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. 12
    + 163
    - 86


    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

    ) open
  2. 6
    + 128
    - 39


    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

    ) open
  3. 136
    + 5
    - 8

    added by lostshadow
    Aaron Russo, Irwin Schiff, Katherine Albrecht This is a documentary regarding the Internal Revenue Service, which later branches out to cover the Federal Reserve System and "New World Order" conspiracy.

    ) open
  4. 122
    + 12
    - 14

    added by stubb
    Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

    ) open
  5. 18
    + 123
    - 62


    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

    ) open
  6. 61
    + 51
    - 42


    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

    ) open
  7. 120
    + 10
    - 11

    added by testvikas2
    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

    ) open
  8. 137
    + 13
    - 19

    added by stubb
    Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

    ) open
  9. 15
    + 109
    - 67


    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

    ) open
  10. 58
    + 26
    - 15

    added by stubb
    Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

    ) open
  11. 106
    + 27
    - 21

    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux
    Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

    ) open
  12. 134
    + 1
    - 2

    added by drkaramaniac
    John Travolta, Jay Leno, Dustin Hoffman

    ) open
  13. 65
    + 31
    - 18


    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  14. 83
    + 24
    - 35


    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

    ) open
  15. 97
    + 7
    - 20

    often listed & added by stubb
    Norman Yarborough

    ) open
  16. 51
    + 65
    - 58


    Michael Douglas, Michael J. Fox, Martin Sheen

    ) open
  17. 143
    + 8
    - 15

    added by HereshSniper
    Matt Damon, Benicio del Toro, Rodrigo Santoro

    ) open
  18. 98
    + 17
    - 30


    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

    ) open
  19. 114
    + 11
    - 8

    added by MejaEhrenström
    Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Thomas Kretschmann

    ) open
  20. 73
    + 26
    - 32


    Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Jan Josef Liefers

    ) open
  21. 109
    + 8
    - 2

    added by Joh1
    Bradley Cooper

    ) open
  22. 4
    + 181
    - 60


    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

    ) open
  23. 8
    + 126
    - 106

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

    ) open
  24. 96
    + 15
    - 7


    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

    ) open
  25. 103
    + 20
    - 39

    often listed
    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  26. 67
    + 48
    - 54
    ) open
  27. 48
    + 32
    - 18

    added by wiabux
    Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

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  28. 7
    + 168
    - 69


    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  29. 20
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    - 68


    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

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  30. 40
    + 44
    - 46

    often listed
    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

    ) open
  31. 39
    + 79
    - 58

    ranked low on reranks
    Anthony Hopkins, James Woods, Bai Ling

    ) open
  32. 64
    + 33
    - 32


    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

    ) open
  33. 70
    + 21
    - 24


    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

    ) open
  34. 87
    + 11
    - 1

    added by bobcatbowen
    Henry Fonda, John Carradine, John Qualen

    ) open
  35. 26
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    - 57


    Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

    ) open
  36. 82
    + 39
    - 11

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

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  37. 144
    + 13
    - 23

    added by stubb
    Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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  38. 30
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    - 44
    ) open
  39. 118
    + 4
    - 2

    added by drkaramaniac
    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube

    ) open
  40. 33
    + 104
    - 66


    Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

    ) open
  41. 124
    + 11
    - 20


    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

    ) open
  42. 80
    + 9
    - 0

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

    ) open
  43. 10
    + 173
    - 52

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

    ) open
  44. 66
    + 30
    - 34


    George Stephanopoulos

    ) open
  45. 91
    + 26
    - 47


    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

    ) open
  46. 44
    + 58
    - 46


    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs

    ) open
  47. 41
    + 39
    - 23

    added by wiabux
    George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

    ) open
  48. 29
    + 107
    - 62


    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

    ) open
  49. 69
    + 36
    - 31

    added by Abbey Grantham
    Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

    ) open
  50. 62
    + 44
    - 40


    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

    ) open
145 +

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