The Best Political Films Ever Made Films

The Best Political Films Ever Made

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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.

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  1. 50
    + 129
    - 98


    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela

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  2. 49
    + 57
    - 50

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

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  3. 48
    + 56
    - 32


    Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

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  4. 47
    + 63
    - 43

    added by wiabux
    George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  5. 46
    + 88
    - 74


    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman

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  6. 45
    + 66
    - 38


    Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan

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  7. 44
    + 51
    - 47

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Daniel Brühl, Chulpan Khamatova, Florian Lukas

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  8. 43
    + 90
    - 61


    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

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  9. 42
    + 64
    - 28

    added by sebbzor
    Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman

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  10. 41
    + 25
    - 1
    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen
    Liviu Ciulei, Ion Caramitru, Victor Rebengiuc

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  11. 40
    + 85
    - 64


    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

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  12. 39
    + 126
    - 84


    Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

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  13. 38
    + 26
    - 1
    Patriotism is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen
    Patriotism Yukio Mishima, Yoshiko Tsuruoka

  14. 37
    + 27
    - 1

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen
    Peter Kern, Heinz Schubert

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  15. 36
    + 27
    - 1

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen

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  16. 35
    + 119
    - 82

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

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  17. 34
    + 77
    - 73

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman

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  18. 33
    + 105
    - 56


    Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster

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  19. 32
    + 91
    - 57


    Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

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  20. 31
    + 117
    - 65


    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

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  21. 30
    + 137
    - 74


    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  22. 29
    + 127
    - 73


    Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

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  23. 28
    + 113
    - 91

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

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  24. 27
    + 91
    - 62


    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

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  25. 26
    + 141
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks
    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

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  26. 25
    + 119
    - 71


    Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, John Derek

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  27. 24
    + 94
    - 57


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

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  28. 23
    + 91
    - 56


    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

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  29. 22
    + 141
    - 95


    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  30. 21
    + 172
    - 158

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

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  31. 20
    + 212
    - 111


    Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Hugo Weaving

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  32. 19
    + 139
    - 78


    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  33. 18
    + 167
    - 78


    Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

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  34. 17
    + 194
    - 100


    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman

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  35. 16
    + 121
    - 62


    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

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  36. 15
    + 219
    - 113


    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  37. 14
    + 187
    - 90


    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  38. 13
    + 168
    - 62


    Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

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  39. 12
    + 209
    - 103


    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  40. 11
    + 120
    - 31


    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

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  41. 10
    + 174
    - 70


    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  42. 9
    + 25
    - 0

    added by Mollevangsvagen
    Kevin Vaz, Abdiaziz Hilowle, Martin McFaul

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  43. 8
    + 25
    - 0
    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen
    József Madaras, Andras Kozak, Zoltán Latinovits

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  44. 7
    + 25
    - 0
    No image

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen
    The Dupes Ahmad Addas, Ali Elrawas, Nagah Hafiz

  45. 6
    + 222
    - 69

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

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  46. 5
    + 184
    - 86

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen

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  47. 4
    + 259
    - 112


    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

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  48. 3
    + 233
    - 81

    most listed
    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  49. 2
    + 316
    - 93


    Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford

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  50. 1
    + 444
    - 98

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

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261 +

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