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Scientology: The Ex-Files2011

  • 3.5
Behind Scientology's high celebrity profile lies an organisation on its knees. In this powerful documentary produced for the Australian television program Four Corners, a band of former elite members emerge from the secretive religion to allege extreme cruelty, slave labour and financial greed. A jaw-dropping investigation, powerful and well-crafted.

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7 members like this review

Exceptional documentary. Courageous and illuminating. Could have never been done in the US. I am grateful for its existence.

top reviewer

Member Reviews (99)

top reviewer

Exceptional documentary. Courageous and illuminating. Could have never been done in the US. I am grateful for its existence.

7 members like this review
top reviewer

This is an episode of a TV news magazine, with sound-bite interview style and little dramatic flair. It presents the facts, or such of the facts as relate to the interviewees, clearly and believably enough, and some specifics of the strongarm tactics that the 'church' uses to control its members will probably be new even to people who already knew something about Scientology. What it doesn't do is provide any insight into why anyone would fall for this stuff, or why they would remain in such an under-written organization. 'Sea Org'? 'Body Thetans'? Come on!

5 members like this review
9277869f0cb6874cb4256ecde3ba56cd? m 0022
top reviewer

If you've read a lot of books and web sites written by ex-Scientology members, as I have, this movie will be nothing new (aside from profiling Australian ex-members, instead of the usual Americans). However, if you haven't, it's a semi-good introduction to what Scientology is really about. The main question it doesn't even try to answer, which I think is very important, is WHY did these members stay with Scientology so long, WHY did they do the things they did within the cult. A discussion of mind control techniques would have been very appropriate, I think.

3 members like this review

Spot on!

Db4052e30f4952377dd9115cefcb96af? f 0020
top reviewer

I enjoyed this film which reveals a lot about this secretive and influential "religion" which seems like the basic tenet is "abuse leads to salvation" and "pay to pray" lol. The official spokesman for Scientology was periodically questioned during the film and he squirmed,twitched and showed so many tells that he was lying in his answer to most of the questions. Couple of times it looked like he wanted to jump out of his skin at even being asked such questions. The older woman who was in Sea Org with Hubbard had tremendous credibility in comparison and so did the family who had left and suffered so much loss and regret.

3 members like this review

This was most enlightening, and very captivating. I have never known anything about Scientology, and this documentary certainly reveals way more than I could have imagined. It's hard to believe that this is legal, and that this so-called religion is allowed to operate in a free country. Quite alarming - a definate "must see."

2 members like this review
3bd1498fc0fe488559e11ca4bbdbcf2d? m 0045
top reviewer

It's shocking how many human rights violations occur in this organization. The ironic fact that a sci- fi writer actually created this religion is not lost on me at all. I find it remarkable however that so many film industry giants buy into this, literally.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Very well done, and informative.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

This is just a start...

1 member likes this review

It's really scary that they can do what they do and get away with it. Great documentary.

1 member likes this review

This is an excellent documentary, and there is much other revealing information available regarding Scientology. How can so many obviously intelligent people buy into this crap? I have read all of Hubbards science fiction and he is a very entertaining writer, but realistically, it is all "fiction". Dianetics is so transparently fantasy, and Hubbard is (was) a complete nut job. Where do all these "serious" people come from? Would they otherwise be super susceptible to other cults? Travolta and Cruise are both extremely entertaining and talented actors. Is it just the coddling of these rich "entitled" persons that is so attractive? Where do all the sycophants come from?

1 member likes this review

Yes, there are many religions that make slaves of their followers by using fear to motivate and keep them. True religion uses "love for God" to motivate them. (1John5:3; 4:20)

1 member likes this review

Crazy stuff man!

1 member likes this review

I don't believe that is a church, its a cover up for a scam. We are just scraching the surface of it with this investigating. Need more investigating done.

1 member likes this review

It doesn't seem to tell the whole story, like what may be positive about it that so many people join. It does tell how controlling they can be and how difficult it may be to leave.

1 member likes this review

Shocked. What a scam. What is scary is that smart people also fall for it. Excellent investigative reporting. This church should be outlawed all over the world. This is not a religion, its a cult.

1 member likes this review

Frightening and a great contribution.

top reviewer

Covers some of the same ground as the recent HBO doc GOING CLEAR, but makes a nice companion piece with additional footage including some interviews with Scientology's mouthpiece Tommy Davis and some heartbreaking footage with families affected by disconnection.

