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The Fix's list of the best political movies ever

Following our list of the best political books -- fiction and non fiction -- there was a demand from Fixistas to put together a similar list of the best political movies.

We asked for your suggestions -- and you, as always, responded.

The two leading vote-getters were "The Candidate", the 1972 film starring Robert Redford and 1992's "Bob Roberts" with Tim Robbins in the lead role. (We are partial to the latter film due to all of the hilarious Bob Dylan's references contained therein.)

Among documentaries "Street Fight", which detailed the epic 2002 Newark mayoral race between Sharpe James and Cory Booker was the clear favorite.

The full list, which was culled from emails, tweets and comments from the Fix community, is after the jump. What did we miss? Add any missing movies in the comments section below.

Absolute Power
Advise and Consent
All the King's Men
All the President's Men
The American President
Being There
The Best Man
Blaze
Bob Roberts
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
Bulworth
The Candidate
Charlie Wilson's War
The Contender
Dave
The Distinguished Gentleman
Dr. Strangelove
Duck Soup
Election
Frost/Nixon
In the Loop
Journeys with George
The Man who Shot Liberty Valance
The Manchurian Candidate
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
My Fellow Americans
Nashville
Nixon
O Brother, Where Art Thou
Our Brand Is Crisis
A Perfect Candidate
Power
Primary Colors
Recount
Seven Days in May
State of the Union
Street Fight
Taking on the Kennedys
Thirteen Days
Thank you for Smoking
True Colors
Truman
Vote for Me
Wag the Dog
The War Room

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 4, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Comments

The President's Analyst is a 1967 satirical comedy film written and directed by Theodore J. Flicker, starring James Coburn.

Posted by: WoodbridgeVa1 | March 11, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking... maybe you should add Predator to this list. After all, it features two governors and a gubernatorial candidate.

Posted by: michellep1 | March 9, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD wrote: "Mark, I think that one is called Dick. Is that the one where Woodward and Bernstein are portrayed as bumbling idiots? Will Ferrell is one of them?"

That was Carl Bernstein playing Carl Bernstein. He really is a bumbling idiot.

Posted by: JBaustian | March 6, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Chris Chris:

You TOTALLY missed "City Hall".

Pacino. Standing behind the coffin. Speech.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoyxeaBguTk

Amazing.

Posted by: arranindc | March 6, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

This is merely a list. Put some work into anything which proclaims itself a best of.

Posted by: melange1 | March 6, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

JimBurleighSmith true those two films belong on the list (but lets face it, as long as Election and a few others are on the list, we know this is not serious anyway) and stek1,

Thank You

I saved your post and I am going to order up some rainy evening movies.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 5, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Best American politics documentaries:

Primary (1960) -- A classic. Drew Associates go behind the scenes for the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic primary.

The Campaign (around 1981) -- Peter Davis (“Hearts and Minds”) made this film about a Mayor’s election in Muncie, Indiana as part of his PBS ‘Middletown’ series.

Huey Long (1983) -- Ken Burns’ classic bio of the Louisiana Kingfish.

So You Want to be President (1985) -- Amazing behind the scene access to Gary Hart’s ill fated ‘85 campaign for President. Produced for PBS’s Frontline by Sherry Jones.

LBJ (1991) -- David Grubin’s four hour bio of Johnson, for PBS’s The American Experience..

Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics (1991) -- About the Bayou States’ unique political culture. Aired on PBS’s POV series.

The War Room (1993) -- Behind the scenes in the Clinton campaign with James and George.

The Perfect Candidate (1995) -- Robb v.s. North, with North’s unhinged consultant as the star

Vote for Me: Politics in America (1996) -- Four hour film about politics at the grassroots across the country, including a last hour and a half about a woman, with no political experience, running for congress in western N.C. (‘The Political Education of Maggie Lauterer’). Emmy and Peabody award winner

George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire (2000) -- Bio of the Alabama Governor and four time presidential candidate. Aired on The American Experience, award winner at Sundance.

Journeys with George (2002) -- Alexandra Pelosi on the bus with W.

Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style (2004) -- About Texas and a race for state Rep in LBJ’s home district. Aired on PBS’s POV series.

Street Fight (2005) -- Cory Booker’s first mayoral race documented by Marshall Curry

Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? -- Congressional race in St. Louis, by Frank Popper.

Boogie Man (2008) -- Bio of Lee Atwater

Posted by: stek1 | March 5, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody ever read any subtitles?

Costa-Gravos directed the 1970 Best Picture nominee: "Z" about the Greek military junta.

In 1967 "The Battle of Algiers" was Oscar nominated for Screenplay, Direction, and Foreign Language Film.

Politics is known to occur in non-English speaking countries.

Posted by: JimBurleighSmith | March 5, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone explain why the idiotic teen sexploitation movie Election is on the list of the best political films ever? Let me guess, someone looked and the title and figured, why not?

Well here is one reason why not, a sentence from a review...

"I also thought the sexual repression stuff was obvious and overdone, especially when Broderick sees and hears Tracy when he's making love. We got that already."

Posted by: shrink2 | March 5, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The Last Hurrah - A great book and movie (with Spencer Tracy

Posted by: chrissmoot | March 5, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

You need to see "King of Steeltown," a documentary on the last machine in politics. It's a great view.

Posted by: mikeedmondson | March 5, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Great List!

Thanks for listing some that I've missed.

I would like to add "Three Days of the Condor" as an example of the excesses that are possible when perceived pragmatism by a few "true believers" in the executive branch trumps constitutional principles. You even get a shout out to the publishing of the Pentagon Papers.

Posted by: nomorelesmiles | March 5, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

scrivener50, my guess would be that "Enemy of the State" was excluded because it is first and foremost an action movie rather than a political movie. You can draw political parallels from it, sure, but you can do that with any movie -- remember when people were saying "The Dark Knight" was a defense of the Bush administration?

Posted by: GJonahJameson | March 5, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I see CC rejected my nomination of "Enemy of the State" as the most prescient political movie of the times. Made in 1998, it foreshadows the diminution of politics and the rise of the authoritarian Security State.

Rent the DVD, then contemplate the reality of an evil shadow government -- one that the groomed and conditioned national press corps naively (or willingly) ignores:

REGIONAL HOMELAND-RUN 'FUSION CENTERS' USE SECRET MICROWAVE/LASER CELL TOWER 'DIRECTED ENERGY' WEAPON SYSTEM TO TORTURE, IMPAIR, 'SLOW-KILL' AMERICANS: JOURNALIST VICTOR LIVINGSTON

Veteran mainstream media reporter asks the question the national press corps won't:

"How much longer will the Obama security team cover up and continue Bush-Cheney program atrocities?"

JOURNALIST/VICTIM'S FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF U.S. GOV'T TORTURE:

See "comments" section:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-govt-uses-cbs-news-cover-microwave-cell-tower-torture?

OR: http://poynter.org/subject.asp?id=2 ("articles" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 5, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Everyone missed a classic...
"The Last Hurrah" starring Spencer Tracy. It is absolutely the BEST old-time politics movie every made. Reminds of a time when there may have been bosses...but things got done.

Posted by: gravesbrian19 | March 4, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

37th and O,

Um, did you miss the part about this being a thread on best political movies?

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | March 4, 2010 6:27 PM

Mr Cillizza, give him a break. At least he's not doing double and triple posts.

By the way, I think you do a terrific job and should run for office. You have my vote. But I want you to pose for Cosmo wearing only a tie. It could be the one that JakeD commented on a while back. That's OK. I'm a Rick Perry supporter too and I emailed him asking if he would pose for Cosmo in cowboy boots. I haven't heard anything yet.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | March 4, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

And although this one is just a few seconds long, what political movie has ever said as much as this short clip?

http://i414.photobucket.com/albums/pp222/frprmrb/Board/DownTheHole.gif

Posted by: SuzyCcup | March 4, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I still say no political movie can top this one.

http://imaksim.com/images/three_500.jpg

Posted by: SuzyCcup | March 4, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

How is "Truman" a political movie? It is a fantasy about a man in a bubble world.

