best movie genres 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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list ordered by

1
505 111
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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2
354 111
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
269 92
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
310 130
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
253 77
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur

6
217 102
Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Gandhi Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen

7
200 81
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
154 40
Lawrence of Arabia is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Lawrence of Arabia Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness

9
241 116
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
250 134
JFK is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
JFK Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

11
215 111
Wag the Dog is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Wag the Dog Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman

12
141 69
Judgment at Nuremberg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Judgment at Nuremberg Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich

13
191 82
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

14
190 90
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
167 88
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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16
211 111
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Braveheart Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

17
132 75
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
248 125
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

19
116 61
Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Three Days of the Condor Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

20
149 104
Being There is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Being There Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

21
189 172
Milk is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Milk James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

22
107 67
Frost/Nixon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Frost/Nixon Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

23
104 64
In the Name of the Father is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
In the Name of the Father Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

24
164 70
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
157 80
Good Night, and Good Luck is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Good Night, and Good Luck George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

26
109 61
Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Charlie Wilson's War Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

27
130 95
The Queen is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Queen Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

28
118 58
Seven Days in May is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Seven Days in May Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster

29
139 84
Thank You for Smoking is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Thank You for Smoking Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello

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30
136 75
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Lincoln Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

31
128 91
Dave is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Dave Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

32
86 78
Michael Collins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Michael Collins Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman

33
86 33
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
sebbzor added Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman

34
83 40
Inherit the Wind is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Inherit the Wind Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan

35
133 90
Traffic is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Traffic Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

36
98 65
The Mouse That Roared is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Mouse That Roared Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

37
96 71
Munich is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Munich Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

38
70 37
The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Lives of Others Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

39
61 51
Good bye, Lenin! is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Good bye, Lenin! Daniel Brühl, Chulpan Khamatova, Florian Lukas

40
147 102
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Malcolm X Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela

41
83 51
Reds is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Reds Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

42
99 81
The American President is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The American President Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox, Michael Douglas

43
106 79
Nixon is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Nixon Anthony Hopkins, James Woods, Ed Harris

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44
65 30
Brazil is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Brazil Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm

45
50 27
Fail Safe is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
stubb added Fail Safe Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Larry Hagman

46
55 30
The Battle of Algiers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
stubb added The Battle of Algiers Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

47
71 50
Syriana is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
wiabux added Syriana George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

48
66 54
The Constant Gardener is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Constant Gardener Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

49
68 53
Young Mr. Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Young Mr. Lincoln Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Donald Meek

50
76 49
Z is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Z Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin