Thinking about Best Movies About Politics, there are so many directors talking about this feeling. Here are 20 of the best ones.
From Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is an iconic 1964 dark comedy directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows General Jack D. Ripper, an insane U.S. Air Force general who orders a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, setting off the chain of nuclear events that could lead to the destruction of the world. In a desperate attempt to stop the attack, the President of the United States and his advisers, including the wheelchair-bound nuclear scientist Dr. Strangelove, frantically try to find a solution. The film is a satire of Cold War paranoia, and its themes of mutually assured destruction, the futility of war, and the horror of nuclear conflict remain relevant to this day.
From Orson Welles, starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama directed, co-written, produced, and starring Orson Welles. The film follows the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper magnate whose mysterious last words before his death, "Rosebud," has perplexed the public ever since. Through a series of flashbacks, journalist-turned-investigator Thompson attempts to uncover the meaning behind Kane's last words. Through his investigation, Thompson discovers the many facets of Kane's life, from his humble beginnings to his rise to power and influence as a millionaire. As the layers of Kane's life are peeled away, it becomes evident that beneath the wealth, power, and fame lies a man who had everything but the happiness he truly sought. Citizen Kane is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, and it is a landmark of filmmaking for its innovative cinematography, editing, and narrative structure.
From Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 classic American political comedy-drama film directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur. The film follows the story of Jefferson Smith (Stewart), a naive and idealistic man who is appointed to the U.S. Senate after his state's senior senator dies. Smith soon finds himself at odds with the corrupt political machine that controls his home state, led by Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). In a last-ditch effort to save his beloved state, Smith filibusters the corrupt bill that is being pushed through the Senate. In the process, Smith discovers the untarnished spirit of democracy that still resides in the American people. The film culminates in a powerful climax that demonstrates the power of the people and the importance of preserving their democracy.
From Hal Ashby, starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden
Being There stars Peter Sellers as Chance, a simple-minded gardener with a childlike outlook on life. After the death of his wealthy employer, Chance is forced to leave the mansion he has called home for many years. He ventures out into an unfamiliar world in Washington D.C., where his words are misinterpreted as profound wisdom by the people he meets. Through a series of coincidental events, Chance rises to become a powerful political figure and is eventually invited to the White House. His naiveté and lack of understanding of the modern world, however, leads to some humorous, yet thought-provoking consequences. This classic comedy-drama ultimately provides a thought-provoking message about the power of perception and the potential influence of the media.
From Alan J. Pakula, starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam
All the President's Men is a 1976 American political thriller film about the Watergate scandal, which took place in the early 1970s. Directed by Alan J. Pakula and starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the film chronicles the duo's uncovering of the conspiracy behind the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The film follows the two journalists as they investigate the connections between the burglary and President Richard Nixon's administration. After months of investigation, the two are able to uncover the full extent of the scandal and eventually bring about Nixon's resignation. All the President's Men is acclaimed for its performances, writing, and its accurate portrayal of the events surrounding the Watergate scandal.
From John Frankenheimer, starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury
The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 Cold War-era psychological thriller directed by John Frankenheimer. The film stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. The story follows Raymond Shaw, a former Korean War prisoner of war and decorated war hero, who is brainwashed by communists into becoming an unwitting assassin. Shaw's handler, the communist spy Isela Mavovo, orders him to kill a prominent political figure. Shaw's former squad commander, Major Bennett Marco, investigates Raymond's strange behavior and slowly begins to uncover the truth. The film is an exploration of the paranoia and fear prevalent during the Cold War, and examines themes of mind control and brainwashing. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, and is considered a classic of the genre.
From John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner
Seven Days in May is a classic political thriller directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Fredric March. The film follows US Army Major Scott (Douglas), a loyal but suspicious aide to the President, who discovers a secret plot by a power-hungry general (Lancaster) to overthrow the government through a military coup. Scott must find evidence and enlist the help of a hard-nosed journalist (March) to stop the general before it's too late. The film is a gripping exploration of the danger of unchecked power and the courage it takes to stand up and oppose it.
Elyse Steinberg, starring Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Jordan Zain Weiner, Barbara Morgan
Weiner is a 2016 documentary film directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg which follows the political career of Anthony Weiner, a former United States Representative from New York and unsuccessful candidate for mayor of New York City in 2013. The film focuses on Weiner's failed mayoral campaign, which suffered from a series of embarrassing sexting scandals involving Weiner. The filmmakers follow Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, as they attempt to maintain their marriage amid the media circus and public scrutiny of the campaign. As the documentary progresses, the film reveals a portrait of Weiner as a complex and tragic figure, whose ambition and charisma is ultimately overshadowed by his personal flaws. The film also provides an insightful look into how the media and public opinion can shape the success or failure of political campaigns.
From Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson
Selma is a biographical drama set in 1965, directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. The film depicts the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by King and other civil rights activists to secure equal voting rights for African Americans. The march faced opposition from the local government, the police and white supremacists, but the protestors persevered and eventually the march led to President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film highlights the bravery of the activists and the importance of the civil rights movement in helping achieve equal rights for African Americans.
From Gus Van Sant, starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna
Milk is a 2008 biographical film directed by Gus Van Sant and based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. The film stars Sean Penn in the title role as Milk, as well as Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, and James Franco. It chronicles Milk's career and his personal relationships, starting in 1970 when he first moved to San Francisco and began his career as an activist and politician. Milk was the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to public office in California, and is credited with helping to spur the gay rights movement in the United States. The film follows his struggles as he deals with both personal and political issues, and culminates in his assassination in 1978.
D.A. Pennebaker, starring James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Heather Beckel, Paul Begala
From Armando Iannucci, starring Tom Hollander, Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Harry Hadden-Paton
Rated Not Rated
From Alexander Payne, starring Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell
From Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
From Barry Levinson, starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson
From George Clooney, starring Paul Giamatti, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan Gosling
From Tim Robbins, starring Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman, Ray Wise
From Michael Ritchie, starring Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas, Don Porter
From Warren Beatty, starring Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Kimberly Deauna Adams, Vinny Argiro
From Mike Nichols, starring John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates, Larry Hagman
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