Ddawd, thanx. Yes, Ferrell played Woodward. Dan Hedaya [sp?] was very funny as Nixon.

HBO's "John Adams"

"Abe Lincoln in Illinois" from the Sherwood play with Raymond Massey as Lincoln.

If we go to world politics there are so many more. Perhaps we should have a separate category.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I liked "No Way Out" but that is fictional - but it has the Pentagon on lock-down while they search for the killer.


OH Wait, that is today.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 4, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Aprogressiveindependent

Another vote for

King of Hearts?

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

All or nearly all of these are American films. I suppose this is another example of American exceptionalism, whereby the rest of the world is not deemed worthy of being included.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | March 4, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

"As always, one person's ability to focus their entire being around one single issue amazes me."

Posted by: johnsda

Yeah, not only that, you play your cards right, you get paid to get amazed!

Psychiatry has always seemed too good to be true. Sadly, everyone has to put up with bat sheet crazy, but, so long as the hours are billable, some people get paid. How did that happen? When people tell me they could never do my job, I just have to laugh. We all do my job.


Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

37th and O,

Um, did you miss the part about this being a thread on best political movies?

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | March 4, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

How about Inherit the Wind

Posted by: blarson3 | March 4, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama said in front of Congress - that the health care bill would not change the abortion law.


See pages 2069-2078 of the Senate health care bill.


Obama said that illegal aliens would not be able to buy insurance under the bill


They can


Obama said that the bill was "fully paid for"


ONLY IF YOU ARE IN THE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT AT ENRON.


Obama LIED


Obama LIED


Obama LIED


.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 4, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Being There - great Wilco record as well.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

All,

Thanks for the suggestions. Have added "Being There" and "The War Room" -- two huge oversights -- to the list.

Keep the (serious) suggestions coming.

Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | March 4, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The Impeachment of Obama - 2011 Warner Brothers.

In the screenplay, Chris Matthews realizes that it was really a rat crawling up his leg when he said he felt shivers.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 4, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I think that one is called Dick. Is that the one where Woodward and Bernstein are portrayed as bumbling idiots? Will Ferrell is one of them?

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Chauncey Gardiner and Ronald Reagan had a lot in common and I mean that in a good way. Naw, just kidding.

He was the first Forrest Gump.

[Riding in a car for the first time]
Chance the Gardener: This is just like television, only you can see much further.

[With other poor black seniors, watching Chance on TV]

Louise: It's for sure a white man's world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th' ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0078841/quotes

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Despite being a made for TV movie, "The Missiles of October" is better than a lot of listed films. Though nowhere as good, "Thirteen Days" does deserve a spot on the list.

Posted by: littledirt | March 4, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I am saddened to see that I'm apparently the only person who enjoyed "The Distinguished Gentleman."

Also, Fix, I'm sure you saw and loved HBO's "The Nine Lives of Marion Berry." And what about "The War Room?"

GDK in Arkansas

Posted by: GmanBlue | March 4, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse


The Silencing of 37th - 2011 Warner Brothers.

.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | March 4, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Not having Being There on this list is a travesty. Possibly the best political movie of all time, especially considering all the recent talk of "green shoots" in the economy.

Posted by: bfgpollara | March 4, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The Impeachment of Obama - 2011 Warner Brothers.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 4, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

what happened to clockwork orange? It is a perfect explanation of the perils of big government and how they never admit mistakes and just blunder onward.

Posted by: drivl | March 4, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"By Dawn's Early Light" was a HBO movie produced in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Martin Landeau plays the President who was mistakenly believed to be dead in a first round of a nuclear war with the USSR and China. The Secretary of Interior becomes President and the military is split on who is the real president. Very good movie about command and control and line of succession.

Posted by: rogden71 | March 4, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

What was the name of the comedy where high school girls made MJ laced brownies and Nixon and Brezhnev
come to terms? Is it on the list?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"...am glad to see the other great Sellers film made the list. Kudos for picking Election. That is a TERRIFIC film."

