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.

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  1. 136
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    added by lostshadow Aaron Russo, Irwin Schiff, Katherine Albrecht This is a documentary regarding the Internal Revenue Service, which later branches out to ...

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  2. 132
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    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

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  3. 2
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    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

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  4. 13
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    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  5. 126
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    added by stubb Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

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  6. 96
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    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  7. 59
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    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

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  8. 90
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    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  9. 75
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    added by sebbzor Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan

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  10. 138
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    added by sebbzor Yehezkel Lazarov, Mickey Leon

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  11. 94
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    James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

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  12. 78
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    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

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  13. 95
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    added by stubb

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  14. 89
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    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  15. 101
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    Idi Amin

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  16. 12
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    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

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  17. 70
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    added by Abbey Grantham Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  18. 117
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    James Cagney, Red Buttons, Pamela Tiffin

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  19. 128
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    added by sebbzor Matt Damon

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  20. 7
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    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  21. 110
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    added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

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  22. 37
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    Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

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  23. 115
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    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

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  24. 60
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    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

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  25. 62
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    George Stephanopoulos

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  26. 80
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    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

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  27. 108
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    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  28. 35
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    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

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  29. 86
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    Al Gore

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  30. 91
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    Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Nassar

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  31. 85
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    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  32. 77
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    Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone

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  33. 111
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    added by stubb

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  34. 74
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    Gore Vidal, Richard Perle, Graydon Carter

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  35. 36
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    Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

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  36. 58
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    Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

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  37. 8
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    ranked low on reranks James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

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  38. 135
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    added by sebbzor Tom Hiddleston, Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh

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  39. 113
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    Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman

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  40. 120
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    Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal

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  41. 29
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    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  42. 64
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    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

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  43. 67
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    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  44. 9
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  45. 11
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    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  46. 71
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    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

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  47. 26
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

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  48. 31
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    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

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  49. 27
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    Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry

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  50. 24
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    Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

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  51. 140 +

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