The Best 100 Movies about Politics (under construction)
9.61/10 (79th viewing)
"When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow!"
The greatest movie about politics, ever! The first time I saw it, I remember I couldn't stop replaying it. I must have seen it more than four times on the same day. Top-notch acting by almost everyone involved: Jason Robards is terrific, Hoffman and Redford are the epitome of the idealist journalist, and the rest of the cast play their roles flawlessly. The setting is so realistic that the viewer feels the anxiety and the passion of the journalists as their own. The reality of American politics is slowly disclosed in all its ruthlessness and corruption. A must-see. ” - Ioannis111
8.95/10 (14th viewing)
Superb, feel-good movie about american politics, a movie that never bores the viewer, as it is exciting from beginning to end. James Stewart is brilliant as the young senator who fights against political corruption. ” - Ioannis111
8.55/10 (77th viewing)
"Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." ("conditioned" Major Ben Marco)
"I was loveable. Jocie was loveable. The Senator was loveable. The days were loveable, the nights were loveable. And everybody was loveable. Except, of course, my mother." (Raymond Shaw)
"You are to shoot the presidential nominee through the head, and Johnny will rise gallantly to his feet and lift Ben Arthur's body in his arms, stand in front of the microphones and begin to speak. The speech is short. But it's the most rousing speech I've ever read. It's been worked on here and in Russia on and off, for over eight years. I shall force someone to take the body away from him. Then Johnny will really hit those microphones and those cameras, with blood all over him, fighting off anyone who tries to help, defending America even if it means his own death! Rallying a nation of television viewers into hysteria, to sweep us up into the White House with powers that will make martial law seem like anarchy!" (Mother Iselin to her son!)
Political paranoia at its scariest: acts of conditioning minds in the era of Cold War! Almost perfect film, superior acting by the big three: Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey, Janet Leigh; but the best of all is Angela Lansbury as Raymond Shaw's power-mad mother (nominated for Oscar and won Golden Globe) - even the most blood-thirsty Hollywood monster pales in comparison to her evil mind. A flim to be seen again and again. ” - Ioannis111
8.51/9 (17th viewing)
"US President: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
Chance: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
US President: In the garden.
Chance: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
US President: Spring and summer.
US President: Then fall and winter.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
US President: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that this is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time. I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill."
A masterpiece. Sellers' legendary performance and Hal Ashby's magisterial direction make this movie a memorable one. It shows us how a stupid person can look and sound profound in a political context, a context that dies for "refreshing" ideas, even if these are empty of meaning. It also makes apparent the lightness of human existence, that life does not really require much thought and energy. This is a hilarious movie, but also a milestone of American cinema. ” - Ioannis111
8.25/10 (5th viewing)
"Strength through Disclipine, Strength through Community, Strength through Action!" (the motto of the Wave)
"Fascism isn't something those other people did, it's right here in all of us."
