Top 25 Political Thrillers

by mmaygan-1 | created - 14 Apr 2011 | updated - 14 Apr 2011 | Public
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1. The Conversation (1974)

PG | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

86 Metascore

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple, on whom he is spying, will be murdered.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 82,737 | Gross: $4.42M

2. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

PG-13 | 126 min | Drama, Thriller

94 Metascore

A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 65,375

3. Z (1969)

PG | 127 min | Crime, Drama, History

Following the murder of a prominent leftist, an investigator tries to uncover the truth while government officials attempt to cover up their roles.

Director: Costa-Gavras | Stars: Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, François Périer

Votes: 20,023 | Gross: $0.08M

4. JFK (1991)

R | 189 min | Drama, History, Thriller

72 Metascore

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Votes: 125,099 | Gross: $70.41M

5. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles

Votes: 48,293 | Gross: $10.25M

6. The Parallax View (1974)

R | 102 min | Drama, Thriller

An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator's assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the world's headlines.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, William Daniels, Walter McGinn

Votes: 12,569

7. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 85,228 | Gross: $70.60M

8. The Day of the Jackal (1973)

PG | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

80 Metascore

A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair, Alan Badel

Votes: 32,520 | Gross: $16.06M

9. Three Days of the Condor (1975)

R | 117 min | Mystery, Thriller

63 Metascore

A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow

Votes: 39,809 | Gross: $41.51M

10. Blow Out (1981)

R | 108 min | Mystery, Thriller

85 Metascore

A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz

Votes: 33,391 | Gross: $13.75M

11. Enemy of the State (1998)

R | 132 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

67 Metascore

A lawyer becomes a target by a corrupt politician and his NSA goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet

Votes: 204,710 | Gross: $111.55M

12. Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Not Rated | 120 min | Action, Romance, Thriller

On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders

Votes: 15,400 | Gross: $3.48M

13. Hidden Agenda (1990)

R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

When an American human rights lawyer is assassinated in Belfast, it remains for the man's girlfriend, as well as a tough, no nonsense, police detective to find the truth... which they soon ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Loach | Stars: Frances McDormand, Brian Cox, Brad Dourif, Mai Zetterling

Votes: 2,962 | Gross: $1.03M

14. The China Syndrome (1979)

PG | 122 min | Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

Director: James Bridges | Stars: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Scott Brady

Votes: 22,774 | Gross: $51.72M

15. Mississippi Burning (1988)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, History

65 Metascore

Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif

Votes: 73,029 | Gross: $34.60M

16. The Crying Game (1992)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

A British soldier kidnapped by IRA terrorists soon befriends one of his captors, who then becomes drawn into the soldier's world.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 45,212 | Gross: $62.55M

17. Salvador (1986)

R | 122 min | Drama, History, Thriller

An American photojournalist gets caught in a political struggle at El Salvador in 1980.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: James Woods, Jim Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage

Votes: 16,819

18. Marathon Man (1976)

R | 125 min | Crime, Thriller

64 Metascore

A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane

Votes: 49,701 | Gross: $21.71M

19. No Way Out (1987)

R | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

A coverup and witchhunt occur after a politician accidentally kills his mistress.

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton

Votes: 29,730 | Gross: $35.51M

20. Executive Action (1973)

PG | 91 min | Crime, Drama, History

Rogue intelligence agents, right-wing politicians, greedy capitalists, and free-lance assassins plot and carry out the JFK assassination in this speculative agitprop.

Director: David Miller | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer, Gilbert Green

Votes: 1,968

21. Spy Game (2001)

R | 126 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

63 Metascore

Retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir recalls his training of Tom Bishop while working against agency politics to free him from his Chinese captors.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 129,994 | Gross: $0.03M

22. Spartan (2004)

R | 106 min | Action, Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

The investigation into a kidnapping of the daughter of a high-ranking US government official.

Director: David Mamet | Stars: Val Kilmer, Derek Luke, William H. Macy, Tia Texada

Votes: 27,695 | Gross: $4.43M

23. Conspiracy Theory (1997)

R | 135 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

49 Metascore

A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart

Votes: 83,523 | Gross: $75.98M

24. Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977)

R | 146 min | Drama, Thriller

An imprisoned rogue USAF general with a secret personal agenda, escapes the brig and takes over an ICBM silo, threatening to start WW3.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Roscoe Lee Browne, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 2,338

25. Absolute Power (1997)

R | 121 min | Action, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

A career thief witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney

Votes: 43,673 | Gross: $50.01M