Entertainment
211 voters

The Best Political Drama Movies, Ranked

Updated June 19, 2020 1.4k votes 211 voters 14.6k views62 items

List RulesVote up your favorite dramas about politics and politicians.

This list contains information on the best political drama movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best political drama films come in many forms. Some good political dramas take place in the White House while other good political drama movies are set all around the world. Many of the best political drama movies have won awards.

What films will you find on this top political drama movies list? Frost/Nixon has to be near the top. This Ron Howard film examined the Watergate scandal through a series of interviews with David Frost (played by Michael Sheen) and Richard Nixon (Frank Langella). The 2008 movie was nominated for a total of five Academy Awards. All the President's Men is another good political drama.

Daniel Day Lewis disappeared into the role of the 16
th President of the United States when he played the title character in Lincoln. Other good political drama movies featured on this list include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, JFK, and The Queen.

Do you have a favorite political drama movie? Vote the best films up to the top of this list, then check out our list of the best political movies.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    44
    13

    All the President's Men

    Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman

    Released1976

    Directed byAlan J. Pakula

    All the President's Men is a 1976 American political thriller film directed by Alan J. Pakula. The screenplay by William Goldman is based on the 1974 non-fiction book of the same name by Carl...  more
  • 2
    45
    17

    Lincoln

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis

    Released2012

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The...  more
  • 3
    33
    9

    Thirteen Days

    Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood

    Released2000

    Directed byRoger Donaldson

    Thirteen Days is a 2000 American historical drama-thriller film directed by Roger Donaldson Kevin Costner stars, with Bruce Greenwood featured as President John F. Kennedy, Steven Culp as Attorney...  more
  • 4
    31
    10

    V for Vendetta

    Natalie Portman, John Hurt

    Released2006

    Directed byJames McTeigue

    V for Vendetta is a 2006 American political thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowski Brothers, based on the 1988 Vertigo graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and...  more
  • 5
    27
    7

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    James Stewart, Claude Rains

    Released1939

    Directed byFrank Capra

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film, starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, about one man's effect on American politics. It was directed by Frank Capra and...  more
  • 6
    37
    18

    The Ides of March

    George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood

    Released2011

    Directed byGeorge Clooney

    The Ides of March is a 2011 American political drama film directed by George Clooney from a screenplay written by Clooney, along with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon. The film is an adaptation of...  more
  • 7
    30
    10

    The American President

    Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox

    Released1995

    Directed byRob Reiner

    The American President is a 1995 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin. The film stars Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox...  more
  • 8
    31
    14

    Frost/Nixon

    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell

    Released2008

    Directed byRon Howard

    Frost/Nixon is a 2008 British-American historical drama film based on the 2006 play of the same name by Peter Morgan, who also adapted the screenplay. The film tells the story behind the Frost/Nixon...  more
  • 9
    27
    11

    Miss Sloane

    Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong

    Directed byJohn Madden

    Miss Sloane is a 2016 French-American political thriller film directed by John Madden. In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought...  more
  • 10
    31
    16

    JFK

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman

    Released1991

    Directed byOliver Stone

    JFK is a 1991 American historical legal-conspiracy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and subsequent cover-up...  more
  • 11
    23
    8

    The Queen

    Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen

    Released2006

    Directed byStephen Frears

    The Queen is a 2006 British historical drama film depicting the British Royal Family's response to Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 1997. The film was directed by Stephen Frears, written by...  more
  • 12
    23
    10

    Milk

    James Franco, Sean Penn

    Released2008

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Milk is a 2008 American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a...  more
  • 13
    20
    6

    Wag the Dog

    Kirsten Dunst, Robert De Niro

    Released1997

    Directed byBarry Levinson

    Wag the Dog is a 1997 black comedy film produced and directed by Barry Levinson. The screenplay by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet was loosely adapted from Larry Beinhart's novel American Hero. The...  more
  • 14
    20
    7

    Bridge of Spies

    Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance

    Released2015

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Bridge of Spies is a 2015 historical drama legal thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg. Lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is entrusted with negotiating the release of U.S. Air Force pilot...  more
  • 15
    22
    11

    The Butler

    Mariah Carey, Robin Williams

    Released2013

    Directed byLee Daniels

    The Butler is a 2013 American historical drama film directed and produced by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong. Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen, the film stars Forest Whitaker as...  more
  • 16
    19
    7

    In the Line of Fire

    Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich

    Released1993

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    In the Line of Fire is a 1993 American action thriller film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, and starring Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich. Written by Jeff Maguire, the film is about a disillusioned...  more
  • 17
    23
    11

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury

    Released1962

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

    The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John Frankenheimer that stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh and co-stars Angela Lansbury, Henry...  more
  • 18
    20
    11

    Charlie Wilson's War

    Julia Roberts, Amy Adams

    Released2007

    Directed byMike Nichols

    Charlie Wilson's War is a 2007 American biographical comedy-drama film, recounting the true story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson who partnered with CIA operative Gust Avrakotos to launch...  more
  • 19
    16
    7

    The Contender

    Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges

    Released2000

    Directed byRod Lurie

    The Contender is a 2000 political drama film written and directed by Rod Lurie. It stars Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater. The film focuses on a fictional United States...  more
  • 20
    17
    8

    Good Night, and Good Luck

    George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr.

    Released2005

    Directed byGeorge Clooney

    Good Night, and Good Luck. is a 2005 American drama film directed by George Clooney and starring David Strathairn, Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr., Patricia Clarkson and Jeff Daniels. The movie was...  more
  • 21
    19
    11

    The Ghost Writer

    Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor

    Released2010

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    The Ghost Writer is 2010 thriller film written by Robert Harris and Roman Polanski and directed by Roman Polanski....  more
  • 22
    13
    5

    Across the Line

    Adrienne Barbeau, Brian Bloom

    Released2000

    Directed byMartin Spottl

    Across the Line is a 2000 American drama film directed by Martin Spottl and starring Brad Johnson and Sigal Erez. Johnson plays a small-town Texas sheriff who falls for an illegal immigrant who...  more
  • 23
    17
    10

    Zero Dark Thirty

    Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt

    Released2012

    Directed byKathryn Bigelow

    Zero Dark Thirty is a 2012 American war thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow. A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks,...  more
  • 24
    11
    3

    True Colors

    John Cusack, James Spader

    Released1991

    Directed byHerbert Ross

    True Colors is an American drama film written by Kevin Wade and directed by Herbert Ross. The cast included John Cusack, James Spader and Richard Widmark in his final movie role....  more
  • 25
    12
    4

    Truman

    Gary Sinise, Tony Goldwyn

    Released1995

    Directed byFrank Pierson

    Truman is a 1995 HBO movie based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Truman. Starring Gary Sinise as Harry S. Truman, the film centers on Truman's rise to the presidency from humble...  more