If only my History classes had been that simple…
While the Yellow Jackets are running down the streets of Paris and Brexit is the main subject in 10 Downing Street in London, there’s another way to learn about politics, and it takes place in your own home with a nice glass of wine.
Take a look at this list of some of the best politics films of all time.
#1 – All The President’s Men
Directed by Alan J. Pakula
Cast: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman
Release date: July 1976
Plot: In 1972, five people get busted wiring up the HQ of the Democratic Party illegally at the Watergate in Washington. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, both journalists at the Washington Post, then decide to investigate on this case. Helped by an anonymous source called ‘Deep Throat’, Bob and Carl discover that everything is linked to the CIA and even worst, to the actual President, Richard Nixon.
#2 – Malcolm X
Directed by Spike Lee
Cast: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo
Plot: This biopic relates the story of Malcolm Little, from his implication in a street gang and his time in prison, until he became the Black Nationalist known as Malcolm X. As of his encounter with the leader of the Nation of Islam, and as he progressively quits doing drugs and develops faith in Islam, the movie narrates how Malcolm X dealt with him facing Muhammad’s lies and how he had to protect himself from the harm the latter tried to put him and his family through after he left the party to create his own.
#3 – Milk
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Cast: Sean Penn, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin
Release date: January 23rd, 2009
Plot: In 1977, and after three failed campaigns, gay politician Harvey Milk decides to run for office and fight for the LGBT rights in the United States, making him the first openly gay man running for office to be elected in California. However, it is not always simple to represent a countercultural movement and Milk has to face strong and homophobic opponents as well as the people of America all along his campaign.
#4 – Darkest Hour
Directed by Joe Wright
Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Ronald Pickup
Release date: January 12th, 2018
Plot: When Winston Churchill is urgently elected as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after Neville Chamberlain resigns on May 10th, 1940, he has to deal with a world at war and a scheming party that doesn’t believe in his politics. But Churchill is a strong and stubborn man who stands on his grounds and will do everything he can to save his country from the Nazi German sway.
Read our review of Darkest Hour
#5 – The Post
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks
Release date: December 22nd, 2017
Plot: In reaction to the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Spielberg puts into images how, in 1971, chief editor, Benjamin Bradlee, and publisher Katherine Graham at the Washington Post got hold of papers revealing the truth concerning the politics and military decisions taken during the war with Vietnam. However, Graham needs to be careful as her newspaper is about to get shares in the stock exchange. Between politics and journalist ethics, those two characters are being put on the spot.
Read our review of The Post
#6 – Spotlight
Directed by Tom McCarthy
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Release date: January 20th, 2016
Plot: In 2001, Boston Globe’s chief editor Marty Baron asks Spotlight’s investigative team to make some research as they heard that several priests in Boston have been accused of molesting children without being prosecuted. Helped by lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, the team investigates and discovers that at least 90 priests are involved in that case in the city. They have worked for months to know how many other priests were implied all over the country, as they intend to publish an exhaustive list of all their names in order for them to get the sanction they deserve.
#7 – Fahrenheit 9/11
Directed by Michael Moore
Release date: July 9th, 2004
Plot: This documentary reveals the story behind the suicidal terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, that lead two planes right into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and how the Bush is linked to terrorist Ben Laden’s family as well as Bush’s politics led in Iraq. This movie targeted George Bush and was made by Moore as a way for him to prevent him from being re-elected in November 2004.
#8 – Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott,
Release date: January 29th, 1964
Plot: This satirical comedy on the Nazis and their politics takes place during the Cold War. Peter Sellers plays three characters, including US president Merkin Muffley, British Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and Dr. Strangelove himself.
When paranoid US Army general Jack D. Ripper decides to launch 42 B-52 bombers on the USSR, US President tries to cancel the mission. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union threatens to send a doomsday machine to destroy the US. His advisor and former German Nazi, Dr. Strangelove, tells him to only choose the hundred thousand best human species of the country and take them underground where the radiations won’t touch them, reminding the audience of the Nazi dictatorship.
#9 – Schindler’s List
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Release date: February 18th, 1994
Plot: This black and white movie follows mill owner and Nazi camp follower Oskar Schindler’s life during World War II. Always thinking about his own profit and wealth, he never realised how horrible the war was until he sees a little girl trying to flee the killings and hide in between corpses in a camp in Plaszów, Poland.
That is when he decides to create a list figuring 1 100 Jews that will go to the concentration camp he built in Zwittau-Brinnlitz. As he bribes the Nazis, he manages to bring all the Jews there and save them from death in Auschwitz.
#10 – Truth
Directed by James Vanderbilt
Cast: Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss,
Release date: October 16th, 2015
Plot: Based on the true story of CBS producer and journalist Mary Mapes, Truth talks about that time, back in 2004, when Mapes and her team at “60 Minutes Wednesday”, decided to investigate on George Bush’s military record. After gathering all the proof, witnesses and material they needed, Mary Mapes produced and aired a documentary hosted by awarded CBS news anchor Dan Rather, to reveal the President did not go to Vietnam. A few hours later, Mapes is accused of having made false allegations and of not checking her sources as the documents she got verified to be fake.
More than a failed attempt at unravelling the truth, this movie highlights the place of women in an industry full of men.
The world changes every day and it is not easy to focus on History classes all the time. But with those 10 movies, you’ll know everything there is to know about the most important events of the Century and how it has affected our lives nowadays.