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. 36
    + 42
    - 30

    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    ) open
  2. 120
    + 11
    - 13

    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

    ) open
  3. 74
    + 26
    - 16

    ranked low on reranks Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

    ) open
  4. 11
    + 159
    - 48

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

    ) open
  5. 58
    + 48
    - 39

    Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Donald Meek

    ) open
  6. 84
    + 7
    - 0

    added by bobcatbowen Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 156
    - 62

    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

    ) open
  8. 80
    + 19
    - 16

    Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan

    ) open
  9. 18
    + 86
    - 48

    John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge

    ) open
  10. 121
    + 10
    - 19

    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

    ) open
  11. 105
    + 3
    - 1

    added by bobcatbowen Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

    ) open
  12. 34
    + 71
    - 41

    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

    ) open
  13. 46
    + 43
    - 27

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

    ) open
  14. 9
    + 81
    - 31

    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

    ) open
  15. 28
    + 55
    - 16

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

    ) open
  16. 3
    + 170
    - 53

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  17. 1
    + 321
    - 59

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

    ) open
  18. 67
    + 19
    - 19

    added by stubb Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, Dom DeLuise

    ) open
  19. 30
    + 78
    - 42
    ) open
  20. 101
    + 9
    - 6

    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

    ) open
  21. 63
    + 22
    - 13

    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

    ) open
  22. 92
    + 10
    - 16

    added by stubb

    ) open
  23. 76
    + 21
    - 30

    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

    ) open
  24. 55
    + 46
    - 28

    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

    ) open
  25. 16
    + 100
    - 34

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

    ) open
  26. 77
    + 29
    - 37

    Sylvester Stallone, Woody Allen, Danny DeVito

    ) open
  27. 127
    + 6
    - 9

    added by testvikas2 Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  28. 56
    + 41
    - 27

    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

    ) open
  29. 100
    + 17
    - 32
    ) open
  30. 115
    + 0
    - 2

    Martin Sheen, Ralph Bellamy, William Devane

    ) open
  31. 32
    + 87
    - 32

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

    ) open
  32. 24
    + 52
    - 33

    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  33. 2
    + 217
    - 70

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  34. 97
    + 6
    - 18

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  35. 13
    + 101
    - 61

    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

    ) open
  36. 83
    + 23
    - 33

    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

    ) open
  37. 59
    + 49
    - 33

    Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

    ) open
  38. 5
    + 121
    - 51

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

    ) open
  39. 124
    + 11
    - 21

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

    ) open
  40. 113
    + 16
    - 13

    added by stubb Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 62
    - 48

    William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  42. 132
    + 2
    - 6

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

    ) open
  43. 88
    + 32
    - 10

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

    ) open
  44. 72
    + 26
    - 18

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  45. 48
    + 48
    - 46

    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

    ) open
  46. 110
    + 14
    - 17

    James Woods, Jim Belushi, Cynthia Gibb

    ) open
  47. 61
    + 23
    - 22

    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

    ) open
  48. 68
    + 33
    - 19

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

    ) open
  49. 136
    + 12
    - 21

    added by stubb Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

    ) open
  50. 12
    + 78
    - 37

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

    ) open
137 +

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