2e96eff8174b408fe68458c53c86b24b? f 0025
top reviewer

Job well done. I didn't learn much new, but a lot of past learnings were resurrected with strong feelings attached. I wish the film had captioning as I may have missed a few points because of my hearing loss. I also found myself going back through the experience of my son leaving home at 16 to join the Unification Church of "Rev." Moon, his "true father." Though he left the cult in the 1980's, he still believes Moon, though now dead, is his true father. The Unification Church is also wealthy and also sends their "missionaries" out to work various jobs, working basically for room and board in the church's "communities." Scientology seems to be just another cult, but one with very sophisticated structure and security.

top reviewer

Well Done. Scientology is as scary as it is crazy.

Ea2d2dd69090671644657ec59aa60653? m 0087
top reviewer

Pretty Scary stuff...Think this should be investigate further to see if more can be uncovered...yipes!

Ebbd16088284f1d48e4a7fb1870ee4b6? f 0048
top reviewer

That was about as middle of the road as you can get. No revelations. Quite boring.

77fdb7fed0480f05741933da0c094d40? f 0053
top reviewer

very poorly done, said nothing

top reviewer

Tommy Davis stammers, blinks, looks away, and speaks as if reciting what he was told by others. You can tell in his eyes that he's lying. People are wondering how they can be called a church but the answer is easy. Money runs governments, scientology has money. I agree with dschweisguth - why not tell us how people are fooled by all this trash? People should know that religion is free or else it's a scam.

top reviewer

informative but not engrossing. I was able to jump back and forth and have several convos on FB simultaneously so .....enuf said.

top reviewer

Chilling expose' of an organization that is in no way a religion, but a business.

top reviewer

This is an engaging and enlightening documentary that focuses on ex-member testimony about the internal workings of the church, specifically the Sea Org. The direction plays an fairly objective back-and-forth between ex-members and a church spokesman.

By this time, the entire world is made aware that Scientology is certainly not a religion, but a cult. I am giving this basic documentary more stars because I believe it important to get the word out about the evils of Scientology so that more people can be protected from entering into it. There are so many such films around that it is hard to believe that anyone could possible become a Scientologist at this point. If the allegations made by those who have left are true, this organization does need to be reviewed by governments all around the world and dismantled as required.

It is frightening to know that no matter how much evidence is stacked up against them, institutions are able to hide behind their wealth. Exposes like this do a good job of raising public awareness, but I worry about how much they do to actually solve the problem.

Just sort of ok. Doesn't go far enough. Ends abruptly.

I would recommend reading the book "Going Clear" for an even more exhaustive account of the inner-workings of Scientology.

This documentary was enlightening and featured individuals & families who left (more an escape from) the church and related disturbing stories of work/labor abuses, confinement, and forced severing of ties between family members. Documentary was on track, painting a vivid picture through such personal stories, had appropriately framed these with brief background on L. Ron Hubbard and church history in US and Australia, but then...after another personal event was related, documentary just abruptly ended. Very odd. Sorry fellow Fandor fans :) but like one of those foreign movies where you're engaged and then realize "Oh, it's over. I guess. Um..." Strange there was no effort put into tying this documentary together before the closing credits.

* I notice many reviews are quite critical not only of Scientology but of people who follow it. L. Ron's less outlandish idea that behavioral limitations to success are often based on past traumas is nothing new & could draw in many simply interested in self improvement. Then the more crazy concepts and constructs begin. The documentary might be served by getting into psychology of why people stayed, but it's easy enough to extrapolate from scenarios described. For example, church rep (what a PR job this guy has) argues that members (e.g. young adults working within church, often far from home) are never forced to sever ties with parents (apostates who left) but if they do have contact with such people "who are harming church" they can't be part of church. Other aspects are brutally long work days earning pennies per hour with provided food & lodging, and limited contact with family outside or even partners inside church. are isolated within the only community and power structure you know, the only safety you have, no additional source of income (equals freedom for flight), weakened threads to supportive relationships outside. Frightening but effective control. And many of us are similarly controlled by something simple--idea we matter, that we are working hard for a cause, we are part of something. How long did it take you to leave that horrible abusive job? and yet you could drive home every night. Not a perfect analogy, but inclusion and safety are key motivators especially once people are beaten down and isolated.

Demeter's review says it all.

Meh. I can say that there wasn't much here I didn't already know. This exposé simply re-inforced my opinion of Scientology as a dangerous cult.

Fun to watch these toilet bugs squirm.

Interesting informational documentary......definitely learned a few things about Scientology that I didn't know!

It boggles my mind that any half way intelligent person would get involved with such an obvious fraud like Scientology, but like the man said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

The Doc. made me cringe the first time I saw it and I have the same feeling as I did the first time. I can't believe this thing is still going on. How can people believe in this CRAP.

Very informative and disturbing. Yet, not surprising.

Chilling, sad, very informative.

scientologists. whew. what a bunch of dangerous nuts.

Great glimpse into the world of scientology.

