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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  • 21 ReRanks
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  1. 106
    + 24
    - 18

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

    ) open
  2. 132
    + 2
    - 6

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

    ) open
  3. 99
    + 23
    - 15

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

    ) open
  4. 52
    + 72
    - 66

    Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Maurice LaMarche

    ) open
  5. 98
    + 16
    - 29

    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

    ) open
  6. 119
    + 8
    - 32

    often listed & ranked high on reranks James Carville

    ) open
  7. 107
    + 13
    - 32

    often listed Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

    ) open
  8. 85
    + 43
    - 58
    ) open
  9. 1
    + 317
    - 59

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

    ) open
  10. 11
    + 139
    - 72

    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

    ) open
  11. 93
    + 24
    - 35

    James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

    ) open
  12. 3
    + 170
    - 52

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  13. 127
    + 6
    - 9

    added by testvikas2 Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  14. 54
    + 41
    - 27

    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

    ) open
  15. 16
    + 99
    - 34

    ranked low on reranks Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

    ) open
  16. 65
    + 32
    - 30

    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

    ) open
  17. 61
    + 23
    - 22

    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

    ) open
  18. 78
    + 13
    - 23

    Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall

    ) open
  19. 109
    + 15
    - 17

    added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

    ) open
  20. 12
    + 78
    - 37

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

    ) open
  21. 41
    + 62
    - 48

    William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  22. 33
    + 53
    - 31

    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

    ) open
  23. 44
    + 33
    - 21

    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

    ) open
  24. 48
    + 48
    - 46

    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

    ) open
  25. 29
    + 100
    - 58

    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

    ) open
  26. 19
    + 57
    - 34

    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

    ) open
  27. 2
    + 216
    - 69

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  28. 115
    + 0
    - 2

    Martin Sheen, Ralph Bellamy, William Devane

    ) open
  29. 81
    + 20
    - 18

    added by wiabux Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

    ) open
  30. 6
    + 112
    - 31

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

    ) open
  31. 49
    + 29
    - 16

    added by wiabux Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

    ) open
  32. 97
    + 6
    - 18

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

    ) open
  33. 135
    + 10
    - 18

    added by stubb

    ) open
  34. 32
    + 87
    - 32

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

    ) open
  35. 14
    + 149
    - 80

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

    ) open
  36. 104
    + 4
    - 18

    often listed & added by Dave_7672 Kevin Costner, Willie Nelson, Bill Maher

    ) open
  37. 46
    + 43
    - 27

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

    ) open
  38. 42
    + 42
    - 42

    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  39. 69
    + 32
    - 28

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

    ) open
  40. 122
    + 2
    - 2
    No image

    added by Joh1 Atlas Shrugged: Part II Sean Hannity, Teller, Samantha Mathis

    ) open
  41. 124
    + 11
    - 21

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

    ) open
  42. 72
    + 26
    - 18

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  43. 36
    + 41
    - 30

    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    ) open
  44. 22
    + 142
    - 78

    ranked low on reranks Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry

    ) open
  45. 20
    + 51
    - 36

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

    ) open
  46. 5
    + 120
    - 51

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

    ) open
  47. 105
    + 3
    - 1

    added by bobcatbowen Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

    ) open
  48. 123
    + 2
    - 2

    added by Joh1 Taylor Schilling, Michael Lerner, Jon Polito

    ) open
  49. 90
    + 26
    - 44

    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

    ) open
  50. 68
    + 33
    - 19

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

    ) open
137 +

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