Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My Top Ten Political Movies

Now I readily admit that my movie tastes are somewhat shallow - unlike my politics, of course! I go to the cinema to have a laugh, have a cry or to see some 'action'. I do not like intellectual films which you have to think about - you know, the kind of things which you'd be obliged to discuss at an Islington dinner party. So here are my favourite movies with some sort of political storyline.

1. Bob Roberts
Pseudo documentary about the election campaign of Bob Roberts, played by Tim Robbins. Some hilarious moments, but you're never quire sure how satirical it actually is.

2. Primary Colours
Far superior to the book, which I must admit I never finished. John Travolta is brilliant as the Clintonesque President.

3. All the President's Men
I remember seeing this in Saffron Walden Library in about 1978. It's a bit slow but manages to convey the horrors of Watergate brilliantly.

4. Independence Day
Just my sort of movie. Has some great lines in it - my favourite is when the old pilot takes a plane up into the mothership and as he launches a nuclear weapon into its belly shouts "take that, motherf**ker!"

5. Nixon
Oliver Stone bi-opic starring Anthony Hopkins. I wasn't convinced by him at first but he gets better as the film goes on. Portrays Nixon as paranoid but somehow manages to be more balanced than you would have first thought.

6. The American President
Schmalzy film about a President who falls in love. Michael Douglas in the President whose staff incluses Martin Sheen. Annette Benning is the lobbyist Douglas falls for. Altogether now...

7. The Contender
The Vice-President dies. New nominee is a woman. Shock horror. The government machine moves against her and digs the dirt to prevent her being confirmed in office.

8. Thirteen Days
Superb re-enactment of the Cuba Missile crisis. Stars Rex from Desperate Housewives!

9. JFK
I have to say I thought this film was overhyped and Oliver Stone typically played up to all the conspiracy theories. Good performance by Kevin Costner, although in my eyes he'll never surpass Dances with Wolves!

10. Day After Tomorrow
Similar to Independence Day in that it plays on American patriotism. Fantastic special effects dominate a somewhat tenuous plot, but I loved it!


Jonathan Sheppard said...

What about Dave with Kevin Kline?

Brent Parris said...

Have you not seen Mr Smith goes to Washington?

Simon said...

Citizen Kane, Wag the Dog, Election, and The Manchurian Candidate (the Frank Sinatra one!) are also all worth a watch.

Anonymous said...

If you like comedies try a gem from the 1980s called Clue. Its based on the cluedo board game and stars Tim Currie. Its Hilarious.

hannibal said...

What about "Defence of the Realm" or "Who Dares Wins"?

I appreciate the latter is perhaps not traditionally viewed as a political film...

DP said...

I agree with all of the comments above, plus Eddie Murphy in 'The Distinguished Gentleman' written by Johnathan Lynn of 'Yes Minister' fame and 'My Fellow Americans', which is about 2 ex-presidents on the run. (admittadly it isn't brilliant). But definitely agree with Brent. How can you leave out 'Mr Smith'?

malcolm said...

I strongly recommend you see Path to War starring Michael Gambon as Lyndon Johnson which looks at the beginnings of the Vietnam War.Truly superb...

Goive said...

True Colours starring John Cusack and James Spader is an excellent film.


Chance said...

Those were some very good picks

Anonymous said...

you really need to see some non american political films.

billy said...

"Good performance by Kevin Costner, although in my eyes he'll never surpass Dances with Wolves!"

Good film but I think 'Open Range' is better.

Anonymous said...

how about Being There with Peter Sellers?

also All the King's Men.

Wag the Dog is good too.

2br02b said...

Ian McKellan's magnificent Richard III, transposed into the 1930. And of course (how could you leave ou?) Der Untergang.

Both illustrate Powell's remark --that all political careers end in tragedy.