The Best Political Films Ever Made Films
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The Best Political Films Ever Made

Political movies can approach the notion of politics and government from numerous perspectives, and with many wildly divergent purposes. Some of the earliest and best-remembered films were essentially propaganda tools being used by a political party or ideological group, hoping that the new media of cinema could be useful in helping to persuade or mollify the masses. (In some cases, as with the Nazi documentary "Triumph of the Will" or Sergei Eisenstein's massively influential "Battleship Potemkin," they were undeniable successful, at least initially.)

Political films can also serve the opposite purpose, encouraging people to distrust or even fear their government, or attacking an individual politician or political movement specifically. The paranoia thrillers of the 1970s, for example, reflected America's distrust in its own leaders following the Watergate and other corruption scandals. More recently, George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck" told a true story about journalist Edward R. Murrow facing off against Joseph McCarthy, but as a way of discussing political issues that remained relevant even upon its release in 2005.

Many Americans' understanding of complex political situations, both in their homeland and in other countries, as well, comes from watching popular films. For example, the satirical take on the politics of war in "Wag the Dog," the insights into Greek politics provided by Costa-Gavras "Z" or the look at Bolivian elections in the documentary "Our Brand is Crisis."

This list includes notable and significant political movies from throughout cinema history from all different styles and genres. It is VoteRanked and Open, so be sure to vote up your favorites, vote down the movies you don't think belong on the list and add any other suggestions you have at the bottom of the page.

Check out more lists like this awesome collection of political thrillers, slave movies that will make you question the justice of history, and
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  1. 1
    Up 270
    Down 50

    the people's #1 James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott

  2. 2
    Up 197
    Down 60

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

  3. 3
    Up 155
    Down 45

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

  4. 4
    Up 128
    Down 45

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

  5. 5
    Up 102
    Down 43

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

  6. 6
    Up 92
    Down 27

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

  7. 7
    Up 142
    Down 52

    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

  8. 8
    Up 109
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

  9. 9
    Up 74
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    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

  10. 10
    Up 131
    Down 63

    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

  11. 11
    Up 69
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    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

  12. 12
    Up 147
    Down 38

    ranked low on reranks James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

  13. 13
    Up 96
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    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

  14. 14
    Up 83
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    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

  15. 15
    Up 81
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    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

  16. 16
    Up 136
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    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

  17. 17
    Up 49
    Down 26

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

  18. 18
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    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

  19. 19
    Up 68
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    Edward Furlong, Edward Norton, Beverly D'Angelo

  20. 20
    Up 55
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    Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

  21. 21
    Up 46
    Down 24

    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

  22. 22
    Up 40
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

  23. 23
    Up 52
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman

  24. 24
    Up 95
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    ranked low on reranks Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

  25. 25
    Up 78
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    John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge

  26. 26
    Up 127
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    Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry

  27. 27
    Up 92
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    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

  28. 28
    Up 90
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

  29. 29
    Up 75
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    ranked low on reranks Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

  30. 30
    Up 56
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    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Field, Daniel Day-Lewis

  31. 31
    Up 72
    Down 36

  32. 32
    Up 63
    Down 36

    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

  33. 33
    Up 42
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    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

  34. 34
    Up 92
    Down 57

    Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

  35. 35
    Up 41
    Down 12

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

  36. 36
    Up 28
    Down 24

    Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

  37. 37
    Up 33
    Down 31

    Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

  38. 38
    Up 32
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    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

  39. 39
    Up 23
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Daniel Brühl, Michael Gwisdek, Christine Schorn

  40. 40
    Up 73
    Down 46

    ranked low on reranks Anthony Hopkins, James Woods, Bai Ling

  41. 41
    Up 62
    Down 41

    ranked low on reranks William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

  42. 42
    Up 35
    Down 35

    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

  43. 43
    Up 26
    Down 16

    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

  44. 44
    Up 46
    Down 50

    Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Jack Black

  45. 45
    Up 46
    Down 34

    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs

  46. 46
    Up 48
    Down 38

    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

  47. 47
    Up 35
    Down 21

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

  48. 48
    Up 12
    Down 17

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham

  49. 49
    Up 81
    Down 65

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Angela Bassett

  50. 50
    Up 55
    Down 42

    John Travolta, Bill Maher, Emma Thompson

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