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 27
    Down 20

    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    open
  2. 134
    Up 5
    Down 9

    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

    open
  3. 81
    Up 16
    Down 10

    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

    open
  4. 8
    Up 136
    Down 29

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

    open
  5. 50
    Up 44
    Down 27

    Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Donald Meek

    open
  6. 7
    Up 128
    Down 43

    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

    open
  7. 82
    Up 14
    Down 10

    Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan

    open
  8. 20
    Up 70
    Down 36

    John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge

    open
  9. 86
    Up 8
    Down 12

    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

    open
  10. 31
    Up 60
    Down 32

    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

    open
  11. 47
    Up 30
    Down 17

    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

    open
  12. 9
    Up 66
    Down 16

    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

    open
  13. 115
    Up 0
    Down 2

    James Cagney, Red Buttons, Pamela Tiffin

    open
  14. 35
    Up 34
    Down 9

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

    open
  15. 3
    Up 134
    Down 35

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

    open
  16. 1
    Up 232
    Down 40

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

    open
  17. 68
    Up 11
    Down 11

    added by stubb Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, Dom DeLuise

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  18. 28
    Up 69
    Down 30

    open
  19. 118
    Up 0
    Down 2

    Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman

    open
  20. 112
    Up 1
    Down 2

    new! Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  21. 67
    Up 12
    Down 8

    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  22. 97
    Up 5
    Down 11

    added by stubb

    open
  23. 74
    Up 19
    Down 22

    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

    open
  24. 59
    Up 35
    Down 21

    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

    open
  25. 18
    Up 66
    Down 23

    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

    open
  26. 78
    Up 25
    Down 28

    Sylvester Stallone, Woody Allen, Danny DeVito

    open
  27. 122
    Up 0
    Down 3

    Robert Redford, Natalie Wood, Peter Boyle

    open
  28. 54
    Up 32
    Down 18

    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

    open
  29. 101
    Up 15
    Down 24

    Idi Amin

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  30. 33
    Up 62
    Down 24

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

    open
  31. 23
    Up 40
    Down 18

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

    open
  32. 2
    Up 169
    Down 48

    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    open
  33. 90
    Up 5
    Down 10

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  34. 11
    Up 90
    Down 43

    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  35. 77
    Up 22
    Down 23
    No image

    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

    open
  36. 58
    Up 40
    Down 23

    Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

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  37. 5
    Up 87
    Down 34

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

    open
  38. 114
    Up 10
    Down 12

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

    open
  39. 110
    Up 11
    Down 6

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

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  40. 41
    Up 56
    Down 37

    ranked low on reranks William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

    open
  41. 95
    Up 21
    Down 6

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

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  42. 73
    Up 16
    Down 10

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  43. 45
    Up 46
    Down 32

    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

    open
  44. 123
    Up 7
    Down 12

    James Woods, Jim Belushi, Cynthia Gibb

    open
  45. 57
    Up 20
    Down 14

    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

    open
  46. 71
    Up 23
    Down 12

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

    open
  47. 130
    Up 9
    Down 12

    added by stubb Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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  48. 13
    Up 59
    Down 23

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

    open
  49. 14
    Up 120
    Down 60

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

    open
  50. 43
    Up 45
    Down 42

    Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Jack Black

    open
  51. 138 +

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