Heh, heh, yeah, that must be a generational thing. Maybe CC kissed her for the first time watching Election, who knows. You, ahem, were joking...I hope.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thirteen Days starring Kevin Costner about the Bay of Pigs invasion and nuclear tension between U.S. and Cuba

Posted by: psycnout | March 4, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thirteen Days (about the Cuban Missle Crisis) was good. Invictus, about Nelson Mandela was also great. Does it need to be about American politics?

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Mark, it was Frost/Nixon. Excellent movie. The Nixon portrayal was Oscar worthy (was nominated)

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Best political line in a movie was in Ghostbuster, as said by Bill Murray: "But if we're right, Lenny, you will have saved the lives...of millions...of registered voters." (said as the Archbishop approvingly nods).

Posted by: eltigre5 | March 4, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Finally came up with one that wasn't on the list and wasn't contemptible crap (like "Head of State"): "Canadian Bacon." I know it's basically a poor man's "Wag the Dog," but you can't go wrong with John Candy. Don't tell anyone Michael Moore directed it, though; he can be funny when he's not being a pompous jackass, I swear.

Has The Fix ever done "best fictional president (or politician)?" That would get some entertaining responses. I vote for Richard Nixon's head in a jar. Or if he doesn't count, George Sears. "My fellow Americans ... DAMN THE PATRIOTS!"

Posted by: GJonahJameson | March 4, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Sebelius also told ABC's "Good Morning America" that there will be no federal funding for abortion.

This bill does not change the status quo on abortion, she said."


______________________________


This is a COMPLETE LIE BY OBAMA'S PEOPLE


LOOK AT PAGES 2069-2078 OF THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL.


Obama is a LIAR.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I was pulling for Being There, but am glad to see the other great Sellers film made the list. Kudos for picking Election. That is a TERRIFIC film.

There's several that I don't think should be on the list. The Contender was a liberal fantasy. There is no way that the VP nominee portrayed in the film was ever a Republican. And, once again, vile Republicans as villains. Still, the president in that film was a good character.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@37thandOstreet: Way to stick to the topic at hand! As always, one person's ability to focus their entire being around one single issue amazes me.

Posted by: johnsda | March 4, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey, someone else enjoyed "My Fellow Americans!" OK, so it was less of a political movie than a straight-up comedy, but I still thought it was hilarious. And despite explicitly stating that the two leads were members of the two major political parties -- instead of skating around it like a lot of movies and TV shows do -- it went out of its way not to portray one as being better than the other. It did make the both of them look like shallow morons on occasion, but hey, it was a comedy.

The only quibble: If Wilford Brimley really were chairman of the Democratic Party, no one would ever vote Republican, out of fear of incurring the Wrath of Brimley.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | March 4, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

My late Uncle, who was a presidential advisor, played one in "Being There". Thanks, Shrink.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Here is a link to the SB as passed.

http://democrats.senate.gov/reform/patient-protection-affordable-care-act-as-passed.pdf

You can scroll to the pages cited by StreetCorner, where if you can read a statute you will see that the Hyde Amendment is in place. Any abortion for which federal funds are now prohibited will not b3e eligible for federal funds under the SB. Any abortion for which federal funds may be expended now are also unaffected. The Hyde Amendment is in place and this bill is not in derogation of it.

Please do not take my word for it: thank StreetCorner for the page citation and use the link to read it for yourself.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The Distinguished Gentleman

Posted by: ericp331 | March 4, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Being There

It has to make the list!

King of Hearts

Perhaps.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Best Fiction-
An Inconvenient Truth...E-Gore

Posted by: leapin | March 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"Frost and Nixon", or was it "Nixon and Frost"?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Air Force One

Posted by: kimsueloo | March 4, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Sebelius also told ABC's "Good Morning America" that there will be no federal funding for abortion.

This bill does not change the status quo on abortion, she said."


______________________________


This is a COMPLETE LIE BY OBAMA'S PEOPLE


LOOK AT PAGES 2069-2078 OF THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL.


Obama is a LIAR.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | March 4, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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