Film & TV
Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you. These thrilling flicks spin tales of twisted truths, secret agents, and shady government operations. They're sure to have you peering over your shoulder and scouring your apartment for listening devices. Dim the lights, draw the curtains, and try to ignore the sense that you're being watched.
1. The Conversation
In director Francis Ford Coppola’s art house flick, conscious-prone surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) tapes an exchange between a married woman and her lover then worries it could get them both killed. When Caul finds out his employer, The Director (Robert Duvall), is having him followed and bugged, the couple’s doom seems certain. Amidst paranoid replays of the fateful conversation and an overflowing, bloody toilet, the Nixon-era message is clear: Don’t let yourself be recorded … or else.
2. All the President's Men
This could be considered the ultimate government conspiracy movie, seeing as it’s a retelling of how true-life newspaper reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) cracked open Watergate and took down the president. Although at times the scenes seem to play on a loop (uncover clues, tell the boss, repeat), the story’s historical significance and super believable performances (they sit around all the time–just like real journalists!) make for a must-see. Looking to fully immerse yourself in the conspiracy? Try the book.
3. The Parallax View
If you’re looking for a feel-good tale of an underdog (Warren Beatty) exposing a manipulative and corrupt government in order to enlighten its unaware citizens, this is not your movie–or your book. It’s grim from the first assassination scene to the last, and you’re left with the uneasy feeling that it might be time to move to Canada.
4. Marathon Man
Based on William Goldman's novel, another Dustin Hoffman-led film, featuring government employees making poor life choices. But this time, he doesn’t seek out the twisted truth–it finds him. The antics of secret agents, double agents, and war criminals keep this thriller sprinting through plot points. And an agonizing, too-long torture scene makes you think twice about scheduling that next dentist’s visit.
5. Three Days of the Condor
James Grandy's classic novel became a classic film. It’s a run-of-the-mill day for CIA code-researcher Condor (Robert Redford), until he goes out to lunch and comes back to find his coworkers slaughtered. He calls his superiors to send for backup, only to realize they’re the ones out to get him. As Condor tries to shake the target off his back, he unravels a cover up that spans the globe.
6. Capricorn One
The space program has accrued its fair share of conspiracy theorists–and this film about a faked Mars landing does nothing to help dissuade them. The corruption starts at ground level with a government contractor and faulty re-entry system. The ship’s crew (O.J. Simpson, James Brolin, Sam Waterston) agree to tape the landing in a movie studio, but once the rocket burns up on the way back to Earth, it’s every astronaut for himself.
Featured still from "The Conversation" via Paramount Pictures