Six Picks: Newspaper movies we recommend

Six of our favorite newspaper flicks full of intrepid reporters, romance, and quick-witted repartee.

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Entertainment Pictures/NEWSCOM

'Citizen Kane' (1941)

One of American cinema's greatest films celebrates the rise of newspapers in the first half of the 20th century. Charles Foster Kane, modeled on William Randolph Hearst and other early moguls, builds his media empire with sweat and idealism, only to lose it lusting after fame and power. Kane utters some great lines about his profession, among them, "I don't know how to run a newspaper, Mr. Thatcher. I just try everything I can think of."

'Woman of the Year' (1942)

The first of the celebrated Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy films, their fiery chemistry is on full display in this Oscar-winning romantic comedy. Tess Harding is a cosmopolitan political affairs columnist at the same newspaper as Sam Craig, a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps sportswriter. Using their columns to spar, they eventually come round to a more amorous stance. Yes, even columnists have hearts.


The trappings might look quaint today – sideburns, rotary phones, wide ties worn at half mast – but this film's rumpled renderings of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, with Jason Robards as gruff editor Ben Bradlee) hold up, somehow, in the age of blogs. A take on the event that made "-gate" the standard suffix for scandal won four Oscars, it also glamorized the fourth estate – and launched thousands of journalism careers.

'The Paper' (1994)

It's a big day for the New York Sun's editor, Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton): His wife (Marisa Tomei) is about to have their first child, and his paper may be about to finger the wrong suspects in a murder apparently inspired by racism. Can journalistic ethics survive a bottom-line-oriented publisher (Glenn Close)? Will someone get to say "Stop the presses!"? A strong cast in this comedy-drama directed by Ron Howard includes a cameo by Jason Robards in a role similar to the one he played in that other flick that ink-stained journalists love.

'Absence of Malice' (1981)

Megan Carter (Sally Field) is an investigative reporter who has just uncovered a lead in a murder investigation, or so she thinks. But when the story hits the newsstands, Michael Gallagher (Paul Newman) sees his name on the front page for a crime he didn't commit. Megan's quest to report the story – at all cost – soon gets ensnared in journalism ethics when she becomes a little too friendly with Michael. A cautionary tale.

'His Girl Friday' (1940)

In Howard Hawks' screwball comedy you'll find everything you'd expect from a daily tabloid – sex, romance, drama, politics, murder, and farce. There's even a heart wrenching moment. Ace reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) and ex-husband, editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) deliver their lines in double time. Watch it twice. You'll be laughing so hard you'll miss half the punch lines.

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