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We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (2013)



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

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
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 2

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.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 8,658

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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.


Documentary, Special Interest

Oct 7, 2013


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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (24) | 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.

July 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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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 ...

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Engaging, kinetic, revelatory and unexpected.

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At once an awkward mingling of two complex life stories and a gripping, necessary look at how information is gathered, shared and, yes, stolen.

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: The Verge
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.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
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.

October 24, 2013 Full Review Source:

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

July 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
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.

July 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
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.

July 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Outstanding, cool-headed documentary.

July 13, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

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.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

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

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

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

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

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

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
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.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

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.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source:

This is saying something important. Check your Facebook settings.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

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

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
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.

July 9, 2013 Full Review Source: The Skinny
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.

July 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

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

July 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman

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

July 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

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.
February 2, 2014

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?
November 19, 2013

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.
October 5, 2013

Super Reviewer

Wikileaks has been at the forefront of reporting the truth about classified documents for many years now. We Steal Secrets is a highly engaging documentary about the infamous site. This is an in depth documentary that tells an interesting story about the legacy of Wikileaks. The film features interviews from the people involved with the site along with journalists and government officials. I found this documentary to be quite captivating and thrilling due to the fact that Wikileaks has been at the heart of much controversy. The film is not perfect, but it does manage to make you ask questions about the issues the film exposes. The documentary has one big problem, it doesn't interview the founder himself, and it merely uses stock footage interviews to tell his side of the story, instead of conducting a new interview for the film. This is nonetheless a worthwhile documentary. The film makes you think about what Wikileaks does and if what they're doing is right or wrong. In many cases what they do is the right thing, but in other cases, it can compromise Allied soldiers fighting in the field. So this film gives us an insight into that aspect of the film, and makes you ask many questions about the site. We Steal Secrets is a good film, but it could have been done better of course. Wikileaks has always been at the source of the truth, but this one just could have been done better. For what it is, it's worth seeing, but in the end you can't help but realize that there could have been more effort put into telling this story. Nonetheless, We Steal Secrets is entertaining and quite thrilling, but isn't a standout documentary that should have been better.
June 17, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • We Steal Secrets: Die WikiLeaks Geschichte (DE)
  • We Steal Secrets: Die WikiLeaks Geschichte (AU)
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