20 Best Movies Like Spotlight The Talks Today
20 Best Movies Like Spotlight

20 Best Movies Like Spotlight

Spotlight is often regarded as one of the best films of the last decade and the Best Picture winner of 2016. The film is the harrowing real-life story of the Boston Globe’s investigation into the many abuses committed by members of the Catholic Church in the city of Boston.

The movie boasts a stellar cast and tackles the intense story in a serious and grounded way without being sensational. It is a look at the power of investigative journalism and how it can make a genuine change in the world.

Capote (2006)

  • Available on Prime Video, The Roku Channel, Hoopla, Tubi, Kanopy and Pluto TV

Truman Capote is not a journalistic writer, however, his exploration of a famous murder case brought him into the world of non-fiction. Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as Capote, the high-class and flamboyant author who visited a small-town which was the site of a gruesome murder. There, he speaks with the townspeople and the criminals in order to write his novel In Cold Blood.

The movie is a fascinating look at how Capote blurred the lines between fact and fiction. Like Spotlight, it deals with subject matter that the community would rather not address but are unable to escape.

Veronica Guerin

While Tar is already one of Cate Blanchette’s most acclaimed movies, Veronica Guerin is an overlooked movie in her career that deserves some attention. Blanchette stars as the title character in the true story of Guerin’s heroic efforts to expose some of Ireland’s most powerful criminals.

Like Spotlight, it is a story about a journalist going after a story that was out there but that no one dared to touch. Guerin’s story is a captivating one and the movie is a strong portrait of her fight to bring the truth to light.

Frost/Nixon (2009)


  • Available to rent on Apple TV

When it comes to taking a deep dive look into the world of journalism, Frost/Nixon really is an amazing example. David Frost was a tremendous British journalist, and this film focuses on him and the series of interviews he conducted with President Richard Nixon.

The interviews all took place after Watergate and therefore the film constructs around that, telling the story of what happened while also unpacking things from both sides. It’s a gripping viewing experience and showcases how something as simple as an interview can be incredibly entertaining and dramatic.

Concussion (2015)

Will Smith Concussion trailer 2

  • Available on HBO Max and DIRECTV

While comparing the Catholic Church to the NFL might seem silly, they can also be a powerful force of opposition when someone tries to address their flaws. Concussion is another true story that stars Will Smith as a pathologist who seeks to bring awareness to brain damage linked to football players.

It is a movie that has become more relevant recently and addresses a dark side of a source of entertainment for millions of people.

The Big Short (2015)

The Big Short - Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

In Spotlight, the team of journalists feels like the only people who know about the massive story going on under everyone’s noses. There is a similar feel in Adam McKay’s The Big Short which deals with the mortgage housing crisis of 2005 and the people who saw it coming.

Even with its comedic tone, the movie is a historically accurate tale told in an interesting way without diminishing the devastation of what happened. It also features an all-star cast including Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt.

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Doubt (2008)

Amy Adams looking sad in Doubt

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

In Doubt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays the new priest of a Catholic school in the 1950s while Meryl Streep plays a senior nun whose suspicions of him boil over into an explosive feud.

Like Spotlight, this film touches on the abuses within the Catholic Church, though set in a time when these were even less talked about. The film keeps the audience guessing as to the truth of the accusations while the incredibly talented cast delivers powerful performances.

Shattered Glass (2003)

Stephen Glass and Chuck Lane looking confused in Shattered Glass

  • Available on Hoopla and Tubi

Spotlight is very much a film about the brilliance and talent of dedicated journalists. Shattered Glass is another interesting look inside this world though one that deals with the darker side of journalism.

Hayden Christensen stars in this true story as Stephen Glass, a young reporter who rose through the ranks of Washington journalism while fabricating nearly every story he wrote. The film is a thrilling look at the fall of this writer and his colleagues’ efforts to expose him.

The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

While The Social Network isn’t about journalism in the sense that many of these movies are, it takes a detailed look at the rise of the modern format of social media, specifically Facebook. This platform is a major way in which people consume news nowadays, and seeing how the company was set up is absolutely fascinating as it nails the internet more than most movies.

The movie features a brilliant ensemble cast, and much like Spotlight, it is incredibly tense throughout. The inner politics and issues that take place on various sides of the argument are gripping, to say the least, and this is a film all about dialogue and communication.

Erin Brockovich (2000)


Despite that Boston Globe is a powerful entity itself, there is a sense of an underdog story to Spotlight. As these reporters attempt to expose the truth of these heinous crimes, they are met with opposition from powerful people.

Erin Brockovich has a similar and entertaining “David vs. Goliath” story. The film stars Julia Roberts as a strong-willed single mother working at a law office who becomes heavily involved in a class-action lawsuit against a power company that is polluting the community’s water supply. It is a fun, inspiring, and thrilling legal drama with a great performance from Roberts.

State Of Play (2009)


  • Available to rent on Apple TV

While Spotlight keeps things grounded in its telling of this incredible true story, there is a thriller aspect to the film. However, if you’re looking for a film about investigative journalism that embraces the thrills even more, State of Play is an excellent choice.

Ben Affleck stars as an up-and-coming congressman whose affair goes public when his mistress dies. The congressman’s friend, a reporter (Russell Crowe), begins digging deeper into her death and finds there is more to this story than meets the eye.

