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Kill the Messenger (2014)

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Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA's past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was ... See full summary »



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2,829 ( 152)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Gary Webb
... Ronald J. Quail
... Quail's Girlfriend
... L.A. Sheriff
... DEA Agent
... Bob
... Anna Simons
... Ian Webb
... Sue Webb
... Eric Webb
Parker Douglas ... Christine Webb
Kai Schmoll ... Sacramento Journalist
... Rich Kline (as Josh Close)
... Coral Baca
... Rafael Cornejo


Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA's past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras' rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series "Dark Alliance". As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life. Written by Milena Joy Morris

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can you keep a national secret See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official Site | Production Notes |  »



Release Date:

9 October 2014 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Secret d'état  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$941,809, 10 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,450,846, 27 January 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



| (archive footage)| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the late 1980s, Gary Webb had returned with his family to his home state of California, joining the staff of the newspaper the San Jose Mercury News. Webb was already a respected journalist. Furthering his reputation at the latter paper, Webb was in 1990 one of six Mercury News reporters to win a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the Loma Prieta Earthquake. A few years later, in the summer of 1995, he received the phone message that would alter his life forever. The message was from a woman named Coral Baca. Webb had done a Mercury News story on the U.S.A Government's seizures of property from suspected drug dealers, and Baca had read the piece with considerable interest, since her boyfriend, Rafael Cornejo had been in prison for three years on cocaine-related charges. Webb, who chased down every lead and contact, returned the call and met with his unlikely source. Baca told Webb that Cornejo had never been tried but that the government had seized all of his physical property anyway. Webb didn't know what to make of her account until she told him that the government's chief witness against her boyfriend was a drug lord named Danilo Blandon, responsible for smuggling tons of cocaine into the U.S.A, and that she had documents to prove his affiliation with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). A year of intense investigation, both in the U.S.A and abroad, followed for Webb, who then broke the story which would eventually break him. Webb's August 1996 series of three articles for the Mercury News was entitled "Dark Alliance". The three pieces ran simultaneously in print and online, with unprecedented website supplements of videos and documents. Webb reported that drug traffickers working with the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras were importing massive amounts of cocaine into Los Angeles in California, USA where dealers flooded the streets during the crack epidemic, most damagingly in South Central L.A. The articles' bigger revelation was that profit from the drug sales was used to fund the Ronald Reagan White House supported Contra militia fighting a civil war in Nicaragua, which was in clear violation of the Boland Amendment prohibiting support of the war. See more »


When Gary punches his car window in frustration of having his motorbike stolen, the family of 3 spectators on the pool deck assume a position of standing still, close together, and stare at Gary. When Gary yells, "What are you looking at?" they begin to walk away. About 5 seconds later they are back in their earlier pose/location. Even their arm positions are the same. See more »


[first lines]
Richard Nixon: Public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.
Gerald Ford: For nearly a year, I have been devoting increasing attention to a problem which strikes at the very heart of our national well-being: Drug abuse.
Jimmy Carter: I did not condone any drug abuse, and we'll do everything possible to reduce this serious threat to our society.
Ronald Reagan: Drugs are menacing our society. They're threatening our values and ...
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Crazy Credits

Just before the closing credits, there is a short video showing the real Gary Webb at home with his children. See more »


Referenced in Filming in Georgia (2015) See more »


Nothing As It Seems
Written by Jeff Ament
Performed by Pearl Jam
Courtesy of Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

Well done keeps the can of worms open
18 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

This is a true story about a San Jose Mercury News journalist who wrote articles about the CIA and cocaine being brought into California in order to fund contras in Nicaragua. Good to see the journalist's difficulties in exposing big issues. In the light of all the whistle blowing of recent days it's interesting to see the earlier cases that didn't have the media explosion of today.

It's told in a matter of fact way. There is a familiar cast who don't have too big personalities so they are believable. Jeremy Renner suits the role well your typical everyman against the establishment. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is good too - not to glamorous but watchable.

After watching this movie it makes one want to read up further into all sides of the story like did the Washington Post attack the journalist rather than further investigate the issue and how much of the CIA's involvement is fact vs fiction.

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