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. 107
    Up 18
    Down 14

    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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  2. 129
    Up 1
    Down 2

    added by testvikas2 Kevin Costner, Rebecca De Mornay, Lukas Haas

    open
  3. 130
    Up 10
    Down 13

    added by StacyWolfe Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid

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  4. 99
    Up 20
    Down 11

    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo

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  5. 51
    Up 67
    Down 58

    Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Maurice LaMarche

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  6. 101
    Up 13
    Down 25

    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

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  7. 110
    Up 8
    Down 25

    often listed James Carville

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  8. 102
    Up 13
    Down 26

    Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

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  9. 84
    Up 37
    Down 49

    Al Gore

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  10. 1
    Up 271
    Down 50

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

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  11. 10
    Up 131
    Down 63

    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

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  12. 95
    Up 22
    Down 30

    often listed & ranked high on reranks James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

    open
  13. 3
    Up 156
    Down 45

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  14. 122
    Up 2
    Down 2

    added by testvikas2 Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  15. 52
    Up 37
    Down 22

    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

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  16. 15
    Up 81
    Down 26

    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

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  17. 62
    Up 31
    Down 25

    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  18. 135
    Up 7
    Down 10

    added by sebbzor Matt Damon

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  19. 60
    Up 21
    Down 18

    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

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  20. 82
    Up 9
    Down 17

    Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall

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  21. 111
    Up 11
    Down 13

    added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

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  22. 11
    Up 69
    Down 29

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  23. 41
    Up 62
    Down 41

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

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  24. 33
    Up 42
    Down 26

    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

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  25. 43
    Up 26
    Down 16

    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  26. 46
    Up 48
    Down 38

    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

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  27. 27
    Up 92
    Down 49

    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  28. 17
    Up 49
    Down 26

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

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  29. 2
    Up 197
    Down 60

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

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  30. 83
    Up 13
    Down 14

    added by wiabux Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

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  31. 6
    Up 92
    Down 27

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  32. 55
    Up 20
    Down 10

    added by wiabux Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

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  33. 90
    Up 6
    Down 12

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  34. 131
    Up 10
    Down 13

    added by stubb

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  35. 29
    Up 75
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

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  36. 16
    Up 136
    Down 68

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  37. 120
    Up 1
    Down 4

    Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman

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  38. 97
    Up 3
    Down 12

    added by Dave_7672 Kevin Costner, Willie Nelson, Bill Maher

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  39. 47
    Up 35
    Down 21

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

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  40. 42
    Up 35
    Down 35

    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

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  41. 69
    Up 25
    Down 20

    added by Abbey Grantham Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  42. 118
    Up 11
    Down 15

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

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  43. 71
    Up 20
    Down 13

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  44. 38
    Up 32
    Down 24

    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

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  45. 113
    Up 8
    Down 13

    Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal

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  46. 26
    Up 127
    Down 68

    Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry

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  47. 22
    Up 40
    Down 30

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

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  48. 5
    Up 102
    Down 43

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

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  49. 87
    Up 23
    Down 35

    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  50. 72
    Up 26
    Down 16

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

    open
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