Best movies about dictatorships

by guisreis | created - 30 Aug 2013 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

Fictitious or not modern totalitarian regimes have not been incuded. Movies about colonial oppression have.

See also my list about distopy and fictional dictatorships.

Add: Militares da Democracia, by Silvio Tendler - https://www.facebook.com/Militares-Da-Democracia-Militares-que-resistiram-ao-Golpe-de-64-584276421662211/

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1. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

R | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

98 Metascore

In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

Votes: 537,700 | Gross: $37.63M

2. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,001,627 | Gross: $96.07M

3. Batismo de Sangue (2006)

110 min | Drama

During the period of 1964 to 1985, Brazil lived a military dictatorship. In the 60s, the Dominican friars Tito, Betto, Fernando and Ivo help leftist organizations. However, they are ... See full summary »

Director: Helvecio Ratton | Stars: Caio Blat, Daniel de Oliveira, Léo Quintão, Odilon Esteves

Votes: 488

4. Land and Freedom (1995)

Not Rated | 109 min | Drama, War

David is an unemployed communist that comes to Spain in 1937 during the civil war to enroll the republicans and defend the democracy against the fascists. He makes friends between the soldiers.

Director: Ken Loach | Stars: Ian Hart, Rosana Pastor, Icíar Bollaín, Tom Gilroy

Votes: 8,786 | Gross: $0.23M

5. The Return to Homs (2013)

Not Rated | 94 min | Documentary, Biography, History

85 Metascore

A look behind the barricades of the besieged city of Homs, where for nineteen-year-old Basset and his ragtag group of comrades, the audacious hope of revolution is crumbling like the buildings around them.

Director: Talal Derki | Star: Abdul Basset Saroot

Votes: 906

6. Soy Cuba (1964)

108 min | Drama, History, War

Four vignettes about the lives of the Cuban people set during the pre-revolutionary era.

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov | Stars: Sergio Corrieri, Salvador Wood, José Gallardo, Raúl García

Votes: 6,735 | Gross: $0.16M

Cuba under the rule of Fulgencio Batista.

7. The Last King of Scotland (2006)

R | 123 min | Biography, Drama, History

74 Metascore

Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970's.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson, Kerry Washington

Votes: 158,874 | Gross: $17.61M

8. O Homem que Virou Suco (1980)

97 min | Drama

São Paulo police mistakenly thinks a folk poet and singer is the same man who had stabbed his boss.

Director: João Batista de Andrade | Stars: Aldo Bueno, Rafael de Carvalho, Ruthinéa de Moraes, Denoy de Oliveira

Votes: 221

Dictatorship is not a main issue of this film but the story happens during military rule in Brazil. Besides that, the values of military dictatorship and repression against unions appear in the movie.

9. Eles Não Usam Black-Tie (1981)

120 min | Drama

Union leader's son doesn't want to engage in a strike, because his wife is pregnant, thus disregarding his father's tradition of political activism.

Director: Leon Hirszman | Stars: Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Fernanda Montenegro, Carlos Alberto Riccelli, Bete Mendes

Votes: 768

10. April Captains (2000)

123 min | Drama, History, War

Story of the 1974 coup that overthrew the right-wing Portuguese dictatorship--which continued the fascist policies of long-time dictator Antonio Salazar--and of two young army captains who were involved in it.

Director: Maria de Medeiros | Stars: Stefano Accorsi, Maria de Medeiros, Joaquim de Almeida, Frédéric Pierrot

Votes: 2,552

11. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)

110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

Two youths sent for a Maoist "re-education" in the mountains fall in love with the village tailor's granddaughter.

Director: Sijie Dai | Stars: Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, Ye Liu, Shuangbao Wang

Votes: 4,001 | Gross: $0.67M

12. Etz Limon (2008)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama

74 Metascore

The story of a Palestinian widow who must defend her lemontree field when a new Israeli Defense Minister moves next to her and threatens to have her lemon grove torn down.

