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35+ Great Political Movies Based on True Stories

Updated June 19, 2020 1.3k votes 173 voters 9.8k views46 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
    Lincoln
    51
    15

    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... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    All the President's Men
    50
    14

    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.... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    The King's Speech
    37
    14

    The King's Speech

    Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth

    Released2010

    Directed byTom Hooper

    The King's Speech is a 2010 British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Munich
    37
    17

    Munich

    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana

    Released2005

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Munich is a 2005 historical drama and political thriller film based on Operation Wrath of God,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Patton
    30
    9

    Patton

    George C. Scott, Karl Malden

    Released1970

    Directed byFranklin J. Schaffner

    Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton during... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Vice
    30
    11

    Vice

    Christian Bale, Amy Adams

    Released2018

    Directed byAdam McKay

    Vice is a 2018 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay. The story of Dick Cheney... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Milk
    36
    19

    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... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Thirteen Days
    29
    12

    Thirteen Days

    Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood

    Released2000

    Directed byRoger Donaldson

    Thirteen Days is a 2000 American historical drama-thriller film directed by Roger Donaldson... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    JFK
    36
    21

    JFK

    Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman

    Released1991

    Directed byOliver Stone

    JFK is a 1991 American historical legal-conspiracy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    The Queen
    28
    13

    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... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    The Last King of Scotland
    26
    16

    The Last King of Scotland

    Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson

    Released2006

    Directed byKevin Macdonald

    The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 British fiction drama film based on Giles Foden's novel of... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Gandhi
    22
    13

    Gandhi

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley

    Released1982

    Directed byRichard Attenborough

    Gandhi is a 1982 epic biographical film which dramatises the life of Mohandas Karamchand... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Malcolm X
    22
    15

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

    Malcolm X is a 1992 American biographical drama film about the African-American activist... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Snowden
    19
    13

    Snowden

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley

    Released2016

    Directed byOliver Stone

    Snowden is a 2016 biographical spy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone, based on books by ... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Good Night, and Good Luck
    17
    10

    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... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Selma
    22
    18

    Selma

    Oprah Winfrey, Common

    Released2014

    Directed byAva DuVernay

    Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Frost/Nixon
    21
    17

    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... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Game Change
    15
    13

    Game Change

    Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson

    Released2012

    Directed byJay Roach

    Game Change is a 2012 American HBO political drama film based on events of the 2008 United... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Invictus
    14
    12

    Invictus

    Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon

    Released2009

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    "From director Clint Eastwood, “Invictus” tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Syriana
    16
    15

    Syriana

    George Clooney, Matt Damon

    Released2005

    Directed byStephen Gaghan

    Syriana is a 2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    The Insider
    14
    13

    The Insider

    Al Pacino, Russell Crowe

    Released1999

    Directed byMichael Mann

    The Insider is a 1999 American drama film directed by Michael Mann, based on the true story of... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Charlie Wilson's War
    17
    17

    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... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Mr. Jones
    4
    1

    Mr. Jones

    James Norton, Vanessa Kirby

    Released2020

    Directed byAgnieszka Holland

    Mr. Jones is a 2020 Polish biographical drama directed by Agnieszka Holland and is based on... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    The Last Emperor
    12
    12

    The Last Emperor

    Peter O'Toole, Joan Chen

    Released1987

    Directed byBernardo Bertolucci

    The Last Emperor is a 1987 biographical film about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    The Iron Lady
    17
    20

    The Iron Lady

    Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent

    Released2011

    Directed byPhyllida Lloyd

    The Iron Lady is a 2011 drama and biography film written by Abi Morgan and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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