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. 114
    Up 16
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    added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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  2. 124
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    added by StacyWolfe Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid

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  3. 100
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    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo

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  4. 53
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    Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Maurice LaMarche

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  5. 103
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    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

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  6. 112
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    often listed James Carville

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  7. 102
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    Down 24

    Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

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  8. 86
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    Al Gore

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  9. 1
    Up 238
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    the people's #1 James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott

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  10. 12
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    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

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  11. 94
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    James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

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  12. 3
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    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  13. 50
    Up 35
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    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

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  14. 17
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    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

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  15. 123
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    Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson

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  16. 65
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    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  17. 128
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    added by sebbzor Matt Damon

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  18. 57
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    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

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  19. 82
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    Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall

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

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  21. 13
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    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  22. 41
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    William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

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  23. 33
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    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

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  24. 47
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    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  25. 45
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    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

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  26. 29
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    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  27. 25
    Up 38
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

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  28. 2
    Up 174
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    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

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  29. 87
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    added by wiabux Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

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  30. 6
    Up 82
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    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  31. 55
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    added by wiabux Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

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  32. 89
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    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  33. 121
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    No image

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  34. 129
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    added by stubb

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  35. 32
    Up 65
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    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

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  36. 14
    Up 123
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    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  37. 113
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    Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman

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  38. 97
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    added by Dave_7672 Kevin Costner, Willie Nelson, Bill Maher

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  39. 46
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    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

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  40. 42
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

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  41. 70
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    added by Abbey Grantham Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  42. 115
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    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

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  43. 72
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    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  44. 39
    Up 28
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    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

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  45. 120
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    Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal

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  46. 27
    Up 119
    Down 61

    Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry

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  47. 22
    Up 37
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

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  48. 5
    Up 88
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    often listed Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

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  49. 90
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    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  50. 73
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    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

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  51. 140 +

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