An interesting documentary. Not what I had expected and definitely, not shat I was looking for. I had hoped it would be a more generalized overview of Scientology.... The actual (hi)story of Scientology. History of Hubbard and how his "religion" came to be. Why "Celebrities" are drawn to it. The entire sci-fi aspect of this philosophy. However, this film does tell a very interesting story, none the less. Definitely worth watching.

Interesting look inside Scientology---very scary organization.

This was very interesting. I now intend to research this in more depth just for my own knowledge. I do not understand how people such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta can be 'brain-washed' into believing this doctrine. It is beyond my imagination. They must be really searching for something in their lives that is missing to be so accepting of these ideals. These certainly should be illegal as far as the wages and hours people are expected to work.

Great documentary about the horrible abuses suffered by Scientology's prisoners around the world

weird "religion" interesting documentary.

Wow very informative

This is just another cult with a lot of blah blah blah who just wants to take money from their idiots followers as Tom Cruise and others. In my country, Brazil had a small House that I rented it to one of these sects called Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, in Portuguese: Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus. Once I had the invitation to a cult, I went because I had the curiosity to know what they do in a cult. While there I heard one of the pastors telling to another "you will see that all this silly people here with the good brainwashing that we will make they will leave a lot of money" I really could not believe what was hearing. What they said in their cults is that the more you gives more the Lord Jesus will give you. I have a well known friend that she belongs to one of these sects, started to go slowly with a certain time she was completely given over to the sect, his life was for the sect. One day she had an accident and was in bed for more than 2 weeks without power to go to cults. Do you think that someone or any pastor came to visit her to find out if she needed something? NO ONE! Rather thought it was a member of cult that came over the house to speak with her and see when she will back to his administrative work in the sect wich was free! These sects only brain wash people. It's very strange that someone so educated and studied as Tom Cruise beyond fallen into their hands and feed them with his money.

Spooky, creepy stuff

It was interesting as I have little knowledge about Scientology.

Not very well rounded, only focusing on one part of Sientology.

What’s been seen going on in the church or churches is one of the biggest and most deceitful and fraudulent scams that’s probably ever been seen before. The Bible actually calls it treacherous deceit. A cover up, to pillage, deal deceitfully. Do a word search at blue letter bible on the internet. And the only reason it went on as long as it did is because of the people’s generosity, And food intoxication. Either make the tree good and it's fruit good, or make it corrupt and it's fruit will be corrupt. Matt 12:33 LK 6:33 The church that belittles and makes light of the Law will eventually fall. ECCLESIASTICUS 19:20 How hard is it to make a decent effort? Sounds like the church needs to straighten up before it's found corrupt. Would your contribution to society be to feed hypocrisy? It’s like kindling a fire.

What value has any church put on the HOLY BIBLE? The good seed. HOW many other books has it encouraged you to read? I’ve seen a lot that have put very little faith in THE HOLY BIBLE. And I’ve already heard how many other books it’s tried to sell you that confirms that. PSALMS 124: 7 The reason I say that is, some churches take advantage of the people’s desire to worship THE LORD JESUS, and their hopes of salvation. But to them THE LORD JESUS, the HOLY BIBLE and salvation are tools used to lure you to a church. Then the bait and switch takes place . You might want to read a blog. Type, blog youneed toread, type as 2 words critical. When seeking the GOD of compassion, we need a heart of humility ! And the next time you hear a sermon on radio or tv ask yourself a question. What does he know that he’s keeping from other’s.

The Old Testament sacrifices were symbolic of what all would be called to do. Have you ever noticed that when some churches try to make light of or belittle the Law it runs to the letters of paul ? And you probably never thought about why did you ? Would you like to know what you’re not being told ? Especially if you attend church. Read a blog. type blog, youneed toread, type as 2 words critical. Some people have missed the message of the cross and the washing of the feet. And if you can grasp that then you know why. Have you ever heard the church speak about a rapture? Paul thought he would be alive when it was to take place. But he died waiting for it. Hopefully you won't. The church has said that a true prophet must be 100% accurate 100% of the time. Seems that was something else paul and the church missed ? OR did they ? Paul also spoke about a lot of unpredictable afflictions. Now what would be the significance of all the healings that took place on the Sabbath IN THE Gospel’s? Suffering is a call to repent not the results of repentance. Paul’s suffering was the results of his own disobedience. Click on user name for more. Now that yahoo has changed its format i had to find an old site. So if you would like to read the debates go to Unorthodox Celeb Moms and click on youneed. Would you like to know what the churches haven't told you ??

it could have been so much more...instead a trifling look, so superficial...looks to be very amateurish. very disappointing

This just confirms all the negative things I have heard about Scientology.

The "Scientology--The Ex-File" is an excellent account of how deceptive Scientology is. It enlightens one about human trafficking, abuse of children and adults, violation of labor laws, mind control etc. It reminds me of a cult.

