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. 108
    Up 18
    Down 13

    added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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  2. 126
    Up 1
    Down 1

    new! & added by testvikas2 Kevin Costner, Rebecca De Mornay, Lukas Haas

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  3. 129
    Up 10
    Down 12

    added by StacyWolfe Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid

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  4. 99
    Up 20
    Down 10

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

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  5. 55
    Up 65
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    Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Maurice LaMarche

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  6. 102
    Up 13
    Down 24

    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

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  7. 112
    Up 8
    Down 24

    often listed James Carville

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  8. 103
    Up 13
    Down 25

    Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

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  9. 86
    Up 36
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    Al Gore

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  10. 2
    Up 259
    Down 49

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

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  11. 12
    Up 130
    Down 62

    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

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  12. 94
    Up 22
    Down 29

    James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

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  13. 3
    Up 146
    Down 43

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  14. 121
    Up 2
    Down 1

    new! & added by testvikas2 Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  15. 51
    Up 36
    Down 20

    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

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  16. 16
    Up 77
    Down 26

    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

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  17. 122
    Up 8
    Down 16

    Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson

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  18. 64
    Up 28
    Down 25

    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  19. 133
    Up 7
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    added by sebbzor Matt Damon

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  20. 59
    Up 21
    Down 17

    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

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  21. 82
    Up 8
    Down 16

    Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall

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  22. 111
    Up 11
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    added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

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  23. 13
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    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  24. 40
    Up 60
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    ranked low on reranks William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

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  25. 33
    Up 39
    Down 24

    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

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  26. 45
    Up 24
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    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  27. 46
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    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

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  28. 28
    Up 91
    Down 48

    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  29. 18
    Up 46
    Down 24

    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

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  30. 1
    Up 186
    Down 58

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

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  31. 83
    Up 13
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    added by wiabux Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

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  32. 6
    Up 89
    Down 23

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  33. 52
    Up 19
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    added by wiabux Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

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  34. 89
    Up 6
    Down 11

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  35. 143
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    Down 4
    No image

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  36. 136
    Up 9
    Down 12

    added by stubb

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  37. 31
    Up 71
    Down 24

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

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  38. 14
    Up 130
    Down 66

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  39. 119
    Up 1
    Down 3

    Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman

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  40. 98
    Up 3
    Down 11

    added by Dave_7672 Kevin Costner, Willie Nelson, Bill Maher

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  41. 47
    Up 34
    Down 20

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

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  42. 42
    Up 34
    Down 33

    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

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  43. 69
    Up 24
    Down 18

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

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  44. 117
    Up 11
    Down 14

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

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  45. 73
    Up 18
    Down 12

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  46. 41
    Up 29
    Down 24

    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

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  47. 114
    Up 8
    Down 12

    Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal

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  48. 27
    Up 125
    Down 64

    Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry

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  49. 26
    Up 37
    Down 29

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

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  50. 5
    Up 99
    Down 41

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

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145 +

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