'The Insider,' Starring Al Pacino & Russell Crowe, Debuts On Blu-ray Feb. 19
"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" (1999) was directed by Michael Mann and also features Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Debi Mazar, Colm Feore, and Rip Torn.