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.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

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

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In