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

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  1. 35
    + 47
    - 34

    added by stubb
    Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    ) open
  2. 122
    + 12
    - 14

    added by stubb
    Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

    ) open
  3. 72
    + 28
    - 17


    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

    ) open
  4. 10
    + 173
    - 52

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

    ) open
  5. 54
    + 49
    - 41


    Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Donald Meek

    ) open
  6. 87
    + 11
    - 1

    added by bobcatbowen
    Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 168
    - 69


    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

    ) open
  8. 78
    + 21
    - 18


    Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan

    ) open
  9. 19
    + 94
    - 53


    John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge

    ) open
  10. 124
    + 11
    - 20


    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

    ) open
  11. 105
    + 5
    - 2

    added by bobcatbowen
    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

    ) open
  12. 36
    + 74
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    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

    ) open
  13. 45
    + 46
    - 29


    Gene Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Harry Morgan

    ) open
  14. 9
    + 89
    - 37


    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

    ) open
  15. 28
    + 66
    - 19


    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

    ) open
  16. 3
    + 183
    - 59

    most listed
    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  17. 1
    + 347
    - 62

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

    ) open
  18. 63
    + 23
    - 20

    added by stubb
    Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, Dom DeLuise

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  19. 30
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  20. 96
    + 15
    - 7


    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  21. 58
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    - 15

    added by stubb
    Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

    ) open
  22. 121
    + 2
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty

    ) open
  23. 90
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    - 17

    added by stubb

    ) open
  24. 75
    + 23
    - 33


    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

    ) open
  25. 53
    + 51
    - 31


    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

    ) open
  26. 14
    + 114
    - 39


    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

    ) open
  27. 77
    + 30
    - 41


    Sylvester Stallone, Woody Allen, Danny DeVito

    ) open
  28. 130
    + 1
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, Jean-Luc Bideau

    ) open
  29. 120
    + 10
    - 11

    added by testvikas2
    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  30. 47
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    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

    ) open
  31. 101
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    - 33
    ) open
  32. 140
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    - 4


    Martin Sheen, Ralph Bellamy, William Devane

    ) open
  33. 31
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    - 34


    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Anjelica Huston

    ) open
  34. 22
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    - 38


    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

    ) open
  35. 2
    + 234
    - 72


    Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  36. 97
    + 7
    - 20

    often listed & added by stubb
    Norman Yarborough

    ) open
  37. 80
    + 9
    - 0

    ranked low on reranks & added by drkaramaniac
    Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  38. 15
    + 109
    - 67


    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

    ) open
  39. 83
    + 24
    - 35


    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

    ) open
  40. 56
    + 52
    - 36


    Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

    ) open
  41. 5
    + 135
    - 58


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

    ) open
  42. 115
    + 16
    - 14

    added by stubb
    Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt

    ) open
  43. 46
    + 62
    - 51


    William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

    ) open
  44. 82
    + 39
    - 11

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

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  45. 65
    + 31
    - 18


    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  46. 55
    + 54
    - 48


    Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside

    ) open
  47. 71
    + 24
    - 24


    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

    ) open
  48. 93
    + 36
    - 20

    ranked low on reranks
    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

    ) open
  49. 119
    + 3
    - 1

    added by drkaramaniac
    Stanley Kubrick, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio

    ) open
  50. 144
    + 13
    - 23

    added by stubb
    Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

    ) open
145 +

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