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

  • 20 ReRanks
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2rerank list
  1. 106
    + 27
    - 21

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

    ) open
  2. 134
    + 1
    - 2

    added by drkaramaniac
    John Travolta, Jay Leno, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  3. 99
    + 27
    - 18

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

    ) open
  4. 60
    + 75
    - 68


    Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Maurice LaMarche

    ) open
  5. 98
    + 17
    - 30


    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

    ) open
  6. 123
    + 8
    - 33

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Carville

    ) open
  7. 108
    + 13
    - 34

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

    ) open
  8. 84
    + 44
    - 63
    ) open
  9. 1
    + 348
    - 62

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

    ) open
  10. 13
    + 150
    - 78


    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

    ) open
  11. 94
    + 25
    - 38


    James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan

    ) open
  12. 3
    + 183
    - 59

    most listed
    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  13. 120
    + 10
    - 11

    added by testvikas2
    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  14. 121
    + 2
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty

    ) open
  15. 47
    + 49
    - 28


    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

    ) open
  16. 14
    + 114
    - 39


    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

    ) open
  17. 64
    + 33
    - 32


    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

    ) open
  18. 71
    + 24
    - 24


    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

    ) open
  19. 76
    + 15
    - 27


    Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall

    ) open
  20. 110
    + 16
    - 18

    added by wiabux
    Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

    ) open
  21. 11
    + 93
    - 41


    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

    ) open
  22. 46
    + 62
    - 51


    William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  23. 34
    + 58
    - 34


    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

    ) open
  24. 41
    + 39
    - 23

    added by wiabux
    George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

    ) open
  25. 55
    + 54
    - 48


    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

    ) open
  26. 29
    + 107
    - 62


    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

    ) open
  27. 17
    + 65
    - 38


    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

    ) open
  28. 2
    + 234
    - 72


    Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  29. 140
    + 0
    - 4


    Martin Sheen, Ralph Bellamy, William Devane

    ) open
  30. 81
    + 22
    - 21

    added by wiabux
    Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

    ) open
  31. 6
    + 128
    - 39


    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

    ) open
  32. 48
    + 32
    - 18

    added by wiabux
    Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

    ) open
  33. 97
    + 7
    - 20

    often listed & added by stubb
    Norman Yarborough

    ) open
  34. 142
    + 11
    - 19

    added by stubb

    ) open
  35. 31
    + 95
    - 34


    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

    ) open
  36. 131
    + 1
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Anny Duperey, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ulrich Tukur

    ) open
  37. 127
    + 2
    - 2
    No image

    added by StacyWolfe
    Jack O'Connell, Sean Harris, Martin McCann

    ) open
  38. 12
    + 163
    - 86


    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

    ) open
  39. 102
    + 5
    - 19

    added by Dave_7672
    Kevin Costner, Willie Nelson, Bill Maher

    ) open
  40. 45
    + 46
    - 29


    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

    ) open
  41. 40
    + 44
    - 46

    often listed
    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  42. 69
    + 36
    - 31

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

    ) open
  43. 138
    + 3
    - 6
    No image

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

    ) open
  44. 125
    + 2
    - 2

    added by drkaramaniac
    Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, James Caan

    ) open
  45. 65
    + 31
    - 18


    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  46. 35
    + 47
    - 34

    added by stubb
    Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    ) open
  47. 25
    + 157
    - 83

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

    ) open
  48. 23
    + 58
    - 40


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

    ) open
  49. 5
    + 135
    - 58


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

    ) open
  50. 105
    + 5
    - 2

    added by bobcatbowen
    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

    ) open
145 +

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