The Insider

1999

The Insider

Critics Consensus

Intelligent, compelling, and packed with strong performances, The Insider is a potent corporate thriller.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 136

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 59,124
User image

The Insider Photos

Movie Info

The Insider tells the true story of a man who decided to tell the world what the seven major tobacco companies knew (and concealed) about the dangers of their product. Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) was a scientist employed in research for a tobacco firm, Brown and Williamson. Not long after he was fired by Brown and Williamson, Wigand came into contact with Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a producer for 60 Minutes who worked closely with journalist Mike Wallace (played here by Christopher Plummer). Bergman arranged for Wigand to be interviewed by Wallace for a 60 Minutes expose on the cigarette industry, though Wigand was still bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss his employment with the company. Despite Wigand's willingness to talk, CBS pulled his interview from at the last minute after Brown and Williamson threatened a multi-billion dollar lawsuit. The staff of 60 Minutes and CBS News were soon embroiled in an internal struggle over the killing of the story, and Wigand found himself the subject of lawsuits and a smear campaign, without his full story reaching the public. The Insider was directed by Michael Mann and also features Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Debi Mazar, Colm Feore, and Rip Torn. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Watch it now

Cast

Al Pacino
as Lowell Bergman
Russell Crowe
as Jeffrey Wigand
Christopher Plummer
as Mike Wallace
Diane Venora
as Liane Wigand
Lindsay Crouse
as Sharon Tiller
Debi Mazar
as Debbie De Luca
Colm Feore
as Richard Scruggs
Stephen Tobolowsky
as Eric Kluster
Gina Gershon
as Helen Caperelli
Michael Gambon
as Thomas Sandefur
Bruce McGill
as Ron Motley
Rip Torn
as John Scanlon
Hallie Kate Eisenberg
as Barbara Wigand
Lynne Thigpen
as Mrs. Williams
Michael Paul Chan
as Norman the Cameraman
Linda Hart
as Mrs. Wigand
Robert Harper
as Mark Stern
Nestor Serrano
as FBI Agent Robertson
Pete Hamill
as NY Times Reporter
Wings Hauser
as Tobacco Lawyer
Cliff Curtis
as Sheikh Fadlallah
Renee Olstead
as Deborah Wigand
Michael Moore
as Michael Moore
Mike Moore
as Himself
Gary Sandy
as Sandefur's Lawyer
Paul Butler
as Charlie Phillips
Megan Odabash
as Sandra Sutherland
Robert Bart
as Seelbach Hotel Manager
Alan DeSatti
as Hezbollah Interpreter
Sayed Badreya
as Hezbollah Head Gunman
Chris Ufland
as Doug Oliver--FDA
Doug McGrath
as Private Investigator
Bill Sage
as Intense Young Intern
Joseph Hindy
as Baldo the Editor
Dennis Garber
as FBI Agent No. 1
Tim Grimm
as FBI Agent No. 2
Paul Perri
as Geologist/FBI Man
Wanda De Jesus
as Geologist/FBI Woman
Robert Brink
as Policeman
V.J. Foster
as Bill Felling
James Harper
as FBI Agent No. 3
Eyal Podell
as Lowell's Son
Breckin Meyer
as Sharon's Son
David Roberson
as John Telafarro
Gregg E. Muravchick
as Private Security Guard
David Carr
as Local Newscaster
Ann Reskin
as Seelbach Hotel Desk Clerk
Claire Slemmer
as Edie Magnus
Steve Salge
as Dan Rather
Derrick Jones
as Mississippi Reporter
Donald F. Burbrink II
as B&W Male Security Officer
Vyto Ruginis
as Junior Lawyer
George R. Parsons
as B&W Uniformed Security Officer
Isodine Loury
as Mississippi Court Stenographer
Charlene Bosarge
as Mr. Scruggs' Assistant
Saemi Nakamura
as Japanese Waitress
Ronal G. Yokley
as Police Detective
Bob Lazarus
as Stage Manager
Robert Ragno Jr.
as New Media Photographer
Nathan Lewis Hill
as Production Assisstant
Paula Bisbikos
as Mike Wallace's Assisstant
Chirsti Evans
as CBS News Producer
Amy L. Caudill
as A Student
View All

News & Interviews for The Insider

Critic Reviews for The Insider

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (34)

  • Powerfully and elegantly, The Insider reveals a chilling reality: how hard it is to tell a simple truth when big business doesn't want it told.

    Mar 5, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • What I didn't expect was an intelligently absorbing entertainment that ran for two hours and 40 minutes, during which I didn't once look at my watch -- just about the highest praise I can bestow upon a film these days.

    Apr 27, 2007 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • The movie reveals Michael Mann's unparalleled ability to fashion taut suspense from unpromising material.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Pumped up with sharp editing, vivid performances and a damning true story to tell, it's a morality tale with a hard contemporary punch.

    Apr 25, 2003 | Rating: 3/4
  • It's a good thing Wigand isn't a conventional, come-to-the-rescue hero in The Insider, because, although Michael Mann tries for a victory dance, there's ultimately little cause for cheer.

    Jun 18, 2002
  • Mann turns a moral issue into riveting suspense.

    May 8, 2001 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for The Insider

  • Nov 19, 2016
    Excellent film. Oscar-caliber and worth checking out.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2016
    A riveting and compelling drama that urges it's viewers to pay attention and think, The Insider is smart filmmaking that makes the most out of it's amazing cast and memorable dialogue. A truly underrated and masterful film.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2014
    Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is how gradually it shifts its focus from the lies and misdeeds of tobacco companies to questions regarding journalistic ethics in a corporate news environment . . . by the end CBS looks worse than Brown & Williamson. The scene where "Tortious Interference" is discussed is disturbingly Orwellian in it's implications.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 22, 2013
    Between 3.5 and 4 stars. A good piece on investigative journalism, though it dragged in a few places and was probably overlong. Good performances by the whole cast; Pacino's performance was simply gripping.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer

The Insider Quotes

News & Features