Scary! A teacher's 'experimental' answer to his students' question: "How could the [non-Nazi] Germans do nothing as millions of innocent humand beings were being murdered? How could they claim they weren't involved?" One of the best TV movies about politics ever made. ” - Ioannis111
8.15/10 (15th viewing)
"Brothers and sisters, I am here to tell you that I charge the white man. I charge the white man with being the greatest murderer on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest kidnapper on earth. There is no place in this world that this man can go and say he created peace and harmony. Everywhere he's gone he's created havoc. Everywhere he's gone he's created destruction. So I charge him. I charge him with being the greatest kidnapper on this earth! I charge him with being the greatest murderer on this earth! I charge him with being the greatest robber and enslaver on this earth! I charge the white man with being the greatest swine-eater on this earth. The greatest drunkard on this earth! He can't deny the charges! You can't deny the charges! We're the living proof of those charges! You and I are the proof. You're not an American, you are the victim of America. You didn't have a choice coming over here. He didn't say, 'black man, black woman, come on over and help me build America'. He said, 'get down in the bottom of that boat and I'm taking you over there to help me build America'. Being born here does not make you an American. I am not an American, you are not an American. You are one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of America. You and I, we've never seen any democracy. We didn't see any democracy on the cotton fields of Georgia, wasn't no democracy down there. We didn't see any democracy. We didn't see any democracy on the streets of Harlem or on the streets of Brooklyn or on the streets of Detroit or Chicago. Ain't no democracy down there. No, we've never seem democracy! All we've seen is hypocrisy! We don't see any American Dream. We've experienced only the American Nightmare!" (Malcolm X)
Overly long, but exciting biopic. Denzel Washington's performance is undoubtedly the best of his career. He successfully brings forth the contradictions in Malcolm X's ideology, his genuine agony about the situation of black people in America and the humane character of his personality. The documentary scenes embedded in the film do not disrupt its narrative, but enforce it instead. Some of the pop elements we encounter in the movie - clearly a personal choice of director Spike Lee - could be avoided and some of the songs chosen do not fit it entirely. The greatest virtue of the film is its giving plenty of cinematic space to spirituality, the ideas that generated and maintained Malcolm X's actions. Indeed, the two most enjoyable parts of the movie are (a) the first rebirth of Malcolm while being in prison through the teachings of Elaija Mohammed and (b) his second rebirth during and after his visit to Mecca and the other holy places. This is a demanding movie and requires multiple viewings, but at the end of the day is - hands down - a monumental achievement in the history of cinema. ” - Ioannis111
8.13/10 (2nd viewing) ” - Ioannis111
8.10/10 (7th viewing) ” - Ioannis111
7.53/10 (1st viewing) ” - Ioannis111
7.51/10 (2nd viewing)
"Imagine a great dungeon in the shape of a cave. Inside, men who have lived there since childhood, all chained, and forced to face the back of the cave. Behind them, far away, the light from a fire flickers. Between the fire and the prisoners, imagine a low wall, similar to that little stage on which a puppeteer shows his puppets. [...] Now try and imagine some other men passing behind that little wall bearing statues made of wood and stone. The statues are higher than that wall. [The prisoners] see only the shadows the fire makes on the back of the cavern that faces them. Shadows. The reflections of things. Like what's happening to you people now in Italy. Say those prisoners were at liberty and could speak out. Mightn't they call the shadows they see reality, not visions? Yes, they would mistake for reality the shadows of reality."
Visually stunning, hypnotic film about fascism. The story is not as deep as one may have expected and there is some shallow acting, but there are moments of intellectual epiphany (such as the reference to Plato's Myth of the Cave in the Republic). The reason to see this film again and again is its aesthetics, from the photography to the score to the direction to the eroticism of the female protagonists. Thus, it has indeed been correctly stated that "Il Conformista" can be understood both as a study in politics and as a study in beauty. In fact, it may be the case that Bertolucci wanted to suggest some deeper, underlying connection between these two elements of human existence. ” - Ioannis111
Not for everyone, "systematic", movie. It all makes sense at the end. Clever script and haunting atmosphere. You'll continue thinking about it days after you have seen it. ” - Ioannis111
"He's not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe, they're not the enemy. The enemy is an age. A nuclear age. It happens to have killed man's faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness. A sickness of frustration. A feeling of impotence, helplessness, weakness. And from this, this desperation, we look for a champion in red, white and blue. Every now and then a man on a white horse rides by and we appoint him to be our personal god for the duration. For some men it was a senator McCarthy. For others it was a General Walker. Now it's a General Scott."
