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
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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Lear... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers George C. Scott

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All the President's Men is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
All the President's Men Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman Robert Redford

3
+ - 240 81
The Manchurian Candidate is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Manchurian Candidate Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury Janet Leigh

4
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Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Schindler's List Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes Ben Kingsley

5
+ - 196 89
Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Gandhi Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley Martin Sheen

6
+ - 230 70
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington James Stewart, Claude Rains Jean Arthur

7
+ - 179 70
Hotel Rwanda is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Hotel Rwanda Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix Don Cheadle

8
+ - 229 117
JFK is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
JFK Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman Kevin Bacon

9
+ - 219 105
The Great Dictator is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Great Dictator Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard Billy Gilbert

10
+ - 199 102
Wag the Dog is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Wag the Dog Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro Dustin Hoffman

11
+ - 174 66
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke Steven Berkoff

12
+ - 127 34
Lawrence of Arabia is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Lawrence of Arabia Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole Alec Guinness

13
+ - 125 63
Judgment at Nuremberg is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Judgment at Nuremberg Judy Garland, William Shatner Marlene Dietrich

14
+ - 174 80
American History X is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
American History X Edward Norton, Edward Furlong Beverly DAngelo

15
+ - 146 78
Mississippi Burning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Mississippi Burning Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman Frances McDormand

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+ - 191 96
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Braveheart Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau Brendan Gleeson

17
+ - 122 71
All the King's Men is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
All the King's Men Broderick Crawford, John Ireland John Derek

18
+ - 223 115
V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
V for Vendetta Natalie Portman, John Hurt Hugo Weaving

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+ - 144 96
Being There is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Being There Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers Jack Warden

20
+ - 175 162
Milk is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Milk James Franco, Sean Penn Josh Brolin

21
+ - 97 57
In the Name of the Father is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
In the Name of the Father Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson Tom Wilkinson

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+ - 99 57
Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Three Days of the Condor Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway Max von Sydow

23
+ - 97 62
Frost/Nixon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Frost/Nixon Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell Michael Sheen

24
+ - 146 65
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito Christopher Lloyd

25
+ - 119 91
The Queen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Queen Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen James Cromwell

26
+ - 144 75
Good Night, and Good Luck is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Good Night, and Good Luck George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. Jeff Daniels

27
+ - 131 75
Thank You for Smoking is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Thank You for Smoking Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall Maria Bello

28
+ - 93 57
Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Charlie Wilson's War Julia Roberts, Amy Adams Tom Hanks

29
+ - 109 56
Seven Days in May is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Seven Days in May Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner Burt Lancaster

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+ - 120 84
Dave is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Dave Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver Jay Leno

31
+ - 123 68
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Lincoln Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis Sally Field

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+ - 80 73
Michael Collins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Michael Collins Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson Alan Rickman

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+ - 27 1
Defamation is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made

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+ - 27 1
Hitler: A Film from Germany is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Hitler: A Film from Germany Peter Kern, Heinz Schubert

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+ - 26 1
Patriotism is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Patriotism Yukio Mishima, Yoshiko Tsuruoka

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+ - 26 1
The Round-Up is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Round-Up József Madaras, Andras Kozak Zoltán Latinovits

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+ - 71 28
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch Gary Oldman

38
+ - 25 1
Forest of the Hanged is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Forest of the Hanged Liviu Ciulei, Ion Caramitru Victor Rebengiuc

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+ - 25 1
Play is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Play Kevin Vaz, Abdiaziz Hilowle Martin McFaul

40
+ - 25 1
The Dupes is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Dupes Ahmad Addas, Ali Elrawas Nagah Hafiz

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+ - 127 85
Traffic is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Traffic Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones Michael Douglas

42
+ - 92 62
The Mouse That Roared is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Mouse That Roared Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg William Hartnell

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+ - 71 38
Inherit the Wind is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Inherit the Wind Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly Harry Morgan

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+ - 54 47
Good bye, Lenin! is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Good bye, Lenin! Daniel Brühl, Chulpan Khamatova Florian Lukas

45
+ - 85 65
Munich is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Munich Daniel Craig, Eric Bana Geoffrey Rush

46
+ - 22 1
The Lady and the Duke is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Lady and the Duke Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Rosette Marie Rivière

47
+ - 65 43
Syriana is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Syriana George Clooney, Matt Damon Amanda Peet

48
+ - 134 99
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Malcolm X Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton Nelson Mandela

49
+ - 60 50
The Constant Gardener is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Constant Gardener Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes Bill Nighy

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+ - 58 34
The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Lives of Others Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe Martina Gedeck