The Best Political Films Of All Time

Over 2.2K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Political Films Of All Time
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Vote up your favorite political movies.

Over 2,200 movie fans have come together to shape these rankings of the best political films ever made. From classics like All the President’s Men and The Manchurian Candidate, to modern favorites like Argo and The Post, this list has something for everyone. Movies that explore topics such as corruption and civil disobedience in government are some of the most powerful types of films - they make us think about our own society and how we can improve it.

Themes explored by these movies can be quite varied; from examining the complexities of international relations, to exploring the inner workings of a totalitarian regime, there is something here for anyone interested in politics. For example, Dr. Strangelove takes an irreverent look at Cold War paranoia while The Battle Of Algiers paints a vivid picture of anti-colonialist struggle against French rule in Algeria during 1954-62. On the other hand Lawrence Of Arabia shows us a different side to war with its exploration into British involvement during World War I in Middle East countries.

Of course there are plenty more great political films out there waiting to be discovered. So if you're looking for your next great film recommendation then why not check out this list? Take part yourself by voting up your favorite political films or adding any you feel should have been included.

Most divisive: Team America: World Police
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  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    1
    918 votes
    • Released: 1964
    • Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
    In the satirical masterpiece Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, director Stanley Kubrick delves into the absurdity of nuclear warfare. U.S. Air Force General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) initiates a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, sending his bomber wing, including Major T.J. King Kong (Slim Pickens), towards their targets. Meanwhile, President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) grapples with the impending crisis in the War Room alongside his advisors, including an eccentric ex-Nazi scientist, Dr. Strangelove (also Peter Sellers). This film, a potent mix of comedy and political commentary, won multiple awards for its unique take on a serious subject matter.

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  • Apocalypse Now
    2
    Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall
    206 votes
    • Released: 1979
    • Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
    Apocalypse Now, a war drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola, plunges its audience into the heart of darkness that is the Vietnam War. Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) receives an unorthodox mission to eliminate Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a decorated officer who has allegedly gone rogue deep in the Cambodian jungle. Accompanied by a small crew aboard a patrol boat, Willard's journey evolves into an introspective odyssey filled with surreal encounters and moral ambiguity. The film garnered eight Academy Award nominations for its striking portrayal of war's madness, further solidifying Coppola's place among cinema's greats.

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  • Schindler's List
    3
    Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
    752 votes
    • Released: 1993
    • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
    Schindler's List, a poignant war drama directed by Steven Spielberg, unfolds through the life of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), an unlikely hero during the Holocaust. In Nazi-occupied Poland, businessman Schindler becomes an unexpected savior, employing Jews in his factories to spare them from concentration camps. Stern (Ben Kingsley), his accountant, and Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), a sadistic camp commandant, play significant roles in this stark narrative. The film won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. It's a gripping account of humanity's resilience amidst the darkest times.

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  • The Killing Fields
    4
    Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich
    134 votes
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: Roland Joffé
    New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is on assignment covering the Cambodian Civil War, with the help of local interpreter Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) and American photojournalist Al Rockoff (John Malkovich). When the U.S. Army pulls out amid escalating violence, Schanberg makes exit arrangements for Pran and his family. Pran, however, tells Schanberg he intends to stay in Cambodia to help cover the unfolding story -- a decision he may regret as the Khmer Rouge rebels move in.

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  • Network
    5
    Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, William Holden
    122 votes
    • Released: 1976
    • Directed by: Sidney Lumet
    Network, a satirical drama, unwraps the world of television news. It's a story about Howard Beale (Peter Finch), an aging TV anchor, who after learning about his imminent dismissal, announces he'll commit suicide on live broadcast. His outburst becomes an unexpected ratings hit and the network exploits his madness for profit. Faye Dunaway plays Diana Christensen, a ruthless programming executive, who orchestrates this spectacle. Directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Paddy Chayefsky, Network won four Academy Awards in 1977 including Best Actor (Finch) and Best Actress (Dunaway). This movie poses poignant questions about media ethics and audience voyeurism.

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  • All the President's Men
    6
    Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Warden
    770 votes
    • Released: 1976
    • Directed by: Alan J. Pakula
    All the President's Men is a gripping political drama that unravels in the wake of the Watergate scandal. This fact-based film follows Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) as they dig into a petty burglary case, only to discover a massive conspiracy reaching the top echelons of power. Directed by Alan J. Pakula, this critically acclaimed film won four Academy Awards. It meticulously recreates the tense atmosphere of 1970s newsrooms while shedding light on one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

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