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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  • 22 ReRanks
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  1. 50
    + 35
    - 19

    added by stubb
    Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  2. 49
    + 48
    - 24

    added by wiabux
    Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones

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  3. 48
    + 85
    - 74


    Anthony Hopkins, James Woods, Ed Harris

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  4. 47
    + 51
    - 46


    Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

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  5. 46
    + 89
    - 75


    Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Maurice LaMarche

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  6. 45
    + 46
    - 24

    added by wiabux
    Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy

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  7. 44
    + 52
    - 47

    added by stubb
    Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

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  8. 43
    + 57
    - 36


    Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan

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  9. 42
    + 63
    - 37


    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

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  10. 41
    + 77
    - 64


    Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Logan Lerman

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  11. 40
    + 54
    - 55

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

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  12. 39
    + 120
    - 82


    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela

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  13. 38
    + 57
    - 33

    added by wiabux
    George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

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  14. 37
    + 52
    - 23

    added by sebbzor
    Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman

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  15. 36
    + 69
    - 38


    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski

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  16. 35
    + 84
    - 54


    Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

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  17. 34
    + 118
    - 77


    Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

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  18. 33
    + 69
    - 68

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman

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  19. 32
    + 77
    - 46


    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

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  20. 31
    + 111
    - 76


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

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  21. 30
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    - 51


    Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster

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  22. 29
    + 125
    - 70


    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  23. 28
    + 117
    - 67


    Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

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  24. 27
    + 106
    - 84

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

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  25. 26
    + 86
    - 49


    Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

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  26. 25
    + 101
    - 52


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

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  27. 24
    + 83
    - 52


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

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  28. 23
    + 84
    - 54


    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

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  29. 22
    + 78
    - 51


    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

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  30. 21
    + 108
    - 64


    Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, John Derek

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  31. 20
    + 128
    - 82


    Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

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  32. 19
    + 126
    - 44


    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

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  33. 18
    + 157
    - 128


    James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  34. 17
    + 197
    - 101


    Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Hugo Weaving

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  35. 16
    + 158
    - 81


    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

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  36. 15
    + 94
    - 27


    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

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  37. 14
    + 179
    - 92


    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman

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  38. 13
    + 201
    - 102


    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

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  39. 12
    + 126
    - 55


    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  40. 11
    + 113
    - 50


    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

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  41. 10
    + 153
    - 56


    Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

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  42. 9
    + 148
    - 56


    Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

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  43. 8
    + 195
    - 84


    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  44. 7
    + 162
    - 52


    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

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  45. 6
    + 211
    - 62


    James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

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  46. 5
    + 171
    - 74


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen

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  47. 4
    + 239
    - 76


    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

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  48. 3
    + 217
    - 70

    most listed
    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  49. 2
    + 295
    - 83


    Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford

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  50. 1
    + 420
    - 73

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

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211 +

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