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. Some of the best political movies, 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. Good political movies are able to illuminate complicated situations for their viewers.

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 the top napoleon movies ever made

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  1. 136
    + 5
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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 cover the Federal Reserve System and "New World Order" conspiracy.

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  2. 122
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    added by stubb
    Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

    ) open
  3. 2
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    Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  4. 11
    + 93
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    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

    ) open
  5. 137
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    - 19

    added by stubb
    Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

    ) open
  6. 103
    + 20
    - 39

    often listed
    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  7. 61
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    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

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  8. 91
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    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  9. 79
    + 16
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    Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan

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  10. 140
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    Martin Sheen, Ralph Bellamy, William Devane

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  11. 94
    + 25
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    James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

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  12. 83
    + 24
    - 35


    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

    ) open
  13. 90
    + 11
    - 17

    added by stubb

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  14. 121
    + 2
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty

    ) open
  15. 97
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    - 20

    often listed & added by stubb
    Norman Yarborough

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  16. 101
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    - 33
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  17. 13
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    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

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  18. 69
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    added by Abbey Grantham
    Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  19. 7
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    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  20. 110
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    added by wiabux
    Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

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  21. 38
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    Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

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  22. 128
    + 1
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Karin Viard, Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur

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  23. 134
    + 1
    - 2

    added by drkaramaniac
    John Travolta, Jay Leno, Dustin Hoffman

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  24. 130
    + 1
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, Jean-Luc Bideau

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  25. 53
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    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

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  26. 131
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    added by drkaramaniac
    Anny Duperey, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ulrich Tukur

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  27. 66
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    George Stephanopoulos

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  28. 70
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    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

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  29. 96
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    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  30. 28
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    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

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  31. 118
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    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube

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  32. 84
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  33. 95
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    - 37


    Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Nassar

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  34. 124
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    - 20


    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  35. 88
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    Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone

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  36. 107
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  37. 74
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    - 16


    Gore Vidal, Richard Perle, Graydon Carter

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  38. 42
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    Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

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  39. 57
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    - 25


    Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

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  40. 80
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    ranked low on reranks & added by drkaramaniac
    Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall

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  41. 120
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    - 11

    added by testvikas2
    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  42. 10
    + 173
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    ranked low on reranks
    James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

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  43. 29
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    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  44. 62
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    - 40


    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

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  45. 58
    + 26
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    added by stubb
    Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  46. 8
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  47. 15
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    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  48. 75
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    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

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  49. 27
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

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  50. 36
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    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

    ) open
145 +

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