The Top 10 Best PR Movies Of All Time

Jerry Maguire Agent

Photo: 6 Magazine

So following last week’s article regarding the best PR books wanted to take this opportunity to provide a list of the Top 10 PR movies.While there is very little in the mass media which accurately reflects the day-to-day of a Public Relations career, this list can help those wanting to become the best in the PR industry.

So, my list of the top 10 PR Movies of all time:

Wag the Dog: The movie which starred Dustin Hoffman & Robert DeNiro is focused upon a Washington political consultant/PR pro who created a fake war, replete with movies, theme songs and other aspects meant to distract the public. The power of public relations is apparent here.

Jerry Maguire: What list of PR movies could be complete without this classic Tom Cruise flick? From the immortal “Show Me the Money” lines to the disputes with other agents trying to steal his clients, his hard work for his clients and pushing them on marketing, there are many transferable skills from this movie for those of us in PR – and it’s a great one.

Thank You For Smoking: Follows a good looking suave head of a tobacco lobby – as he spins tobacco health claims on television – and in several amusing scenes cavorts with others in questionable industries – Firearm and alcohol lobbyists.  The movie ends with a great quote “Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everybody has a talent.”

The Social Network: Public Relations today of course includes digital media, and if we believe the movie, Public Relations via the Harvard newspaper enabled students to first learn about their new social media platform – and that’s where all the fun began – and continued with negatively planted stories.  It tells a great business story – and encompasses both digital media and more traditional public relations stories.

Sweet Smell of Success: Made in 1957, in 1993 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film highlights the relationship between a gossip columnist and the head of a PR Agency – and shows the closely tied relationships – still relevant today between journalists and PR.

Jersey Girl: PR’s a high pressure industry and its non-stop, as the start of this movie shows us with Ben Affleck losing it at a high-stakes press conference – and then losing his job. With touches on Public Relations throughout the movie, the star transitions to a PR man at the end of the movie again – to a group of citizens in his New Jersey town.

Phone Booth: While only the beginning of the movie really discusses the publicity career of Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell), it’s a whole movie about someone who’s playing a publicist – so has to be on the list of best PR movies for that reason alone.

The Candidate: A charming movie about how a PR pro can create a candidate out of very little material.  It’s the quintessential story of how Public Relations can spin truth and shows the power of the industry – for good and for bad.

Primary colours – Yet another movie about political PR consultants helping candidates on their path in politics.  From cover-ups in media to spin, handling emergency PR situations it’s enjoyable, entertaining and educational.

 All the President’s Men – This political drama has an anonymous press source bringing down the White House – and it’s based upon the classic story and offers many usable tips any crisis PR agency can learn from.

And as a bonus – 2 great PR television shows:

The West Wing – This television drama has been called the most realistic portrait of White House inner workings by many political junkies. And CJ Cregg (played by Allison Janney) is a very talented press secretary – who doesn’t get rattled and always has great one-liners for the media.

Mad Men – While based upon an advertising agency in a different era, it’s amazing television and offers many relevant scenarios – including client-staff interaction, creative (and new business pitches), and agency dynamics.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a top 25 US PR Agency.

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