Director: Eran Riklis | Stars: Hiam Abbass, Rona Lipaz-Michael, Ali Suliman, Doron Tavory

Votes: 5,780 | Gross: $0.57M

13. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Thriller

89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 300,740 | Gross: $11.29M

14. The Official Story (1985)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, History, War

After the end of the Dirty War, a high school teacher sets out to find out who the mother of her adopted daughter is.

Director: Luis Puenzo | Stars: Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio, Chunchuna Villafañe, Hugo Arana

Votes: 5,926 | Gross: $0.03M

15. No (I) (2012)

R | 118 min | Drama

81 Metascore

An ad executive comes up with a campaign to defeat Augusto Pinochet in Chile's 1988 referendum.

Director: Pablo Larraín | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers, Luis Gnecco

Votes: 20,561 | Gross: $2.34M

16. Michael Collins (1996)

R | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

60 Metascore

Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Julia Roberts, Ian Hart

Votes: 26,390 | Gross: $11.09M

17. Kamchatka (2002)

106 min | Drama

The film is seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy, Harry (Matías del Pozo), who does not know that Argentina's 1976 coup d'état is impacting his life. After witnessing the "... See full summary »

Director: Marcelo Piñeyro | Stars: Ricardo Darín, Cecilia Roth, Héctor Alterio, Fernanda Mistral

Votes: 2,917

18. O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias (2006)

PG | 110 min | Drama

67 Metascore

A boy is left alone in a Jewish neighborhood in the year of 1970, where both world cup and dictatorship happen in Brazil.

Director: Cao Hamburger | Stars: Michel Joelsas, Germano Haiut, Daniela Piepszyk, Paulo Autran

Votes: 5,395 | Gross: $0.76M

19. Machuca (2004)

Not Rated | 121 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

Two boys observe a political coup in their native Chile.

Director: Andrés Wood | Stars: Matías Quer, Ariel Mateluna, Manuela Martelli, Aline Küppenheim

Votes: 9,832

21. Capitão Falcão (2015)

106 min | Action, Comedy, History

Follows Portugal's first fascist superhero: the ultra patriotic Captain Falcon!

Director: João Leitão | Stars: Gonçalo Waddington, David Chan Cordeiro, José Pinto, Miguel Guilherme

Votes: 1,511

22. O Dia que Durou 21 Anos (2012)

77 min | Documentary, History, Thriller

Provides evidence of manipulation and investment funding from the U.S. government to carry out the Brazilian military coup that occurred in 1964.

Director: Camilo Tavares | Stars: Auro de Moura Andrade, Robert Bentley, Júlio de Sá Bierrenbach, Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco

Votes: 290

23. Dawson Isla 10 (2009)

117 min | Drama

After the 1973 coup that deposed Allende and brought Pinochet to power in Chile, the former members of his cabinet are imprisoned on Dawson Island, the world's southernmost concentration ... See full summary »

Director: Miguel Littin | Stars: Benjamín Vicuña, Bertrand Duarte, Pablo Krögh, Cristián de la Fuente

Votes: 286

I have only watched the final part of this film, unfortunately.

24. State of Siege (1972)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by ... See full summary »

Director: Costa-Gavras | Stars: Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, O.E. Hasse, Jacques Weber

Votes: 3,362

25. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama

97 Metascore

A woman assists her friend in arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania.

Director: Cristian Mungiu | Stars: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean

Votes: 49,697 | Gross: $1.19M

Ceausescu dictatorship is not an openly treated issue in this movie about abortion, but life conditions under the regime are shown throughout the film.

26. Che: Part One (2008)

Not Rated | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 1956, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and a band of Castro-led Cuban exiles mobilize an army to topple the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Julia Ormond, Benicio Del Toro, Oscar Isaac, Pablo Guevara

Votes: 40,889 | Gross: $1.73M

27. Ojos que no ven (2003)

PG-13 | 95 min | Crime, Thriller, Drama

Through out six different and yet parallel stories that take place during the corrupted goverment during the 90s in Peru, Lombardi tells the moral decomposition that ran through all classes and generations of the peruvian society.

