Learned About Democracy From Movies

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Learned About Democracy From Movies

When it comes to Learned About Democracy From Movies, there is no limit to the creators who explored this topic. Here are 25 of the best ones.

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Life Is Beautiful
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Roberto Benigni, starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano
Rated PG-13

Life Is Beautiful is an Italian film by director Roberto Benigni. It tells the story of a Jewish book store owner named Guido, who uses his imagination and humor to try to protect his young son from the horrors of the Holocaust. When the family is forcibly taken to a concentration camp, Guido must use his wit and courage to shield his son from the harsh realities of their situation. With the help of his love for his son, Guido is able to create a world of laughter and joy, even in the darkest of times. Though the film is a comedy and has a lighthearted approach, it is also a powerful reminder of the importance of family, love, and resilience.

The Lives of Others (2006)

The Lives of Others
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, starring Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur
Rated R

The Lives of Others is a 2006 German drama film about the surveillance of East Berlin by the secret police in the waning days of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It follows the story of Stasi agent Gerd Wiesler, who is assigned to spy on East Berlin playwright Georg Dreyman and his lover, Christa-Maria Sieland. As Wiesler becomes increasingly entrenched in Dreyman’s life, he discovers a world of beauty, creativity and love beyond the oppressive regime he is charged to protect. This discovery has a profound effect on Wiesler, and leads him to risk his own career to protect Dreyman and Sieland. The film chronicles the human cost of an authoritarian state, while revealing the courage and strength of those who defy it.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn
Rated PG

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is an iconic, black comedy directed by Stanley Kubrick. The story follows an unhinged American general's attempt to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, leading the President of the United States and his advisors to desperately attempt to recall the bombers before it's too late. The satirical elements of the film examine the absurdity of the Cold War and the potential consequences of nuclear warfare. The film features a talented cast including Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, and has been widely acclaimed as a cinematic masterpiece.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Judgment at Nuremberg
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich
Rated Approved

Judgment at Nuremberg is a 1961 American courtroom drama film directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, and Maximilian Schell. The film depicts a fictionalized version of the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials of four Nazi judges accused of war crimes. It focuses on the presiding judge, Dan Haywood (Tracy), as he struggles to come to terms with the enormity of the decisions he needs to make in determining the fate of the accused. The film examines the post-war moral and legal implications of the actions of the Nazis and those who were complicit in their crimes. It also depicts the emotional turmoil of the defendants and their families as they come to terms with their complicity in the Nazi regime. Ultimately, the film serves as a warning to all generations of the consequences of allowing a government to become too powerful and to deny basic human rights.

V for Vendetta (2005)

V for Vendetta
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From James McTeigue, starring Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea
Rated R

V for Vendetta is a 2005 dystopian political thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by The Wachowskis. Set in a future Britain, the film centers around a mysterious anarchist known as V, who seeks to overthrow the oppressive Norsefire government and bring freedom to the people of England. V is aided by Evey, a young woman whose life he saved, and together they embark on a mission to undermine the government, expose the truth behind its oppressive regime, and spark a revolution that will restore freedom to the people of Britain. Along the way, V and Evey come face to face with the powerful and sinister forces behind the government, and must fight for their survival in a terrifying game of cat and mouse. V for Vendetta is an intense, thrilling, and thought-provoking exploration of the power of freedom and the dangers of a totalitarian regime.

Z (1969)

Z
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Costa-Gavras, starring Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, François Périer
Rated M/PG

Z is a 1969 political drama film directed and co-written by Costa-Gavras, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The movie follows the assassination of a left-wing Greek politician, which is investigated by a magistrate who soon finds himself in over his head. The movie depicts the investigation, as well as the social and political climate of the time. It is an indictment of the Greek junta of the late 1960s, and makes the case for the rule of law and the importance of freedom of speech. It has become a classic of political cinema, and in 1999 was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The film won the 1969 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold
Rated Passed

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington tells the story of Jefferson Smith, a naive and inexperienced political idealist who is appointed to the United States Senate. He soon finds himself at odds with corrupt politicians, the spoils system, and the power of special interest groups. Obstacles mount as his honest attempts at reform are stymied at every turn. With the help of his Secretary, Clarissa Saunders, Smith rallies a small group of supporters in a dramatic filibuster to prevent a corrupt bill from passing. In the end, Smith's integrity and courage prevail and he is able to restore faith in the American political process.

