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. 14
    Up 143
    Down 75

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  2. 6
    Up 105
    Down 27

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  3. 121
    Up 4
    Down 7

    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.

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  4. 118
    Up 9
    Down 12

    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

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  5. 20
    Up 100
    Down 53

    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  6. 61
    Up 50
    Down 38

    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

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  7. 122
    Up 4
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    new! & added by testvikas2 Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  8. 120
    Up 12
    Down 17

    added by stubb Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

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  9. 11
    Up 98
    Down 56

    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  10. 63
    Up 20
    Down 12

    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  11. 106
    Up 22
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    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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  12. 74
    Up 22
    Down 17

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  13. 80
    Up 23
    Down 31

    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

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  14. 92
    Up 6
    Down 16

    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  15. 54
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    Down 55

    Michael Douglas, Michael J. Fox, Martin Sheen

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  16. 128
    Up 6
    Down 12

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

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  17. 100
    Up 14
    Down 28

    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

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  18. 117
    Up 5
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    added by MejaEhrenström Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Thomas Kretschmann

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  19. 71
    Up 23
    Down 28

    Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Jan Josef Liefers

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  20. 4
    Up 140
    Down 48

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

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  21. 8
    Up 112
    Down 88

    often listed James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  22. 102
    Up 6
    Down 6

    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  23. 90
    Up 20
    Down 35

    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  24. 59
    Up 41
    Down 45

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  25. 49
    Up 26
    Down 13

    added by wiabux Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

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  26. 7
    Up 147
    Down 58

    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  27. 15
    Up 84
    Down 53

    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

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  28. 42
    Up 38
    Down 39

    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

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  29. 40
    Up 75
    Down 51

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

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  30. 64
    Up 32
    Down 28

    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  31. 68
    Up 20
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    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

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  32. 25
    Up 97
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    ranked low on reranks Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

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  33. 93
    Up 27
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    ranked low on reranks & added by stubb John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Waterston

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  34. 127
    Up 12
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    added by stubb Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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  35. 33
    Up 74
    Down 40

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  36. 35
    Up 95
    Down 61

    Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

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  37. 116
    Up 10
    Down 18

    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  38. 12
    Up 152
    Down 44

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

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  39. 66
    Up 29
    Down 30

    George Stephanopoulos

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  40. 87
    Up 24
    Down 42

    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  41. 45
    Up 49
    Down 38

    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs

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  42. 44
    Up 29
    Down 19

    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  43. 28
    Up 96
    Down 55

    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  44. 72
    Up 27
    Down 26

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

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  45. 65
    Up 39
    Down 37

    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

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  46. 76
    Up 21
    Down 28

    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

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  47. 41
    Up 62
    Down 45

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

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  48. 75
    Up 22
    Down 14

    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

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  49. 95
    Up 8
    Down 16

    added by stubb

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  50. 79
    Up 15
    Down 26

    Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone

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