It’s holiday break across our beautiful nation and we finally have some free time on our hands. With House of Cards in hiatus and little in theaters for us politicos here is a list of my eight favorite politically themed movies.
Daniel Day Lewis received an Oscar for his epic portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln amidst the Civil War when he struggles with the idea to emancipate the slaves. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is a in depth look at not just one of our greatest presidents but how politics were handled at the time. Makes one proud of the Republican party in those dark times in American history.
7) Primary Colors
Released in 1998 this movie was based on a novel that was originally published anonymously (and later revealed to be penned by journalist Joe Klein, who had covered the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton for Newsweek magazine), the movie features John Travolta as the mirror image of Clinton in a race for Governor of Alabama. As someone who has been on board many an election team this film is a uniquely funny look at the campaign trail.
6) The Candidate
Always one to go against the grain, Robert Redford showed off his un-conformist ways in this film, in which he plays Bill McKay, a young, good-looking son of a former governor who has no chance of winning the senate seat he’s going after so he’s allowed to run his campaign as he wants, and speak what’s on his mind.
5) Wag the Dog
With a sex scandal about to dismantle the president’s reelection, a spin doctor (Robert De Niro) hires a big Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) to fabricate a war. With amazing performances and a wickedly smart story, the movie is a scary look at the tricks done to make us believe the people in power.
4) Frost Nixon
Capturing one of the most unique series of televised interviews ever done — in which Richard Nixon admits to illegal acts as president — this adaptation of the popular stage play stars Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as broadcaster David Frost (the two also starred in the roles onstage). The compelling story shows that the drama behind the scenes of the interviews was as riveting as what occurred on the screen.
3) The Ides of March
Ryan Gosling plays an idealistic campaign staffer named Steven Myers in this movie. Featuring George Clooney as candidate for Governor Mike Morris this film follows the sex, corruption, and collusion of a fictional but all too real election cycle. Truly an intense ride that reminds us, “never sleep with the interns.”
2) Mr. Smith goes to Washington
Though when the film was released it was banned in some areas of the world as it differed with regional ideology, and under controversy here in the U.S. because some thought it made politicians look bad, Frank Capra’s look at a naive senator who ends up fighting a jaded and corrupt Washington, DC, has become a pillar in the political movie genre. A big reason is the performance by Jimmy Stewart as Jefferson Smith. Playing someone who fights for the belief that good can come out of the halls of the senate, he gives one of his finest performances.
1) All the Presidents Men
In one of the iconic movies about journalism in existence, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play Washington Post reporters who uncover the Watergate scandal, which would later lead to the resignation of President Nixon. The drama that comes from the supposedly non eventful process of reporting is a testament to the actors and director Alan J. Pakula. Truly epic performances and great actor chemistry from a story many already know.