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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Score
  1. 39
    Up 28
    Down 21

    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    open
  2. 132
    Up 6
    Down 9

    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

    open
  3. 76
    Up 17
    Down 10

    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

    open
  4. 8
    Up 136
    Down 32

    ranked low on reranks James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

    open
  5. 49
    Up 45
    Down 28

    Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Donald Meek

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  6. 7
    Up 129
    Down 44

    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

    open
  7. 81
    Up 15
    Down 10

    Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan

    open
  8. 18
    Up 74
    Down 36

    John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge

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  9. 85
    Up 9
    Down 12

    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  10. 31
    Up 61
    Down 33

    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

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  11. 46
    Up 32
    Down 18

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

    open
  12. 10
    Up 67
    Down 18

    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

    open
  13. 117
    Up 0
    Down 3

    James Cagney, Red Buttons, Pamela Tiffin

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  14. 35
    Up 35
    Down 10

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

    open
  15. 3
    Up 137
    Down 37

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  16. 1
    Up 238
    Down 43

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

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  17. 68
    Up 12
    Down 12

    added by stubb Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, Dom DeLuise

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  18. 28
    Up 70
    Down 31

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  19. 113
    Up 1
    Down 2

    Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman

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  20. 108
    Up 2
    Down 2

    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  21. 67
    Up 13
    Down 9

    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  22. 95
    Up 6
    Down 11

    added by stubb

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  23. 71
    Up 20
    Down 22

    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

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  24. 60
    Up 36
    Down 22

    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

    open
  25. 17
    Up 69
    Down 24

    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

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  26. 79
    Up 25
    Down 29

    Sylvester Stallone, Woody Allen, Danny DeVito

    open
  27. 116
    Up 1
    Down 3

    Robert Redford, Natalie Wood, Peter Boyle

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  28. 50
    Up 35
    Down 18

    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

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  29. 101
    Up 15
    Down 25

    Idi Amin

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  30. 32
    Up 65
    Down 24

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

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  31. 20
    Up 42
    Down 19

    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

    open
  32. 2
    Up 174
    Down 49

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    open
  33. 89
    Up 6
    Down 10

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  34. 11
    Up 91
    Down 45

    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  35. 78
    Up 22
    Down 24
    No image

    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

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  36. 56
    Up 42
    Down 24

    Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

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  37. 5
    Up 88
    Down 36

    often listed Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

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  38. 115
    Up 11
    Down 13

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

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  39. 105
    Up 13
    Down 6

    ranked low on reranks & added by stubb Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt

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  40. 41
    Up 57
    Down 38

    William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

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  41. 92
    Up 23
    Down 6

    ranked low on reranks & added by stubb John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Waterston

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  42. 72
    Up 17
    Down 11

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  43. 45
    Up 47
    Down 34

    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

    open
  44. 125
    Up 7
    Down 14

    James Woods, Jim Belushi, Cynthia Gibb

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  45. 57
    Up 21
    Down 15

    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

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  46. 73
    Up 23
    Down 14

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

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  47. 137
    Up 9
    Down 14

    added by stubb Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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  48. 13
    Up 63
    Down 24

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  49. 14
    Up 123
    Down 61

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  50. 43
    Up 45
    Down 45

    Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Jack Black

    open
  51. 140 +

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