Director: Francisco J. Lombardi | Stars: Gianfranco Brero, Gustavo Bueno, Patricia Pereyra, Paul Vega

Votes: 243

28. Butterfly (1999)

R | 96 min | Drama

69 Metascore

For Moncho, it's an idyllic year: he starts school, he has a wonderful teacher, he makes a friend in Roque, he begins to figure out some of the mysteries of Eros, and, with his older ... See full summary »

Director: José Luis Cuerda | Stars: Manuel Lozano, Fernando Fernán Gómez, Uxía Blanco, Gonzalo Uriarte

Votes: 7,048 | Gross: $2.09M

29. Cidadão Boilesen (2009)

92 min | Documentary

A documentary about the controversial businessman Henning Boilesen Jr. and his involvement with the military regime as one of its most enthusiastic supporters, financing it and ... See full summary »

Director: Chaim Litewski | Stars: Hennig Boilesen Jr., Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jarbas Passarinho, Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns

Votes: 97

30. A Luneta do Tempo (2014)

99 min | Drama, Musical, Western

In arid and treacherous lands, Lampião and his band are pursued by Antero Tenente and his troop, which faces the capture of the bandit as a matter of honor.

Director: Alceu Valença | Stars: Hermila Guedes, Irandhir Santos, Alceu Valença, Ari de Arimateia

Votes: 61

Part of the story happens during Getúlio Vargas dictatorship.

31. The Man in the Black Cape (1986)

120 min | Biography, Crime

Biography of Brazilian congressman Tenório Cavalcanti, who used to appear in public carrying a machine-gun, and wearing a black cloak.

Director: Sergio Rezende | Stars: José Wilker, Marieta Severo, Jonas Bloch, Isolda Cresta

Votes: 200

The final part shows the military coup d'état.

32. Cuchillo de palo (2010)

93 min | Documentary

79 Metascore

Of all my uncles, Rodolfo was the only one who didn't want to be a blacksmith like my grandfather: He wanted to be a dancer. The search for the traces of his life leads to the discovery ... See full summary »

Director: Renate Costa | Stars: Miguel Auad Petunia, Nancy Baruja, Renate Costa, Manuel Cuenca

Votes: 102

About Strossner's dictatorship in Paraguay, particularly about violence against homosexuals.

33. V paprscích slunce (2015)

Not Rated | 106 min | Documentary

81 Metascore

A propaganda documentary about North Korea that reveals a few hidden facts because the director continues filming between the scripted scenes.

Director: Vitaliy Manskiy | Stars: Lee Zin-Mi, Yu-Yong, Hye-Yong, Oh-Gyong

Votes: 3,398 | Gross: $0.07M

34. The First Grader (2010)

PG-13 | 103 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

56 Metascore

The story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau veteran who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.

Director: Justin Chadwick | Stars: Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo, Tony Kgoroge, Alfred Munyua

Votes: 3,830 | Gross: $0.33M

The violent past of British colonial rule is a shadow for the main character.

35. A King in New York (1957)

G | 105 min | Comedy, Drama

A recently-deposed European monarch seeks shelter in New York City, where he becomes an accidental television celebrity and is later wrongly accused of being a Communist.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Maxine Audley, Jerry Desmonde, Oliver Johnston

Votes: 6,077

If it is not held properly in a dictatorship, it depict very undemocratic Mccarthism in US.

36. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R | 120 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sônia Braga, José Lewgoy

Votes: 12,202 | Gross: $17.04M

37. Reds (1981)

PG | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

Director: Warren Beatty | Stars: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski

Votes: 18,159 | Gross: $40.38M

Lack of freedom of thought inside the United States, authoritarian regime in Soviet Union, colonialism throughout the world...

38. Wadjda (2012)

PG | 98 min | Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour | Stars: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd

Votes: 15,545 | Gross: $1.35M

Politics is not clearly an issue in the movie, but the story happens not only under an authoritarian rule but also show a very authoritatian and sexist culture and the cult of personality.

