One was Silkwood. I think it captures the fear of the average person who takes a stand really well. Set in Oklahoma in the mid 70s, it follows a women who works for a company making plutonium rods. Karen Silkwood charges the company with unsafe working conditions and mismanagement of nuclear materials. When people talk about Meryl Streep as the actress of her generation, this movie is one of those cited as why. She and Cher are excellent and there are scenes in this movie which feel terrifyingly real. The real Silkwood died on her way to meet a reporter. Her activism and the investigation of her claims after her death resulted in changes in how nuclear materials were handled and transported.
I think, however, that the best movie about speaking truth to power is All The President's Men (1976)
Watergate started as a break-in at the DC offices of the Democratic National Committee and ended up forcing President Richard Nixon to resign in disgrace. The movie chronicles how the break-in started an investigation by two reporters for the Washington Post which lead to uncovering corruption at the highest levels of the Republican Party. Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bertnstein (Dustin Hoffman) play the reporters who break the case. Its different from Silkwood in that it isn't about an individual but an institution holding power accountable. I think I really like this movie, in part, because of my background in journalism and one of my childhood memories is being confused watching President Nixon get on a helicopter and leave the White House. All The President's Men helped explain why everything was so turbulent as I got older. Part of being a patriot is having the courage to say no when the easier answer is yes. Convictions matter.
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