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. 121
    Up 4
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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 cover the Federal Reserve System and "New World Order" conspiracy.

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  2. 24
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    ranked low on reranks Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

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  3. 55
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    Michael Douglas, Michael J. Fox, Martin Sheen

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  4. 9
    Up 77
    Down 28

    Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

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  5. 118
    Up 9
    Down 12

    added by stubb Antonin Artaud, Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès

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  6. 42
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    Meryl Streep, Iain Glen, Jim Broadbent

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  7. 83
    Up 41
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    Al Gore

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  8. 120
    Up 12
    Down 17

    added by stubb Peter Coyote, Jeffrey Skilling, Gray Davis

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  9. 90
    Up 20
    Down 35

    Burt Reynolds, Kelly Preston, Alicia Witt

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  10. 61
    Up 50
    Down 38

    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Chris Klein

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  11. 84
    Up 11
    Down 18

    added by sebbzor Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan

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  12. 106
    Up 22
    Down 18

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

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  13. 39
    Up 35
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

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  14. 95
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    added by stubb

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  15. 75
    Up 22
    Down 14

    Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx

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  16. 128
    Up 6
    Down 12

    added by HereshSniper Matt Damon, Benicio del Toro, Rodrigo Santoro

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  17. 117
    Up 5
    Down 6

    added by MejaEhrenström Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Lara, Thomas Kretschmann

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  18. 38
    Up 25
    Down 29

    Daniel Brühl, Michael Gwisdek, Christine Schorn

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  19. 92
    Up 27
    Down 10

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

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  20. 116
    Up 10
    Down 18

    Andy Griffith, Rip Torn, Walter Matthau

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  21. 74
    Up 22
    Down 17

    Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent

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  22. 33
    Up 74
    Down 40

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  23. 7
    Up 147
    Down 58

    Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

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  24. 13
    Up 73
    Down 33

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  25. 72
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    added by Abbey Grantham Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

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  26. 54
    Up 44
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    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin

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  27. 66
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    George Stephanopoulos

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  28. 64
    Up 32
    Down 28

    Martha Higareda, Édgar Ramírez, Emmanuelle Bercot

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  29. 127
    Up 12
    Down 20

    added by stubb Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Christian Slater

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  30. 68
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    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton

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  31. 10
    Up 135
    Down 68

    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Jay Leno

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  32. 17
    Up 81
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    Edward Furlong, Edward Norton, Beverly D'Angelo

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  33. 23
    Up 49
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

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  34. 82
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    added by wiabux Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

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  35. 41
    Up 62
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    ranked low on reranks William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy

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  36. 115
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    Down 19

    Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron

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  37. 96
    Up 21
    Down 14

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

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  38. 108
    Up 17
    Down 19

    added by wiabux Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones

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  39. 8
    Up 112
    Down 88

    often listed James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  40. 50
    Up 58
    Down 46

    John Travolta, Bill Maher, Emma Thompson

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  41. 79
    Up 15
    Down 26

    Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone

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  42. 52
    Up 12
    Down 22

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham

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  43. 88
    Up 13
    Down 19

    added by wiabux Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro

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  44. 73
    Up 22
    Down 13

    Gore Vidal, Richard Perle, Graydon Carter

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  45. 53
    Up 25
    Down 21

    Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

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  46. 122
    Up 4
    Down 7

    new! & added by testvikas2 Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

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  47. 63
    Up 20
    Down 12

    added by stubb Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

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  48. 26
    Up 91
    Down 57

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

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  49. 28
    Up 96
    Down 55

    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

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  50. 65
    Up 39
    Down 37

    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei

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