J. Edgar is a 2011 American biographical drama film directed, co-produced, and scored by Clint Eastwood. Written by Dustin Lance Black, the film focuses on the career of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from the Palmer Raids onwards.
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench and Ed Westwick. J. Edgar opened the AFI Fest 2011 in Los Angeles on November 3, 2011, and had its limited release on November 9, followed by wide release on November 11.
The film opens with J. Edgar Hoover in his office during his later years. He talks to Agent Smith in order to tell the story of the origin of the FBI for the sake of the public. In 1919 A. Mitchell Palmer was Attorney General and Hoover's boss at the Justice Department when anarchists attempted to assassinate him by bombing his house, but the bomb explodes earlier than intended and he was not harmed. Hoover realized that criminal science was needed to handle such cases. Palmer puts him in charge of a new anti-radical division, at a time when even the Boston Police Department has been on strike, and the public fears immigrant anarchists. Hoover quickly began compiling a list of suspected radicals. He has a meeting with Helen Gandy, a new secretary at the Justice Department. Hoover takes Gandy to the Library of Congress, and shows her the card catalog system he devised. He makes an awkward pass at her, then proposes to her. She refuses him but agrees to become his personal secretary.