By The Grace Of God (2019)

By The Grace Of God

  • Available on Prime Video, Kanopy and Mubi
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This movie might not have anything to do with journalism, but it does focus heavily on abuse within the world of religion, just as Spotlight does. Unfortunately, this too is a true story that focuses on a group who were the victims of such horrible acts as they reveal all.

They create a group together in order to reveal the situation as the film explores who knew and how things were covered up. The movie even touches upon the fact that the Vatican was aware of the acts, with this emotional movie going into great detail to uncover the truth behind the lies, just as Spotlight did — but from a different angle.

The Insider (1999)


  • Available to rent on Apple TV

While the main focus of Spotlight is the journalists who investigated the story, the film also does a powerful job of highlighting the courage and struggle of the victims who came forward. Michael Mann’s The Insider is another investigative journalism film, but it centers around the whistleblower who kicks off the story.

Russell Crowe plays a research chemist who decides to go on 60 Minutes to expose the truth about Big Tobacco. The thrilling true story also stars Al Pacino as 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman. It is a powerful and intense drama about the power of speaking out.

Zodiac (2007)

police questioning arthur leigh allen

  • Available on Fubo TV, Showtime and DIRECTV

The tireless work of the characters in Spotlight is also reflected in David Fincher’s thriller masterpiece Zodiac. The film explores the infamous Zodiac killings by focusing on the police and reporters who spent years investigating the still-unsolved murders.

Though the scenes of the killings are hauntingly recreated, the film spends most of its time on the investigation. It is a meticulous true-crime story making for one of the most historically accurate movies that present a mountain of evidence. The film suggests interesting conclusions yet still leaves that sense of mystery.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)


  • Available on Fubo TV and DIRECTV

Blackkklansman may not focus on journalists, but it has many similarities to Spotlight that fans of that film will enjoy. It’s just as tense and focuses on a small team working hard to take down a vile group, only in this case rather than religion, the movie focuses on the Ku Klux Klan.

Ron Stallworth becomes the first African-American detective and he works hard to make an impact, working alongside his colleague, Flip, who ends up going undercover within the racist group itself. The film is incredibly intense and full of fantastic moments that create an engaging watch from start to finish.

Good Night, And Good Luck (2005)

Good Night, And Good Luck

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

This movie is a real throwback with the black-and-white footage and the manner in which the characters all conduct themselves. It creates a really old-school film that is very enjoyable, meanwhile the content of the film itself is just as interesting.

Focusing on how the media went through a tough period in trying to avoid being attacked by the public for creating certain stories, the journalists walk the fine line between the truth and not wanting to land themselves in trouble. It sees certain journalists look to bring down another for bullying, and really highlights the inner workings of journalism.

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The Report (2019)


  • Available on Fubo TV and Prime Video

Though it does not deal with an investigation in a journalistic sense, The Report feels in a similar vein to Spotlight in its true story of exposing a dark truth to the world. Adam Driver stars as a government worker who is assigned to look into the U.S. military’s use of torture of detained prisoners.

The movie is another exploration of the tireless research and digging that goes into uncovering a truth that many people would prefer to stay hidden. The movie is a taut and engrossing procedural with a great lead performance by Driver.

The Post (2018)

Ben and Katherine have dinner in The Post

  • Available on Fubo TV, FX Now and DIRECTV

Steven Spielberg recruited the immense talents of Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks to tell another true story which also serves as a celebration of skilled and truthful journalism. Set in the 1970s, The Post deals with the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, a classified document that revealed the shocking government secrets behind the Vietnam War.

Streep is excellent as Kay Graham, the paper’s first female publisher while Hanks is great as legendary editor Ben Bradlee (whose son appears in Spotlight). It is a complex and entertaining film that comments on the modern relationship between the government and the press.

Dark Waters (2019)

Mark Ruffalo's lawyer character conducts an investigation in Dark Waters

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

Many of these movies are David and Goliath stories with people going up against powerful adversaries in the search for justice. It is certainly the case with Spotlight as the Catholic Church had plenty of influence to throw around and it is also the case with Dark Waters.

Mark Ruffalo stars as a corporate defense attorney who decides to expose the dangerous history of pollution against a chemical company. The movie is about not giving up when on a seemingly impossible mission and doing the right thing.

She Said (2022)

Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan in She Said

  • Available on Peacock Premium

For many, the terrible and disturbing crimes covered in Spotlight were still very much in their minds by the time the movie came out. Another movie that follows the exposure of a similarly disturbing story looks at much more recent events in history.

Released just this past year, She Said is already one of the best movies about investigative journalism. It stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as New York Times reporters who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual assault in Hollywood.

All The President’s Men (1976)

Carl and Bob sitting next to each other in All The President's Men

  • Available on HBO Max and DIRECTV

Though Spotlight could challenge the title, many people view All the President’s Men to be the quintessential film about investigative journalism – and it’s hard to argue with that. The film stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, respectively. Together, these two Washington Post reporters’ investigation into the Watergate scandal brought down President Richard Nixon.

Like Spotlight, this film avoids being too sensational with the real events, trusting that the incredible true story is thrilling enough. The two leads are outstanding, and the film is a stirring reminder of the power of the press.

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