Before 'J. Edgar,' Catch Up With Films That Show How the FBI Really Works

From Mulder and Scully to the man who caught John Dillinger, five flicks get the bureau right

xfiles movie 20th century fox.jpg

20th Century Fox

Clint Eastwood officially reopens the file on J. Edgar Hoover this week with his new biopic, starring a heavily made-up Leonardo DiCaprio as the founder and longtime director of the FBI. In so doing, man/myth/legend Eastwood also launches yet another major-motion-picture investigation into federal crime-busting arcana.

But while the majority of these bureau-centric films concern agents in the field—like Silence of the Lambs' Clarice Starling, to name just one very prominent example—fewer films have offered more expansive pictures of the organization's inner workings, or hinted at its internecine rivalries and the complicated structure of its bureaucracy. Below are five worthwhile films, all readily available for rental, that give a broader glimpse of FBI operations than does the typical federal-investigation procedural.

Presented by

Benjamin Mercer has written on film for The Village Voice, The New York Sun, The L Magazine, and Reverse Shot. He is a copy editor at Bookforum. More

He has also copyedited for two New York dailies: The New York Sun and amNewYork.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Entertainment

Just In