Five Film Favorites: American Politics

Broderick Crawford, Frank McClure and John Ireland in Robert Rossen's 1949 Columbia Pictures release, "All the King’s Men."

With the midterm elections just 12 days away, the scent of politics is in the air. Can’t you smell the tea brewing? Yes, this is the year of the Tea Party Effect.

No doubt, some of this year’s unusual politicians will inspire eager filmmakers. One day it will be fun to see who gets to play Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul, etc., in movies about what‘s happening now on our political landscape.

Still, when it comes to politicians and the way their high-stakes game is played, some things haven’t changed all that much since the first film on this week‘s list was made in 1949. In fact, that’s exactly what makes this list timely. So much in these movies seems like it could happen the same way today.

This time the list of five favorites is made up of films about politics, American politics. The movies on this list aren’t so much about social causes or tides of history; they are about politicians and the people one finds in their inner circles. What these movies have most in common is their piercing behind-the-scenes looks at the machinery of elections and the people who covet the rush and the power that comes from winning.

“All the King’s Men”
(1949): Directed by Robert Rossen; Cast: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Mercedes McCambridge

“Bob Roberts” (1992): Directed by Tim Robbins; Cast: Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman

“The Candidate” (1972): Directed by Michael Ritchie; Cast: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvin Douglas

“The Last Hurrah” (1958): Directed by John Ford; Cast: Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, Dianne Foster

“Wag the Dog” (1997): Directed by Barry Levinson; Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche

— F.T. Rea

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4 Responses to Five Film Favorites: American Politics

  1. thstarkweather says:

    I have always felt that “Wag the Dog” was a terrific and often overlooked and underrated film. Excellent inclusion.

  2. Pingback: Five Film Favorites: Movies About Television | James River Film Journal

  3. Ted says:

    Glad you included “Bob Roberts”.

  4. frenchie says:

    I’ve seen them all except Bob Roberts!

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