Readers' Choice: 10 Best Political Films

It's a holiday. The family may gather. With the fiscal cliff in the news, talk may shift to politics. Deflect those political passions with a movie. Here are some of the best.


Holidays often mean family gatherings and with fiscal cliff negotiations in the news, there's always the risk that passions will flare. Channel that energy into a more entertaining direction by suggesting that folks watch a political movie.

Here's 10 suggestions from Patch readers. Test your own political skills and see if you can form a majority coalition to watch one of them.

Amy Nelson Smith suggests The Candidate, a 1972 film starring Robert Redford with an Academy Award winning screenplay by a former Eugene McCarthy staffer.

Dean Calbreath recommends be another Redford film, in which he plays opposite Dustin Hoffman in the Watergate whodunit, All the President's Men.

Want something younger and irreverent?

Alex Crown suggests Team America, an animated flick from the creators of South Park about an elite counter-terrorism squad out to police the world. 

Tony Ebster votes for Bulworth , starring Warren Beatty as the disillusioned liberal politician who throws caution to the winds and speaks his mind.

In the uncomfortably funny department, Nancy Garcia, Lee Thomas, Suzy Flory and Harvey Wong all recommend Wag the Dog, with an all-star cast who conspire to fabricate a war to distract voters.

Randall Wright and Joyce Tavares tout Primary Colors, featuring John Travolta as an oversexed presidential candidate resembling you know who.

Carey Sanchez Para, Kris Loberg and Christopher Carfi all like Bob Roberts, with Tim Robbins as a rightwing folksinger running a crooked election campaign.

But let's not be so cynical.

Joseph K. Schwarz reaches back to the 1939 classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- but be forewarned. Some viewers might construe the film's denoument, starring frog-voiced Jimmy Stewart, as taking sides in the current debate over filibuster reform.

I'l end with two editor's picks, one highbrow, the other decidedly not.

The Seduction of Joe Tynan stars Alan Alda as the senator caught between his public principles and personal appetites, with a superb supporting role by actress Meryl Streep.

Finally, actor Will Ferrell packs his scatalogical humor and current political cliches into The Candidate, a brainless romp through our money-drenched electoral process. Parental discretion is advised. I would not show this to pre-teens. 

But the movie made me LMAO, as the text generation says. If you do watch it, I doubt you will be able to keep a straight face through the scene in which Ferrell tries to recite the Lord's Prayer to demonstrate his committment to religion.

What did we leave out? Add your pics and pans in the comments below.

x January 01, 2013 at 02:50 PM
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. But of course, "there's no fighting in the war room." One of the 100 best movies of all time, starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott. - Thank You For Smoking (2006) Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, spins on behalf of the embattled tobacco industry while trying to remain a role model for his 12-year-old son. A biting political satire and one of the best political films in recent years. - Dave (1993) A presidential look-alike finds himself in the Oval Office "filling in" for the president who has fallen ill. Lacking the political savvy of the real president, "Dave" proceeds to govern the country with a refreshingly straight-forward approach. Starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. - Dick (1999) Two girls wander away from their tour group while visiting the White House and stumble upon one of President Nixon's infamous top-secret document shredding sessions. It's not long before the ditzy duo become entangled in Nixon's dirty tricks. A very funny "Wag the Dog"-meets-"Clueless" political send-up, starring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams.
Arlene DeLeon January 01, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Here's one of my favorites - The American President (1995) Michael Douglas and Annette Bening star in this romantic comedy about a widowed President and a lobbyist who fall in love. It has one of the most amazing political speeches ever! A treat for all the lefties out there!
Tom Abate January 01, 2013 at 06:03 PM
I had some nominations earlier for "Dave" but omitted it. The others are new. I might go for Jimmy Stewart if I had to pick. He reminds me of Eric Swalwell -- or vice versa.
Alex Gronke January 02, 2013 at 02:00 AM
I highly recommend House of Cards. The British version is streaming on Netflix now and a new American version is due to be released on Netflix this spring.
x January 02, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Great. Now I'm shuddering ... Er - Er - Eric Swalwell, in my best Jimmy Stewart impression when I think of Swalwell now. Thanks Tom. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IiICcSH8iY


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