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
501 109
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
350 110
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
265 90
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
303 130
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
216 99
Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Gandhi Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen

6
248 77
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
198 80
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
152 39
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
249 128
JFK is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
JFK Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

10
239 114
The Great Dictator is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Great Dictator Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Billy Gilbert

11
212 110
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
188 79
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

13
139 69
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
187 87
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
165 86
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
208 111
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Braveheart Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

17
131 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
245 124
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
115 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
187 170
Milk is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Milk James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

21
106 66
Frost/Nixon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Frost/Nixon Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

22
148 104
Being There is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Being There Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

23
102 63
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
161 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
155 79
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
128 95
The Queen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Queen Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

27
106 61
Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Charlie Wilson's War Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

28
117 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 81
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
134 74
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
126 90
Dave is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Dave Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Jay Leno

32
86 77
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 31
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
133 89
Traffic is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Traffic Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

35
82 40
Inherit the Wind is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Inherit the Wind Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan

36
95 69
Munich is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Munich Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

37
96 65
The Mouse That Roared is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Mouse That Roared Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell

38
61 51
Good bye, Lenin! is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Good bye, Lenin! Daniel Brühl, Chulpan Khamatova, Florian Lukas

39
70 37
The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Lives of Others Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

40
147 101
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 50
Reds is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Reds Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

42
65 29
Brazil is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Brazil Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm

43
105 78
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
98 81
The American President is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The American President Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox, Michael Douglas

45
55 29
The Battle of Algiers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
stubb added The Battle of Algiers Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson

46
66 53
The Constant Gardener is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
The Constant Gardener Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy

47
71 49
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
67 51
Young Mr. Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Young Mr. Lincoln Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Donald Meek

49
33 3
Network is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Tom Islava added Network Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, William Holden

50
76 48
Z is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Political Films Ever Made
Z Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin