Top Political Movies, Part 6

Bulworth (1998) / Director: Warren Beatty / Stars: Warren Beatty, Halle Berry

A politician named Jay Bulworth (Beatty), who is suicidal with disgust over America’s money-powered political machine, puts a contract out on himself so he can feel free to be candid with voters, to the beat of the supposedly authentic, truth-telling beat of hip-hop culture. Halle Berry, before she became famous, does a star-making turn as a streetwise muse to Beatty’s tortured white liberal.

Downfall (2004) Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel / Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes

The final, frantic, bunker-bound days of the Adolf Hitler (played brilliantly by Ganz) as the Soviet army advances in the spring of 1945. It’s less a movie about war or politics than it is about the mind of a self-pitying, ferocious, and immensely charismatic madman. 

Z (1969) Director: Nikos Costa-Gavras

This thriller is a fictionalized account of the 1963 assassination of leftist Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis, whose aims are to expose fascists’ love of violence and to stoke outrage that a democratic system would allow itself to be destroyed.

The American President (1995) / Director: Rob Reiner / Stars: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen

Imagine a politician and lobbyist in bed together, is that wacky or what? This dramedy about a widowed U.S. president (Douglas) and a lobbyist (Bening) who fall in love, however, is actually pretty good, so hold the cheap shots. Aaron Sorkin wrote the clever script.

The Great Dictator (1940) / Director: Charles Chaplin / Stars: Charles Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardine

A humble Jewish barber (Chaplin) is a dead ringer for Adenoid Hynkel (also Chaplin), the crazy anti-Semite who rules the nation of Tomainia. A case of mistaken identity (that old cinematic staple) ensues, giving Chaplin the opportunity to satirize Hitler and his Third Reich.