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. 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.

Check out more lists like this awesome collection of political thrillers, slave movies that will make you question the justice of history, and the top napoleon movies ever made

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  1. 144
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    Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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    Matt Damon, Benicio del Toro, Rodrigo Santoro

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    Brendan Fraser, Michael Caine, Rade Šerbedžija

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    Martin Sheen, Ralph Bellamy, William Devane

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    Taylor Schilling, Michael Lerner, Jon Polito

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    Atlas Shrugged: Part II Sean Hannity, Teller, Samantha Mathis

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    Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

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    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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    Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater

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    John Travolta, Jay Leno, Dustin Hoffman

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    Atlas Shrugged

  14. 131
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    Anny Duperey, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ulrich Tukur

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    Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, Jean-Luc Bideau

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    Robert Powell

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    Karin Viard, Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur

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    Jack O'Connell, Sean Harris, Martin McCann

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    Lauren Bacall, Willem Dafoe, Bryce Dallas Howard

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    Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, James Caan

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    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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    James Carville

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    Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

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    Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty

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    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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    Stanley Kubrick, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio

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    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube

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    Daniel Ellsberg

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    Forest Whitaker, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson

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    Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt

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    Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Thomas Kretschmann

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    Halle Berry, Sarah Silverman, Don Cheadle

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    Josh Rushing

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    Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney

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    Bradley Cooper

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    Ralph Nader, Eric Alterman, Phil Donahue

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    Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

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    Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Anderson

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    Lili Taylor, Bill Ayers, Todd Gitlin

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    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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    Kevin Costner, Willie Nelson, Bill Maher

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    Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones

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    Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo

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    Oscar Isaac, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benicio del Toro

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    Norman Yarborough

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    Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Julie Christie

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    Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Nassar

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