Eight Great Poltical Movies

Movies focusing on politics are shown in many different formats. Some take a serious approach on a major issue in history, or engage in a satirical plot designed around a major issue. As the election is vastly approaching, take a seat, grab some popcorn, and watch these poltical showstoppers. 

The Candidate (1972)

Without a candidate to run for the senate seat against Republican Crocker Jarmon (Don Porter), campaign manager Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle) recruits leftist lawyer Bill McKay (Robert Redford). McKay’s appearance interests the public’s eye, and gradually Lucas pushes McKay toward a more centrist message in order to gain more popularity. As McKay’s original platform gets watered down, his popularity increases so much that he is running even with Jarmon as Election Day approaches. When McKay receives the vote at the end of the movie, he famously asks Lucas what to do next. Many candidates have gone through the stress of getting into their position, but tend to not know what to do afterward. As election day is vastly approaching, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump must now evaluate what they must do after they get elected.  

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

When the dreamer Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of corrupt Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). However, Paine isn’t as honest as his reputation would indicate, and he becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys’ campsite where greater scandal lies ahead. Determined to stand up against Paine, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor. Smith soon becomes a popular figure in the Senate due to his desire for his project and patriotism. Despite its mixed reviews, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington won an Academy Award for Best Writing. In today’s election, Clinton and Trump must defend what they believe in even if the people disagree. 

All the President’s Men (1976)

Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and  Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) work for the Washington Post. They research the 1972 burglary of the Democratic Party Headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex. The two reporters make a connection between the burglars and a White House staffer. Despite many warnings, the duo follows the money all the way to the President. As the 2016 Election has been an election of scandal with the Washington Post once again breaking the latest headlines, the American people must decide what they want in a president. 


Political movies do not always have to revolve around adults. Alexander Payne’s look at a high school election and the consequences that occur when a teacher (Matthew Broderick) is fed up with Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), who is running for student body president. Election satirizes the life of suburban high schoolers and politics and describes today’s view on politics. 

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

This political satire focuses on what would happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button. Directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove is a film satirizing the Cold War fears between the USSR and the USA. During this election, voters must decide who they would rather have with their finger on the nuclear button.

Advice & Consent

 Based on the novel by Allen Drury, this drama depicts the debate when candidate Robert Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) is nominated as U.S. Secretary of State. As concerns are shown during the Senate investigation of Leffingwell’s qualifications, Senator Brig Anderson (Don Murray), soon finds that Leffingwell is being used for separate parties political agenda. As we saw with Obama filling a Supreme Court Justice spot, there may be controversy for the next President when filling similar spots.  

All the Way

 Lyndon B. Johnson (Bryan Cranston) becomes President of the United States after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. LBJ must immediately work on the passage of the Civil Rights Act as he is pressured by Martin Luther King (Anthony Mackie) and other movement leaders. However, LBJ is almost unable to pass the bill due to Southern Democrats. Meanwhile, the war in Vietnam escalates. As the 2016 Election breaks, and barriers affecting minorities become more apparent each day, Clinton and Trump must decide how to address and ultimately resolve these pressing issues. 

All the King’s Men

 This drama depicts the rise and fall of Southern Democrat Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford) who promises his way to power. In the beginning of his campaign he swears against the corruption in government, but towards the end of his career, he is the most corrupt politician. All the King’s Men won three Oscars for Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. As we enter the 2016 Election, once elected, the next President will decide whether to run the country in a corrupt or innocent manner to accomplish their objectives. 


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