39. Friendly Fire (1998)

76 min | Drama

Brazil in the early 70s. Miguel, Eloi, Osvaldo and Paolo take part in armed attacks against the military dictatorship. They pay a heavy price with torture and arrest. Today the four friends... See full summary »

Director: Beto Brant | Stars: Leonardo Villar, Helio Lahal, Zécarlos Machado, Cacá Amaral

Votes: 335

40. Miel de naranjas (2012)

100 min | Drama

Henry grows tired of witnessing injustices, and he engages in risky actions.

Director: Imanol Uribe | Stars: Iban Garate, Blanca Suárez, Karra Elejalde, Eduard Fernández

Votes: 261

41. The Devil's Backbone (2001)

R | 106 min | Drama, Horror

78 Metascore

After Carlos - a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War - arrives at an ominous boys' orphanage, he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve

Votes: 54,186 | Gross: $0.75M

42. Olga (2004)

141 min | Biography, Drama, History

Based upon the true story of Olga Benário, the German-born wife of Brazilian communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes. During the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas (1930-1945) she was arrested and... See full summary »

Director: Jayme Monjardim | Stars: Camila Morgado, Caco Ciocler, Luís Melo, Eliane Giardini

Votes: 2,688

43. Zuzu Angel (2006)

108 min | Biography, Drama, History

Based on the true story of Zuzu Angel, a famous Brazilian fashion designer in the 70's, who searches for her son Stuart, a member of a leftist university group who suddenly disappears ... See full summary »

Director: Sergio Rezende | Stars: Patricia Pillar, Daniel de Oliveira, Leandra Leal, Alexandre Borges

Votes: 796

44. Quase Dois Irmãos (2004)

102 min | Drama

The strange friendship between two men of opposite social classes. Miguel is a senator. His childhood friend Jorge is a major drug-dealer. In the 1970s, they meet in prison: Miguel was ... See full summary »

Director: Lúcia Murat | Stars: Caco Ciocler, Flavio Bauraqui, Werner Schünemann, Antônio Pompêo

Votes: 562

45. Team America: World Police (2004)

R | 98 min | Action, Comedy

64 Metascore

Popular Broadway actor Gary Johnston is recruited by the elite counter-terrorism organization Team America: World Police. As the world begins to crumble around him, he must battle with terrorists, celebrities and falling in love.

Director: Trey Parker | Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Elle Russ, Kristen Miller

Votes: 145,620 | Gross: $32.77M

The movie is nice because it criticizes American imperialist foreign politics, but it also does show North Korean dictatiorship.

46. Undergångens arkitektur (1989)

Not Rated | 119 min | Documentary, History

An absorbing and chilling documentary about the National Socialist aesthetic, and how attempts to create the Aryan Ideal caused the extermination of millions. Aspects covered include: ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Cohen | Stars: Rolf Arsenius, Bruno Ganz, Sam Gray, Martin Bormann

Votes: 832

47. O Menino no Espelho (2014)

78 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The story of a boy who sees his mirror reflection come to life.

Director: Guilherme Fiúza Zenha | Stars: Lino Facioli, Regiane Alves, Ricardo Blat, Gisele Fróes

Votes: 131

The movie happens during the dictatorship lead by Getúlio Vargas. Though, it does not focuses authoritarian rule, but the ban on fascist Brazilian Integralist Action, also known as "green shirts", besides other issues.

48. Marighella (2012)

Documentary

A documentary about the member of the brazilian Communist Party, Congressman elected by vote, and later on enemy number one of the brazilian dictatorship of 1964, Carlos Marighella.

Director: Isa Grinspum Ferraz | Stars: Carlos Augusto Marighella, Lázaro Ramos, Miguel Arraes, Hennig Boilesen Jr.

Votes: 94

49. O Bom Burguês (1979)

99 min | Crime

True story of Brazilian bank clerk who supplied money for the guerilla fighting against the military dictatorship of the 70s. When he changes his disguise, he gets involved with high ... See full summary »

Director: Oswaldo Caldeira | Stars: José Wilker, Betty Faria, Jardel Filho, Christiane Torloni

Votes: 39

50. Max Schmeling (2010)

Not Rated | 123 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

Max Schmeling's fights against Joe Louis are listed in the best 10 ten fights of all times.

Director: Uwe Boll | Stars: Henry Maske, Heino Ferch,