25 Top Political Films

25 films all poli-sci students need to watch while procrastinating a paper. Not just politically related, but politics and policy are central to the themes and plots. Almost better than a real political science degree. Films are listed in no particular order.
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1.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara. (107 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
2.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
3.
In the Loop (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A political satire about a group of skeptical American and British operatives attempting to prevent a war between two countries. (106 mins.)
 
4.
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage. (120 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
 
5.
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
6.
Thirteen Days (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A dramatization and a fictionalized account of the Kennedy administration's struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. (145 mins.)
Director: Roger Donaldson
 
7.
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects. (102 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
 
8.
Shake Hands with the Devil (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of General Romeo Dallaire's frustrated efforts to stop the madness of the Rwandan Genocide, despite the complete indifference of his superiors. (112 mins.)
 
9.
The Killing Fields (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody 'Year Zero' cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million 'undesirable' civilians. (141 mins.)
Director: Roland Joffé
 
10.
The Ides of March (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. (101 mins.)
Director: George Clooney
 
11.
Nuremberg (2000 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The dramatized account of the war crime trials following the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. (180 mins.)
 
12.
All the President's Men (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation. (138 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
 
13.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
 
14.
Wag the Dog (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a presidential sex scandal. (97 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
 
15.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. (216 mins.)
Director: David Lean
 
16.
Restrepo (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A year with one platoon in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. (93 mins.)
 
17.
The Good Shepherd (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man's life. (167 mins.)
Director: Robert De Niro
 
18.
Reporter (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Journalist Nicholas Kristof travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the growing humanitarian crisis. (90 mins.)
 
19.
Advise & Consent (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well. (139 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
20.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. (129 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
21.
The Crucible (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A Salem resident attempts to frame her ex-lover's wife for being a witch in the middle of the 1692 witchcraft trials. (124 mins.)
Director: Nicholas Hytner
 
22.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate. (202 mins.)
 
23.
Duck Soup (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale. (68 mins.)
Director: Leo McCarey
 
24.
Thank You for Smoking (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son. (92 mins.)
Director: Jason Reitman
 
25.
Gandhi (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed. (191 mins.)