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35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories 

Ranker Film
Updated March 17, 2020 805 votes 127 voters 8.1k views 43 items

Sometimes the truth is more entertaining than fiction, especially when it comes to films inspired by real-life political events, scandals, and personalities. The top true politics movies are typically about a major event that changed the scope of government. This is a list of true political movies featuring everything from All the President's Men to The Last King of Scotland to Malcolm X.

What classics will you find on this list of movies based on true politics? Maybe you'll vote Lincoln to the top. Daniel Day-Lewis took home the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the 16th president, in a film examining the time when he abolished slavery. Hyde Park on Hudson, which offers a look at the personal life of Franklin D. Roosevelt, is another good movie about a political figure. Nelson Mandela was the subject of the acclaimed 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Other notable movies featured in this roundup include Patton, The King's Speech, and The Ides of March.

Which political true stories are the best? Give your favorite films a thumbs up to move them to the number-one spot, and add any great flicks that are missing.

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1
All the President's Men ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford

Released: 1976

Directed by: Alan 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

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#27 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #25 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

Released: 2012

Directed by: Steven 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

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#158 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #12 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

3
JFK is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

Released: 1991

Directed by: Oliver 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 ...more

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#11 of 13 These Are The Most Historically Inaccurate Movies Of All Time #77 of 266 The Best Ensemble Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Munich is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush

Released: 2005

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Munich is a 2005 historical drama and political thriller film based on Operation Wrath of God, the Israeli government's secret retaliation against the Palestine Liberation Organization after the ...more

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5
The King's Speech is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth, Guy Pearce

Released: 2010

Directed by: Tom Hooper

The King's Speech is a 2010 British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an ...more

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#309 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #14 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

6
Patton is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

Released: 1970

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton during WWII. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by ...more

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#73 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #25 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Thirteen Days is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Chip Esten

Released: 2000

Directed by: Roger 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 ...more

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#45 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #154 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #85 of 321 The Best Political Films Ever Made

8
The Last King of Scotlan... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy

Released: 2006

Directed by: Kevin Macdonald

The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 British fiction drama film based on Giles Foden's novel of the same name, adapted by screenwriters Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock, and directed by Kevin ...more

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#191 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #87 of 321 The Best Political Films Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Vice is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell

Released: 2018

Directed by: Adam McKay

Vice is a 2018 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay. The story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the ...more

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#369 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #69 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Storieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen

Released: 1982

Directed by: Richard Attenborough

Gandhi is a 1982 epic biographical film which dramatises the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United ...more

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#186 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #86 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
The Queen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell

Released: 2006

Directed by: Stephen 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

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#369 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #261 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Selma is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Oprah Winfrey, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 2014

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, and ...more

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#441 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Storieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Milk is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

Released: 2008

Directed by: Gus 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, ...more

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#104 of 140 The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents #23 of 35 35 Movies That Were Ridiculously Banned Around the Worldlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
Snowden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Snowden Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo

Released: 2016

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Snowden is a 2016 biographical spy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone, based on books by Luke Harding and Anatoly Kucherena. The NSA's illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the ...more
15
Good Night, and Good Luc... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels

Released: 2005

Directed by: George 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

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#177 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #21 of 321 The Best Political Films Ever Made

16
The Insider is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1999

Directed by: Michael Mann

The Insider is a 1999 American drama film directed by Michael Mann, based on the true story of a 60 Minutes segment about Jeffrey Wigand, a whistleblower in the tobacco industry. The 60 Minutes ...more
17
Frost/Nixon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

Released: 2008

Directed by: Ron 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 ...more

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#29 of 85 The Best Movies Based on Plays #129 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

18
Syriana is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

Released: 2005

Directed by: Stephen Gaghan

Syriana is a 2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, and executive produced by George Clooney, who also stars in the film with an ensemble cast. Gaghan's ...more

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#69 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #412 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
Mandela: Long Walk to Fr... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge

Released: 2013

Directed by: Justin Chadwick

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a 2013 British-South African biographical film directed by Justin Chadwick from a script written by William Nicholson and starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. ...more
20
Invictus is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Langley Kirkwood

Released: 2009

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

"From director Clint Eastwood, “Invictus” tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar ...more

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#14 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories #45 of 54 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

21
Run This Town is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, Ninadobrev

Released: 2020

Directed by: Ricky Tollman

Run This Town is a 2020 Canadian political drama directed by Ricky Tollman. An emerging political scandal in Toronto is seen through the eyes of three young staffers (Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, ...more
22
Trumbo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Trumbo
23
Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

Released: 2007

Directed by: Mike 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

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24
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela

Released: 1992

Directed by: Spike Lee

Malcolm X is a 1992 American biographical drama film about the African-American activist Malcolm X. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee. The film dramatizes key events in Malcolm X's life: his ...more

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#2 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #2 of 27 The Greatest African American Biopics

25
Slay The Dragon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories
Ari Berman, David Daley, Margaret Dickson

Released: 2020

Directed by: Chris Durrance, Barak Goodman

Slay the Dragon is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance. The film is about gerrymandering in the United States and how it affects the country's