past and the present, and also perspective, as it does go off-track on the story of Bradley Manning for a subsequent amount of time. The reason this film covers Assange as well is because of the Christ-like acclaim he gained as the perpetuator of the website. He was a rebellious icon and was bringing free speech to the masses, but at the same time he was also exiling himself for his own foolishness, and didn't admit to his own undoing. He was everywhere in the media, and yet knew when to release raw materials for the world to see, and when not to for people's safety. It's really strange how unbiased it all is, because it feels like it's driving towards a clear point and then ends with us wondering what the hell happened?

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A fascinating documentary that sheds a revealing light on the largest whistleblowing scandal of recent times, its repercussions and the moral dilemma involved, although Gibney also has some trouble editing together all this material in a more cohesive way.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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