David vs. Goliath

David vs. Goliath

With the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike all but seemingly wrapped up, we thought we’d dive into movies that feature small groups fighting large corporations – make sure you add some of these movies to your Reelay watchlists!

In the world of cinema, there is a rich tradition of telling stories about individuals and small groups taking on the might of big, faceless corporations. These films not only entertain but also serve as powerful commentaries on the impact of corporate power on society. From gripping dramas to satirical comedies, the best films about fighting big corporations offer viewers a lens through which they can examine the complexities of power, ethics, and justice. In this article, we will explore some of the most compelling films that portray the battle between the little guy and the corporate giant.

Erin Brockovich (2000)
“Erin Brockovich” tells the real-life story of a single mother who, with no legal training, takes on Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for contaminating the water supply of a small town with toxic chemicals. Julia Roberts delivers an Oscar-winning performance as the titular character, showcasing her relentless determination to bring justice to the affected community. The film not only highlights the power of an individual’s conviction but also the importance of corporate accountability.

Network (1976)
“Network” is a satirical masterpiece that takes a darkly humorous look at the sensationalism and manipulation of news media by a major television network. When a disillusioned anchor, Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch), decides to rebel against his corporate overlords on live television, chaos ensues. This film serves as a sharp critique of the corporate-controlled media landscape and its influence on public opinion.

The Social Network (2010)
While not a traditional “David vs. Goliath” story, “The Social Network” delves into the creation of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and the legal battles that followed. It highlights the ruthless ambition, betrayal, and courtroom drama that often accompanies corporate success. The film raises questions about the cost of innovation and the ethical dilemmas faced by tech entrepreneurs.

The China Syndrome (1979)
“The China Syndrome” explores the terrifying consequences of corporate negligence in the nuclear power industry. Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas play investigative journalists who uncover safety violations at a nuclear power plant. As they race to expose the truth, they face resistance from the plant’s management, putting their lives in danger. The film’s title refers to a fictional nuclear meltdown scenario with catastrophic consequences, underlining the importance of corporate responsibility in high-stakes industries.

Michael Clayton (2007)
In “Michael Clayton,” George Clooney stars as a “fixer” for a prestigious law firm, tasked with cleaning up the messes created by wealthy and powerful clients. However, when he stumbles upon a case involving a major agrochemical corporation’s dangerous products, he becomes entangled in a web of corporate conspiracy and legal deceit. The film showcases the moral dilemma faced by individuals caught between their loyalty to a corporation and their duty to society.

The Constant Gardener (2005)
Based on John le CarrĂ©’s novel, “The Constant Gardener” follows a British diplomat (played by Ralph Fiennes) who investigates the unethical practices of a pharmaceutical company in Africa after his wife’s murder. The film exposes the exploitation of vulnerable populations by large pharmaceutical corporations, shedding light on the consequences of corporate greed in the pursuit of profit.

Films that depict the struggle against big corporations serve as a mirror to society, reflecting the challenges of confronting powerful entities in pursuit of justice and accountability. These movies entertain, inform, and provoke thought, leaving audiences with a heightened awareness of the ethical and moral dilemmas posed by corporate influence. Whether through legal battles, investigative journalism, or personal sacrifice, these films remind us that the fight for a more just and equitable society is an ongoing one, and sometimes it takes the courage of a few to inspire change for many.