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 120
    Down 60

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  2. 6
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    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  3. 131
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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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  4. 134
    Up 5
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    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

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  5. 21
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    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  6. 57
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    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

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  7. 127
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    added by stubb Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

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  8. 11
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    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  9. 67
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    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  10. 110
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    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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  11. 73
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    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  12. 77
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    Bill Murray, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Boyle

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  13. 125
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    added by sebbzor Matt Damon

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  14. 90
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    added by stubb Norman Yarborough

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  15. 52
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    Michael Douglas, Michael J. Fox, Martin Sheen

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  16. 129
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    added by HereshSniper Matt Damon, Benicio del Toro, Rodrigo Santoro

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  17. 104
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    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

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  18. 69
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    Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Jan Josef Liefers

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  19. 115
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    James Cagney, Red Buttons, Pamela Tiffin

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  20. 4
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    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

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  21. 10
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  22. 112
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    new! Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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  23. 94
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    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  24. 65
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  25. 60
    Up 14
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    added by wiabux Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker

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  26. 7
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    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  27. 15
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    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

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  28. 42
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    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

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  29. 40
    Up 68
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    ranked low on reranks Anthony Hopkins, James Woods, Bai Ling

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  30. 63
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    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  31. 80
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    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

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

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  33. 96
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    ranked low on reranks & added by stubb John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Waterston

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  34. 130
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    added by stubb Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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  35. 28
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  36. 34
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    Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

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  37. 86
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    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  38. 8
    Up 136
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    ranked low on reranks James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

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  39. 61
    Up 27
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    George Stephanopoulos

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  40. 91
    Up 21
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    Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds

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  41. 44
    Up 43
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    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs

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  42. 46
    Up 17
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    added by wiabux George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  43. 29
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    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  44. 70
    Up 20
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    added by Abbey Grantham Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  45. 66
    Up 32
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    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

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  46. 74
    Up 19
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    Peter Boyle, Robert Forster, Peter Bonerz

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  47. 41
    Up 56
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    ranked low on reranks William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

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  48. 81
    Up 16
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    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

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  49. 97
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    often listed & added by stubb

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  50. 76
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    Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone

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  51. 138 +

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