ETHICS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB


This web site is brought to you by the good folks at the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton.

If you have suggestions for additions, contact Paul Martin Lester by E-mail or through his home page.


Movie and TV Ethics

  • A Search of Ethics in Films and TV Shows
    Search results from the keyword "ethics" within the Internet Movie Database.

  • Absence of Malice (1981)
    Paul Newman plays the son of a long dead mafia boss who is a simple liquor warehouse owner. Frustrated in their attempt to solve a murder of a union head, a prosecutor leaks a false story that Newman is a target of the investigation, hoping that he will tell them something for protection. As His live begins to unravel, others are hurt by the story. Sally Field, the reporter, is in the clear under the Absence of Malice rule in slander and libel cases. Knowing nothing to trade to the prosecutors, Newman must regain control of his life on different ground.

  • All the President's Men (1976)
    Enactment of the work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who uncovered the dirty tricks campaign and the coverup of the White House's involvement in the Watergate break in. The stories they wrote were very instrumental in the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.

  • The Big Carnival (1951)
    Charles Tatum, a down-on-his-luck reporter, takes a job with a small New Mexico newspaper. The job is pretty boring until he finds a man trapped in a mine. He jumps at the chance to make a name for himself by taking over and prolonging the rescue effort, and feeding stories to major newspapers. He creates a national media sensation and milks it for all it is worth.

  • Body and Soul (1947)
    Charley Davis wins an amateur boxing match and is taken on by promoter Quinn. Charley's mother doesn't want him to fight, but when Charley's father is accidentally killed, Charley sets up a fight for money. His career blooms as he wins fight after fight, but soon an unethical promoter named Roberts begins to show an interest in Charley, and Charley finds himself faced with increasingly difficult choices.

  • Broadcast News (1987)
    Basket-case network news producer Jane Craig falls for new reporter Tom Grunnick, a pretty boy who represents the trend towards entertainment news she despises. Aaron Altman, a talented but plain correspondent, carries an unrequited torch for Jane. Sparks fly between the three as the network prepares for big changes, and both the news and Jane must decide between style and substance.

  • Chicago Hope (1994) (TV)
    Television medical drama in soap-opera style. Surgeons Jeffrey Geiger and Aaron Shutte battle valiantly for their patients, often coming into conflict with the hospital administration, run by Dr. Phillip Watters. Their cases are usually ethically complex, highly sensationalistic, and very melodramatic.

  • Lou Grant (1977) (TV)
    After everyone on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" got fired, Lou Grant went to Los Angeles and became city editor of the L.A. Tribune, owned by Mrs. Pynchon, with whom Lou often has loud but sympathetic arguments. Lots of social causes and interpersonal relationships.

  • Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
    Orphans Edward "Blackie" Gallagher and Jim Wade are lifelong friends who take different paths in life. Blackie thrives on gambling and grows up to be a hard-nosed racketeer. Bookworm Wade becomes a D.A. vying for the Governorship. When Blackie's girlfriend Eleanor leaves him and marries the more down to earth Wade, Blackie harbors no resentment. In fact, their friendship is so strong that Blackie murders an attorney threatening to derail Wade's bid to become Governor. The morally straight Wade's last job as D.A. is to convict his friend of the murder, and send him to the electric chair. After he becomes Governor, Wade has the authority to commute Blackie's death sentence-- a decision that pits his high moral ethics against a lifelong friendship.

  • The Man Inside (1990)
    Gunter Wallraff is a journalist seeking to expose the unethical journalism practiced by The Standard, a very popular and powerful German newspaper. He goes undercover, using forged identity papers and at great personal risk, to join their staff. Once there, he sees how they don't just report the news, but manufacture it to suit the personal political agenda of the paper's leaders.

  • Network (1976)
    In 1975 terrorist violence is the stuff of network nightly news programming and the corporate structure of the UBS television network is changing. Meanwhile, Howard Beale, the aging UBS news anchor, has lost his once strong ratings share and so the network fires him. Beale reacts in an unexpected way. We then see how this affects the fortunes of Beale, his coworkers (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen), and the network.

  • Return to Paradise (1998)
  • Rope (1948)
    Lewis, Sheriff and Tony are three American guys who meet and hang out one summer at the beach huts of Malaysia. There they enjoy the luxuries of women, rum and hashish. As the summer ends, Tony and Sheriff go back to New York, but Lewis decides to go to Borneo to help save the orangutan. But before he got the chance to leave, he was arrested for possession of the leftover hash and sentenced to death because he was considered to be trafficking. Two years go by and Sheriff and Tony are living their lives peacefully in The Big Apple when Lewis' lawyer tells them the news: three years each if they both go, six years if one goes, Lewis' death if neither go. Although they both do not want Lewis to die, they do not know him well enough to really want to sacrifice three years of their life to a Third-World prison. "Return to Paradise" watches Sheriff and Tony as they struggle to decide in the short period of time.

  • Under Fire (1983)
    Nicaragua 1979: Star photographer Russel Price covers the civil war against president Somoza. Facing the cruel fighting - people versus army - it's often hard for him to stay neutral. When the Guerillas have him take a picture of the leader Rafael, who's believed to be dead, he gets drawn into the happenings. Together with his reporter friends Claire and Alex he has to hide from the army.

  • Up Close and Personal (1996)
    This is a telling of the Jessica Savitch story, the newswoman who, in the 1970's, became the "First Woman Anchor". Sally/Tally is taken under the wing of Warren in a Miami newsroom and becomes a news star on TV. Despite her love for Warren, she takes the big chance and moves on to Philadelphia, where he follows to rescue her faltering career at the cost of his own - as she rises he falls.

  • Wall Street (1987)
    Bud Fox is a Wall Street stockbroker with a strong desire to get to the top. Working for his firm during the day, he spends his spare time working an on angle with with to approach the high-powered, extremely successful (but ruthless) broker Gordon Gekko. He finally meets with Gekko, who explains to him his philosophy that "Greed is Good". Taking this advice and working closely with Gekko, Fox soon finds himself swept into a world of "yuppies", shady business deals, the "good life", fast money, and fast women; something which is at odds with his family and the way he was brought up.


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