In the Name of the Father (1993)

In the Name of the Father
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Jim Sheridan, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King
Rated R

In the Name of the Father is a 1993 drama directed by Jim Sheridan. It tells the true story of Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis), an innocent Irishman who is wrongfully convicted of an IRA bombing in London. With the help of his lawyer, Gareth Peirce (Emma Thompson), Gerry ultimately proves his innocence and exonerates the other wrongly convicted members of his family. The film follows Gerry's story from his arrest to his eventual release, highlighting the human cost of human injustice and the power of perseverance.

Gandhi (1982)

Gandhi
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Richard Attenborough, starring Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Rohini Hattangadi, Roshan Seth
Rated PG

Gandhi is a 1982 biographical drama film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the non-violent Indian independence movement against British rule. The film is directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Ben Kingsley in the title role. The film follows the life of Gandhi from his youth, when he was known as Mohandas, to the end of his life when he was killed by an assassin. Along the way, Gandhi is shown to be an advocate for nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. He leads a number of non-violent protests, including the Salt March, which is a march to the Arabian Sea in protest of the British tax on salt. Gandhi's actions lead to Indian independence, and he is seen as a major figure in the struggle for freedom. The film also highlights the personal struggles and mistakes that Gandhi made, as well as the friendship and support that he received from the people around him. The film ends with Gandhi's assassination, and his quote “My life is my message”.

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

The Battle of Algiers
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Gillo Pontecorvo, starring Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash
Rated Not Rated

The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war drama film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo about the Algerian struggle for independence from French colonial rule. Following the culmination of the Algerian Revolution in 1962, the film is set in the Algerian city of Algiers in the 1950s, during the height of the Algerian War of Independence. The film follows the story of an Algerian rebel group, the National Liberation Front (FLN), as they struggle to create an independent Algeria, using guerrilla tactics against the French forces occupying the country. Through a series of increasingly violent acts, the FLN wages a campaign of urban terrorism against the French, while the French attempt to maintain control through a series of increasingly repressive measures. As the struggle intensifies, the two sides become increasingly entrenched in their own positions, leading to a deadly stalemate.

Being There (1979)

Being There
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Hal Ashby, starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden
Rated PG

Being There stars Peter Sellers in an Academy Award-nominated performance as the simple-minded gardener, Chance. After the death of his wealthy employer, Chance is sent out into an unfamiliar world with no skills or understanding of the modern world. Through a series of chance encounters and misunderstandings, Chance is mistaken for a wise and powerful advisor to the President of the United States and other powerful figures. As his fame and influence grows, Chance finds himself in a situation far beyond his capabilities and must rely on luck and his own innocence to navigate the dangerous and unpredictable world of politics.

Fail Safe (1964)

Fail Safe
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Sidney Lumet, starring Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver, Dan O'Herlihy
Rated Approved

Fail Safe is a 1964 cold war suspense film directed by Sidney Lumet. The film follows a nuclear attack between the United States and the Soviet Union from the perspective of the US President and his advisors. A computer error in the command system causes the US to mistakenly send bombers to attack Moscow and the President is forced to attempt to recall the bombers and prevent the Soviets from retaliating. Tensions rise as the President and his advisors frantically try to defuse the situation, with both sides refusing to back down. In the end, the President makes a difficult decision to prevent a nuclear holocaust. Through its suspenseful plot and powerful performances, Fail Safe encapsulates the dangers of nuclear escalation and the ultimate responsibility of leadership.

JFK (1991)

JFK
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Oliver Stone, starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau
Rated R

JFK is a 1991 American political thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. The film examines the events leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and alleged cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner). Garrison investigates the possible involvement of the US government and its intelligence agencies in the assassination and his suspicions are met with resistance from the FBI, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Warren Commission. The film is based on Jim Garrison's investigations and Garrison's book On the Trail of the Assassins. The film also features a large ensemble cast including Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, Sissy Spacek, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Costner, and Tommy Lee Jones.

