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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  1. 17
    Up 69
    Down 24

    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

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  2. 85
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    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  3. 123
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    Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson

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  4. 110
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    added by wiabux Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

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  5. 114
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    added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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  6. 95
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    added by stubb

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  7. 18
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    John Ireland, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge

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  8. 2
    Up 174
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    most listed Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

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  9. 83
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    Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney, Rufus Sewell

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  10. 136
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    added by lostshadow Aaron Russo, Irwin Schiff, Katherine Albrecht This is a documentary regarding the Internal Revenue Service, which later branches out to ...

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  11. 21
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    Edward Furlong, Edward Norton, Beverly D'Angelo

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  12. 86
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    Al Gore

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  13. 102
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    Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

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  14. 70
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    added by Abbey Grantham Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  15. 79
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    Sylvester Stallone, Woody Allen, Danny DeVito

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  16. 39
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    added by stubb Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

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  17. 11
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    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  18. 43
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    Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Jack Black

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  19. 77
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    Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone

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  20. 63
    Up 34
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  21. 23
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    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  22. 72
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    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  23. 107
    Up 12
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    added by wiabux Halle Berry, Sarah Silverman, Don Cheadle

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  24. 65
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    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  25. 16
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    Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

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  26. 134
    Up 4
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    added by HereshSniper Matt Damon, Benicio del Toro, Rodrigo Santoro

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  27. 50
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    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

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  28. 96
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    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  29. 98
    Up 16
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    added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones

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  30. 135
    Up 6
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    added by sebbzor Tom Hiddleston, Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh

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  31. 106
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    often listed Josh Rushing

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  32. 57
    Up 21
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    Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover

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  33. 26
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    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

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  34. 139
    Up 6
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    added by stubb Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson

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  35. 90
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    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  36. 108
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    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  37. 127
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    new! & added by MejaEhrenström Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Thomas Kretschmann

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  38. 1
    Up 238
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    the people's #1 James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott

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  39. 76
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    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

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  40. 59
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    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

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  41. 73
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    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich

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  42. 122
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    new! & added by MejaEhrenström

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  43. 126
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    added by stubb Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

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  44. 68
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    added by stubb Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, Dom DeLuise

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  45. 91
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    Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Nassar

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  46. 25
    Up 38
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

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  47. 5
    Up 88
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    often listed Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Sheen, Ben Kingsley

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  48. 101
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    Idi Amin

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  49. 29
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    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  50. 38
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    Daniel Brühl, Michael Gwisdek, Christine Schorn

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  51. 140 +

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