Very enlightening. Boggles the mind and soul that these types of organizations are allowed to continue to run such a fraudulent organization. There have been many, many complaints, documentaries, books, etc. written about their abuse. Why does the government turn a blind eye? Something we should all be asking, and demanding answers to.

Very insightful and chilling.

Great documentary on the pseudo religious cult of Scientology including accounts of human slavery, imprisonment, torture, kidnapping, stalking, and many instances of women workers, married women workers, forced to have abortions.

I have been reading about this cult-like religion and this film was a further enlightening experience about Scientology. I hadn't realized that there was so much abuse of its members. I am eager to read or watch all I can about it. This film was very well done, with very interesting people participating.

People who know about the horrors of Scientology will remember Lisa McPherson.

Interesting and fairly creepy.

This is an exceptional piece of journalism and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do hope there will be follow-up on this cult as things move further along.

Anybody with common sense know that Scientology is about money and control. They always sound like such robots when they try to explain that their type of religion is to make you lead a happier life. How is that working for Tom Cruise these days since his ex-wife had to divorce him like a kidnapped victim who took her chance to run . Anybody who has that much money and power in any religion usually comes from greed and manipulation to the weaker folks who easily believe they just can not do it by themselves. They convince you of this as you are writing them a big fat money check. Even when entertainment stars brag about them they sound so fake its ridiculous . Fake religions like this and many more will always amount to control and money so none of this is NEW NEWS to me .

This is a frightening organization of mind control and torture. This piece followers along much as the latest book about the organization. It is amazing that they continue getting away with it. Their treatment of children who have parents working for the "Church" is horrendous. This piece should be seen by the world. The piece is excellently produced and giving it 4-stars is difficult because the organization is so terrible.

It's shocking that this is still going on today! Religion it is not, Cult it is. We should not be supporting people that follow this cult-Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kristi Alley the list goes on and on (remember they sign a billion year contract)!

I have always been suspicious of the "Church" of Scientology, and this short documentary confirms those suspicions. It is far more a cult, similar to Jim Jones and Jamestown, than a true religous organization. While the stories of those who had left the "church" were interesting, they were also incomplete, and left me with many questions. I would have preferred a longer and more thorough expose of this group.

Wow...disturbing...who's that scientology guy they he's made out of wax...weird...good documentary but I shook my head a lot while sounds crazy now. I'm sure the victims had good intentions to in the

Very Interesting movie. Sheds a lot of light on the whole subject.

Amazing. Why aren't they all in jail?

baby kaely

Sick, Sick pupies to begin with. Weak and stupid people making these bastrds incrediby wealthy. All run by attornys! Great documentary

I can't believe that Scientology is even considered a religion. It is a corporation based on a book of science-fiction. My heart goes out to all of these families. <3

Could have been longer; also, had a sort of TV quality to it; more of a report than a documentary.

Seemingly objective documentary on behalf of the corrupt Scientology organization.


Very informative. One of the only films I have ever been able to find about this bizarre organization.

some humans just don't get it, do they? lol.

exposes scientology as purely evil

Excellent Documentary!


Very interesting but I could only think of the many other crazy cults out there that practice the same abuse. Just make them all pay taxes and then the veils of secrecy and cult practice will begin to erode.

It's unfortunate some people get suckered "in", especially at a young age. I'm surprised there aren't any more people coming out in the open with this. Obviously they are scared and afraid because they are being spied on and no sense of privacy. Absolutely insane.

Not a great documentary, but it covers an important subject. Scientology seems to generally keep under the radar. This film reveals the poor treatment and exploitation that many members are subject to.

I wasn't convinced.

Powerful. I wonder if the only reason they haven't been hauled up on charges of human trafficking is that they have infiltrated some of the organizations that should be investigating them.

A very good - if slight - expose' on this filthy degradation of human dignity.

Every adult American should see this, and learn of the bilious scam. They put up a cross, and go tax-free on billions of dollars that suckers give them.

I read that their goal is to get $300,000 from each sucker. Each should borrow money, and borrow from his parents.

Scary!!! absolutely useful


very interesting

Terrific piece of work. Well thought, and put together extremely well.

9e7a0c0d421c9c471bd47db3de680919? m 0089

an amazing expose on this Cult.

I'm so glad you had this available. with all the hoopla, I'm not familiar enough to understand the "big deal". Now, I am. Education is key. Go Katie. Cruise should watch this and make a public response. In defense of his religion. Thank you.Wow.

informative but superficial

very interesting

Seems a bit prejudiced but there are answers needed.

Engaging, but I think they hamstrung themselves by trying too hard for neutrality. A thorough investigation would be even more damning.