Solid, perfectly ensembled (Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Martin Balsam) account of an attempted junta in the USA in the age of Cold War. Full of suspense, great score and very thoughtful. Black and white. See it! It will blow your mind! ” - Ioannis111
The true face of socialism in full disclosure. Brilliant movie. Excellent acting by Ulrich Mühe and Sebastian Koch (not perfect by Martina Gedeck). Won Oscar (best foreign language film). It raises significant questions concerning the implementation of communist/socialist theory. Individuality appears as the enemy of a superbly organized government whose highest aim is "to know everything". It makes us think about the possibility of a "proper" communist state - could that become a reality after all the failures? What would then be the value of communist theory? Would it be only an ideological whim - or maybe only a power of opposition? This is a film that not even for a moment bores the reader. Excellent structure, excellent direction, excellent story, excellent depiction of a historical period and of certain "world". Highly recommended - it might be placed in the Top 10 in the future. ” - Ioannis111
"JUDGE: But why do you use a phrase like 'black is beautiful'?
BIKO: Because black is commonly associated with negatives - the black market, the black sheep of the family, anything which is supposed to be bad.
JUDGE: Then why do you use the word? Why call yourselves black? I mean, you people are more brown than black.
BIKO: Why do you call yourselves white? You people are more pink than white.
JUDGE (smiling): Precisely..."
I think the most fitting attribute for this movie is ... "solid." It tells us two stories in one go, the story of the last days of Steve Biko, the legendary black South African civil rights activist, and the story of Donald Woods, the white South African journalist who risked his life and the life of his family in order to tell the story of Biko to the wider world. The film is divided by Biko's funeral. What comes before is dominated by Denzel Washington's amazing performance in the role of Steve Biko, and the involving depiction of the atmosphere of fear and oppression that characterized South Africa at that time. What comes after the funeral is more of an action movie, the telling of the adventure Woods has in his attempt to escape from the banning the South African regime imposed upon him and reach England, where he would be able to publish the real story of Biko's life and work. This is a solid, enjoyable, and thoughtful movie. Highly recommended. ” - Ioannis111
"The old for her
The new that made me think
On Ireland dearly
While soft the wind
Blew down the glen
And shook the golden barley
Twas hard the woeful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us
But harder still to bear the shame
Of foreign chains around us
And so I said the mountain glen
I'll seek at morning early
While soft the wind blew down the glen
And shook the golden barley."
An excellent film about the brutality of the English in Ireland and how their evil destroyed the harmony of the Irish family and community. It is indeed beyond our comprehension why the English imperialists thought they had the right to behave in such a way to other people (Irish, Indian, Cypriot, etc.). A highly recommended film, especially to the English journalists, such as Simon Heffer, Dominic Lawson and Michael Gove, who buried the film as a political propaganda and accused director Ken Loach as a traitor! Excellent depiction of the circumstances that gave rise to the formation of I.R.A. A sad and brutal film. ” - Ioannis111
Oskar: "I prefer to see myself as one of the audience...and let my modest artistry blossom in secret!"
Bebra: "My dear Oskar. Believe a more experienced colleague...Our sort must never be the audience. We must perform, determine the action..., otherwise the others will run us. And the others will come. They will occupy the fairground, with torchlight processions, grandstands, and there they'll preach our downfall."
Extraordinary film, unique cinematic experience. (But by no means a flawless film.) It builds slowly from a satyrical non-political beginning to the terrifying essence of Nazi Germany. The protagonist, Oskar Matzerath, a boy that stopped growing when he was three, is the pariah of the system, the unfitting observer of an irrational behaviour, a behaviour governed by the pompous, up-lifting rhetoric of the Nazi Generals. Constantly comical - it generates genuine laughter (the proud parade that degenerates into a vals dance is of particular mention). But there are also horrifying moments, both in literal contexts (e.g. we see a man getting sea eels from a dead horse's head and then preparing a meal out of them) and in psychological/historical ones (e.g. we witness the gradual social alienation of Poles and Jews and the burning of their properties by the Nazis). Based on a book by the Nobel prizer Gunter Grass.