All the President's Men (1976)

All the President's Men
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alan J. Pakula, starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam
Rated PG

All the President’s Men is a 1976 American political thriller directed by Alan J. Pakula, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The film tells the story of two Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, as they uncover the Watergate scandal. It follows the investigation of the Nixon administration's involvement in the June 17, 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and the subsequent cover-up of the administration's involvement in the crime. With the help of an informant known only as "Deep Throat," Woodward and Bernstein are able to uncover the truth. The film stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein and features a supporting cast of supporting players including Jack Warden, Ned Beatty, Martin Balsam and Jason Robards. It was both a critical and commercial success, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning four.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From John Frankenheimer, starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury
Rated PG-13

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American political thriller directed by John Frankenheimer. The film follows the story of Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) and Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey). After returning home from the Korean War, Marco begins to experience strange occurrences, including a recurring dream in which he and Shaw are awarded a medal of honor by a group of mysterious men. Marco soon discovers a conspiracy involving Shaw and a group of Communist agents who have brainwashed him and programmed him to assassinate the presidential nominee of the United States. In order to stop this plot, Marco and his fellow veterans must race against time to save the United States from a dangerous fate.

The Conformist (1970)

The Conformist
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Bernardo Bertolucci, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio
Rated R

The Conformist is a 1970 Italian drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The film follows Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a weak-willed Italian man in the 1930s who is desperate to conform to the fascist ideals of his government. He agrees to assassinate an old professor, which plunges him into a spiral of moral crisis and personal conflict. Along the way, he falls in love with a young woman, Claudia (Dominique Sanda), while also engaging in a sadomasochistic relationship with his beautiful wife Giulia (Stefania Sandrelli). Marcello struggles to reconcile his desire to be part of the oppressive regime and his own inner demons, ultimately learning the hard way that conformity does not always bring happiness and peace.

Brazil (1985)

Brazil
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Terry Gilliam, starring Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond
Rated R

Brazil is a 1985 dystopian black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a bureaucrat in a dystopian, retro-futuristic society who constantly dreams of a mysterious woman and is eventually driven to rebellion against the oppressive government. Along the way, he encounters a series of strange characters, some of which help him and some of which hinder him in his quest for freedom. The film also stars Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm, and Michael Palin. The film won numerous awards, including two BAFTA awards and one Academy Award nomination. The film is considered to be one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time.

Seven Days in May (1964)

Seven Days in May
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner
Rated Approved

Seven Days in May is a 1964 political thriller directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Fredric March. The film is set in the fictional year of 1974, in which the United States is on the brink of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. A number of key figures in the government, led by General James Mattoon Scott (Lancaster), are suspicious that a new treaty designed to reduce tensions may be a ploy to surrender to the Soviets. When the President of the United States (March) decides to ratify the treaty, General Scott conspires to stage a military coup by enlisting the help of a cabal of like-minded military personnel. The President's loyal aide-de-camp (Douglas) learns of the plot and must move quickly to prevent a civil war that could lead to a nuclear catastrophe.

The Day of the Jackal (1973)

The Day of the Jackal
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Fred Zinnemann, starring Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair, Alan Badel
Rated PG

The Day of the Jackal is a thriller film directed by Fred Zinnemann in 1973. It is based on the novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth, and follows an anonymous British assassin referred to only as the “Jackal” as he attempts to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle. The film follows the Jackal throughout his meticulous preparations to carry out his mission, as the French government and police frantically try to stop him. The film stars Edward Fox as the Jackal, and Michael Lonsdale as the police inspector who desperately tries to track him down before it is too late. In the end, the Jackal is able to complete his mission despite being foiled several times, but is ultimately foiled by an unexpected act of heroism. The film was a critical and commercial success, and has since become a classic in the thriller genre.

