The Insider (film)

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The Insider is a 1999 film which which tells the true story of a 60 Minutes television series exposé of the tobacco industry, as seen through the eyes of a real tobacco executive, Jeffrey Wigand.

Directed by Michael Mann. Written by Michael Mann and Eric Roth, based on "The Man Who Knew Too Much" by Marie Brenner.
Warning: Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardoustaglines

Lowell Bergman

  • You'd better take a good look, because I'm getting two things: pissed off and curious.
  • You pay me to go get guys like Wigand, to draw him out. To get him to trust us, to get him to go on television. I do. I deliver him. He sits. He talks. He violates his own confidentiality agreement. And he's only the key witness in the biggest public health reform issue, maybe the biggest, most-expensive corporate-malfeasance case in U.S. history. And Jeffrey Wigand, who's out on a limb, does he go on television and tell the truth? Yes. Is it newsworthy? Yes. Are we gonna air it? Of course not. Why? Because he's not telling the truth? No. Because he is telling the truth. That's why we're not going to air it. And the more truth he tells, the worse it gets!
  • What do I tell the next source when the next tough story comes along, huh? 'Hang in with us, you'll be ok maybe'? What got broken here doesn't go back together.
  • I'm Lowell Bergmann, I'm from 60 Minutes. You know, you take the "60 Minutes" out of that sentence, nobody returns your phone call.
  • I never left a source hang out to dry, ever! Abandoned! Not 'till right fucking now. When I came on this job I came with my word intact. I'm gonna leave with my word intact. Fuck the rules of the game!

Mike Wallace

  • Will you tell him that when I conduct an interview, I sit anywhere I damn please!
  • Do me a favor, will you - spare me, for God's sake, get in the real world, what do you think? I'm going to resign in protest? To force it on the air? The answer's "no." I don't plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio. That decision I've already made.
  • "Mike"? Try "Mr. Wallace." We work in the same corporation, doesn't mean we work in the same profession. What are you gonna do now? You gonna finesse me? Lawyer me some more? I've been in this profession fifty fucking years. You and the people you work for are destroying the most-respected, the highest-rated, the most-profitable show on this network!
  • Fame has a fifteen minute half-life. Infamy lasts a little longer.


Mike Wallace: You cut it! You cut the guts out of what I said!
Eric Kluster: It was a time consideration, Mike...
Mike Wallace: Time? Bullshit! You corporate lackey! Who told you your incompetent little fingers had the requisite skills to edit me?

Mike Wallace: Who are these people?
Lowell Bergman: Ordinary people under extraordinary pressure, Mike. What the hell do you expect? Grace and consistency?

Jeffrey Wigand: I have to put my family's welfare on the line here, my friend! And what are you putting up? You're putting up words!
Lowell Bergman: Words? While you've been dicking around at some fucking company golf tournaments, I've been out in the world, giving my word and backing it up with action.

Jeffrey Wigand: I'm just a commodity to you, aren't I? I could be anything. Right? Anything worth putting on between commercials.
Lowell Bergman: To a network, probably, we're all commodities. To me? You are not a commodity. What you are is important.

Mike Wallace: In the real world, when you get to where I am, there are other considerations.
Lowell Bergman: Like what? Corporate responsibility? What, are we talking celebrity here?
Mike Wallace: I'm not talking celebrity, vanity, CBS. I'm talking about when you're nearer the end of your life than the beginning. Now, what do you think you think about then? The future? In the future I'm going to do this? Become that? What future? No. What you think is "How will I be regarded in the end?" After I'm gone. Now, along the way I suppose I made some minor impact. I did Iran-Gate and the Ayatollah, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Saddam, Sadat, et cetera, et cetera. I showed them thieves in suits. I've spent a lifetime building all that. But history only remembers most what you did last. And should that be fronting a segment that allowed a tobacco giant to crash this network? Does it give someone at my time of life pause? Yeah.

Lowell Bergman: This news division has been vilified by the New York Times, in print, on television, for caving to corporate interests!
Don Hewitt: The New York Times ran a blow-by-blow of what we talked about behind closed doors! You fucked us!
Lowell Bergman: NO, YOU FUCKED YOU! Don't invert stuff! Big Tobacco tried to smear Wigand, YOU bought it. The Wall Street Journal, here: not exactly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment, refutes Big Tobacco's smear campaign as the lowest form of character assassination! And now, even now, when every word of what Wigand has said on our show is printed, the entire deposition of his testimony in a court of law in the State of Mississippi, the cat TOTALLY out of the bag, you're still standing here debating! Don, what the hell else do you need?
Don Hewitt: Mike, you tell him.
Mike Wallace: You fucked up, Don.

Lowell Bergman: I fought for you and I still fight for you!
Jeffrey Wigand: You fought for me? You manipulated me! Into where I am now - staring at the Brown & Williamson building, it's all dark except for the tenth floor. That's the legal department, that's where they fuck with my life!
Lowell Bergman: Jeffrey, where are you going with this? Where are you going? [Pause]You are important to a lot of people, Jeffrey. You think about that, and you think about them. [Pause] I'm all out of heroes, man. Guys like you are in short supply.
Jeffrey Wigand: Yeah, guys like you, too.


  • Warning: Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardous
  • Two men driven to tell the truth... whatever the cost.


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