WINS: Oscar (best foreign language film), Japanese academy (best foreign language film), Blue Ribbon (best foreign language film), Cannes (Palm d'Or), Bodil Awards (best European film) ” - Ioannis111
Scary, intelligent, well-directed and brilliantly acted "green" political thriller. A hugely underrated film, which engages the viewer from beginning to end. Highly recommended. ” - Ioannis111
Key ideas: AMERICAN POLITICS, COMEDY, IMAGINARY, ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS, INFIDELITY, ROMANCE
"REED: Dave, have you ever driven through a red light? You know...on an empty road when there's nobody around and you know it's safe?
DAVE: I'm not sure. I might have.
REED: Well, let's say your mother is in the car and you have to get her to the hospital. You'd do it then for sure, wouldn't you?
DAVE: Yes, I guess I would.
REED: Now, let's say the whole country is in the car. The entire United States of America.
DAVE: In the car?
REED: In the car.
DAVE: I see what you mean.
REED: Dave, the country is sick ...
ALEXANDER: ... and you're going to get it to the hospital."
Really funny political comedy. Nominated for Oscar. Highly recommended. ” - Ioannis111
"'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.' No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that Congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We walk not in fear, one or another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend the causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the results. We proclaim ourselves, indeed as we are, the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right. 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.'"
Black-and-white depiction of the collision between the CBS journalist Edward Murrow and U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy. Nominated for six Oscars. Excellent Jazz score. Documentary footage. Not a thrilling film, but a serious account of the "paranoia" of a certain age, the age of McCarthyism. Excellent acting and direction. Somewhat propagandistic, though (leftist propaganda), but the film does capture successfully a moment in time. Nice portrait of Murrow, the ethical, humanist, hard-working journalist. Not recommended for group viewing. Not recommended for repeated viewings. ” - Ioannis111
"Any resemblance to actual events, to persons living or dead, is not the result of chance. It is DELIBERATE."
Peculiar brave film, filled with grey, blue and brown colours, reminiscent of greek movies of the same period. Greek music on the background (by Theodorakis, who wrote the music from house arrest in Greece - it was smuggled out to be placed on the film). Excellent cast (Papas, Montand, Trintignant). It tells the real-life story of the assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in May 1963 - but without ever mentioning his name. Clearly the film is meant to criticise the fascist leadership of the Greek Junta, who exercised considerable violence against all "reactionaries" (including pacifist politicians such as "Z"). It is not a flawless film - somewhat theatrical at times (referring to both the setting and the acting) and unbalanced with respect to the union of all its elements (music, action, memory flashes). But it is a film that stays with you for months after you've seen it - and this says a lot about its quality. The violence of fascism is deeply felt by the viewer - and the atmosphere of hatred against political reaction couldn't be more haunting. This is a hymn to political freedom and a relentless critique of the hypocrisy and corruption of politicians of any place and age. Based on a book with the same title by prominent Greek author Vasilis Vasilikos. The film was banned in Greece for many years.
OSCAR WINS (2): best film editing, best foreign language film.
OSCAR NOMINATIONS (3): best director, best picture, best screenplay based on another medium
OTHER WINS: BAFTA (Theodorakis), Cannes (best actor for Trintignant, Jury Prize for Gavras), Golden Globe (best foreign language film), New York Film Critics Circle Award (best director, best film) ” - Ioannis111
"President Andrew Shepherd: You have concerns?
Sydney Ellen Wade: Yes. Not many. A few. One. I have one concern.
President Andrew Shepherd: This wouldn't have to do with the fact that one of us is president?"
Typical "American president" movie, full of cliches, but also quite enjoyable. A family movie. Well-known actors: Douglas, Sheen, Fox, Bening, Dreyfuss. A more appropriate title: "The American President's Girlfriend". Easily forgotten, but brainless attention guaranteed. Oscar nominated for its music (unbelievable!). ” - Ioannis111
Bad, bad movie... ” - Ioannis111
The worst political movie ever? Most probably... ” - Ioannis111