Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a 2015 documentary film about Scientology. Directed by Alex Gibney, it is based on Lawrence Wright's book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief (2013). Produced by HBO, the film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. It received widespread praise from critics and
was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, winning three, including Best Documentary.
The film deconstructs the church's claims by presenting a condensed history of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, examining how celebrities interact with the church, and highlighting the stories of a number of ex-members and of the abuse and exploitation that they described seeing and experiencing. The Church of Scientology responded vehemently to the film, complaining to film critics about their reviews and denouncing the filmmakers and their interviewees.
Going Clear was released in a limited number of theaters on March 13, 2015 and aired on HBO on March 29, 2015. It was a major ratings success and by mid-April 2015 had attracted 5.5 million viewers, making it the second most-watched HBO documentary in the past decade. It was subsequently released internationally, showing in theaters and on television despite a sustained campaign by the Church of Scientology to block its release.
Going Clear is based closely on Lawrence Wright's book, covering much of the same ground with the aid of archive footage, dramatic reconstructions, and interviews with eight former Scientologists: Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning director; Mark Rathbun, the church's former second-in-command; Mike Rinder, the former head of the church's Office of Special Affairs; the actor Jason Beghe; Sylvia 'Spanky' Taylor, former liaison to John Travolta; and former Scientologists Tom DeVocht, Sara Goldberg, and Hana Eltringham Whitfield.