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Mississippi Burning
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Alan Parker, starring Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif
Rated R

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 drama film directed by Alan Parker and starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe. The film is set in the fictional town of Jessup, Mississippi in 1964. It tells the story of two FBI agents, Rupert Anderson and Alan Ward, who are sent to Jessup to investigate the disappearance of three civil rights workers. As they investigate, they uncover a web of corruption and hatred that local officials, law enforcement, and the Klan have woven around the town. As the two men search for the missing men, they come to realize that the small town of Jessup is a boiling cauldron of prejudice, violence, and intimidation. With the help of local African-American citizens, the agents are able to break through the web of lies and uncover the truth behind the disappearance of the three civil rights workers. In the end, the agents succeed in bringing justice to the town but not without a cost. Mississippi Burning is a powerful drama that explores racism and civil rights in the deep south during the 1960s.

The Killing Fields (1984)

The Killing Fields
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Roland Joffé, starring Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands
Rated R

The Killing Fields is a 1984 film directed by Roland Joffé, based on the true story of Cambodian-American journalist Sydney Schanberg and his Cambodian interpreter and friend Dith Pran during the Khmer Rouge regime. Schanberg and Pran become separated during the chaotic evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1975, with Schanberg returning to the United States and Pran left behind. Schanberg continues to try to locate his friend, as Pran struggles to survive in the brutal labor camps of the Khmer Rouge. The film follows the two men's struggle against the oppressive regime, as they both attempt to survive and reunite. Ultimately, Schanberg and Pran are reunited in 1980, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. The film is a powerful and emotional story of friendship, courage, and survival against overwhelming odds.

Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Spike Lee, starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee
Rated PG-13

Malcolm X is a biographical drama about the life of African American activist Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee. Starting in his childhood, the film follows him as he grows up in poverty, joins the Nation of Islam, and eventually begins preaching a message of black pride and self-determination. Along the way, he changes his name, goes on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and becomes a leader of the civil rights movement. Ultimately, he is assassinated in 1965. The film examines Malcolm's complex journey, exploring themes such as racism, identity, and the struggle for civil rights.

The Last Emperor (1987)

The Last Emperor
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Bernardo Bertolucci, starring John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying
Rated PG-13

The Last Emperor is an Academy Award-winning epic historical drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring John Lone. The film tells the story of the life of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, from his ascension to the throne at the age of three in 1908, through his years as emperor and his eventual exile and imprisonment as a commoner in the 1950s. Along the way, Pu Yi learns of life outside the imperial court, and develops a more realistic view of his role in history. The film examines the effects of power and privilege on an individual, and how the transition from power to powerless can be a difficult one. The film also explores the themes of cultural identity and the struggle between tradition and modernity.

Frost/Nixon (2008)

Frost/Nixon
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Ron Howard, starring Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell
Rated R

Frost/Nixon is a 2008 drama film directed by Ron Howard, based on the play of the same name. The film tells the story of the 1977 television interviews between British journalist David Frost and former U.S. President Richard Nixon, which were watched by over 45 million people in the U.S. alone and were a turning point in Nixon's life. Frost is portrayed as a cunning, ambitious and eager journalist, who is out to secure an exclusive interview with Nixon to launch his career. Nixon is portrayed as a broken and isolated man who is willing to go to any lengths to salvage his reputation. Frost, determined to gain access to Nixon, prepares a series of interviews with the former President. As the interviews continue, Frost gains increased confidence and insight into the inner workings of Nixon's mind. Frost and Nixon ultimately reach an agreement for a series of four interviews. The interviews prove to be a dramatic and highly charged event with both Frost and Nixon trying to gain the upper hand. As the interviews progress, Nixon reveals more of his regrets and his deep-seated guilt. The interviews culminate in an emotional and confrontational exchange in which Frost forces Nixon to apologize to the American people for his role in the Watergate scandal

Missing (1982)

Missing
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Costa-Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea
Rated PG

Missing is a 1982 American-French drama film directed by Costa-Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. The film is based on the true story of American journalist and activist Charles Horman, who went missing in the aftermath of the American-backed coup d'état in 1973 in Chile. The film follows the journey of Charles' father, Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon), and his wife, Beth (Sissy Spacek), to find the truth behind the disappearance of their son. Through their investigation, they uncover a tangled web of political deceit, corruption, and murderous lies, as they realize the US State Department had been complicit in Charles' disappearance. The film is a powerful indictment of the US government, as well as a gripping drama about a family's struggle to find justice. Missing won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1983, as well as several other awards.

 



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