Without doubt, the frequent nature of wars in the 20th century gave the world some of its biggest celebrity war reporters. Some of these reporters ended up becoming famous writers. Ernest Hemingway was of course the most famous amongst them.
Now, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Danish Siddiqui’s recent death in Afghanistan has shocked one and all. It has also brought to light the dangers associated with war reporting. Suddenly, everyone is wondering what it’s like to be a journalist working in a war/conflict zone. Evidently, the 20th century also witnessed some of the finest films about reporters working in the war zones.
So let’s revisit some of those classics from the last century and try to understand what life is like for journalists operating from such regions.
1. Under Fire (1983)
This Roger Spottiswoode-directed war drama is set Nicaragua. Three journalists in a romantic triangle get involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in the country before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979.
This film has one of the most mesmerizing background scores for war dramas and the performances are absolutely top-notch. Also, I just can’t praise the cinematography enough. For a film with violence galore, Under Fire is totally watchable and can be enjoyed at different levels.
2. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
This Peter Weir classic is set in Indonesia. A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil in the country during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.
Here is another film with great music and wonderful performances. Since it’s directed by Peter Weir one can be rest assured about the film’s technical brilliance. The real USP of the film is the chemistry between Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. And not to mention the American actress Linda Hunt who plays a male Chinese-Australian photographer and actually takes home an Oscar.