The government and its inner workings have very few fans in the 10 best movies about politics. Everything is scrutinized, from the backroom dealings of congressmen to the gullibility of the public to continue trusting politicians.
- “Gandhi” (1982) Based on the true story of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent protests of British colonial rule. Gandhi’s efforts eventually led to India’s independence. Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley.
- “All the President’s Men” (1976) A movie about politics based on the real life tale of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two journalists for the Washington Post who broke the story of the Watergate scandal. Riveting and suspenseful, it chronicles the lengths they went to in order to uncover the truth that would ultimately bury an American president.
- “Election” (1999) A satire of politics in general rather than the federal government in particular, the backdrop for “Election” is a race for high school student body president. A funny and all-too-true look at how humans deal with one another when jockeying for positions of power and influence. Starring Matthew Broderick and an early performance by Reese Witherspoon.
- “A Face in the Crowd” (1957) Andy Griffith, of “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock” fame, plays Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, an Arkansas bum who rises to fame with his old-style wisdom and homespun charm. Little do most of his fans know, however, Rhodes is an abusive jerk behind closed doors. Eventually becoming an entertainer and advisor to political candidates, Rhodes navigates the private and public worlds of politics in beguiling fashion until it becomes his undoing.
- “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) A former POW of the Korean War, Raymond Shaw, is brainwashed by Communists into doing their bidding, including killing whoever stands in the way of their ultimate goal: Assassinating a U.S. presidential candidate. A fellow member of his old platoon begins investigating the brainwashing, leading him closer to uncovering the truth about Shaw.
- “Wag the Dog” (1997) A Hollywood producer and a Washington spin doctor join forces to manufacture a war so they can divert attention from a sex scandal involving the U.S. President. The result is one of the funniest and smartest movies about politics to ever grace the silver screen. A comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro that seems to scarily resemble reality.
- “Fail Safe” (1964) A technical glitch sends several U.S. warplanes to bomb Russia. The American president must accomplish the impossible by finding a way to abort the mission before nuclear hell is unleashed.
- “Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964) One of the few movies about politics to succeed equally as a laugh-out-loud comedy and poignant governmental satire. “Dr. Strangelove” is about the U.S. government’s comical plan to undo one General’s efforts to start a nuclear war.
- “Brazil” (1985) When a lowly federal office worker is assigned the task of correcting a typo, he mistakenly sets off a firestorm of bureaucracy and terrorist paranoia. Set in a dystopian future, “Brazil” is a movie about politics that satirizes the grinding inefficiency of bloated government.
- “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) A movie about politics that shows corruption in the halls of Congress is nothing new. “Mr. Smith” is about a naïve, idealistic man’s efforts to make government work for the people. He encounters the sleaziness of Washington along the way, standing up for his principles and calling out D.C. on its dirty deeds. The ultimate American political underdog movie, it sets the bar for what people wish their government could be.
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