Monday, November 5, 2012

Favorite Political Films for Those Of You Who Haven't Over-dosed on Politics Yet

At the risk of being though lazy - well, go ahead, consider me lazy, what the heck. Lately I just seem to be cruising on fumes. Lots going on, hurricane-wise, election-wise (yesterday I got a call from President Clinton and yes I know it's only a recording, but I must say I listened to the whole thing), and any other-wise you can think of. I'm grateful that the hurricane by-passed my house and I was only out of power for two days (my daughter is still without) but I remain listless and out of sorts.

So long story short, my post for today is a re-hash of a post from 2010 listing my Five Favorite Political Films. 

I've added a couple of the titles mentioned in the comments to the original list which is now enlarged to 8 (plus 2 I haven't seen yet) favorites AND I've added a television series to the mix.

For those of you who don't feel like linking - the original five were:

1) ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976) directed by Alan J. Pakula and starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford

2) THE BEST MAN (1964) directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Henry Fonda, Margaret Leighton, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Berman, Edie Adams, Lee Tracy, etc.

3) ADVISE AND CONSENT (1962) directed by Otto Preminger and starring Henry Fonda, Don Murray, Walter Pidgeon, Charles Laughton, Gene Tierney, Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, etc.

4) DAVE (1993), directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.

5) THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, James Gregory, etc.

6) CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

7) DR. STRANGELOVE Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden.

8) ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949) directed by Robert Rossen and starring Broderick Crawford, John Ireland and Joanne Dru.

A couple of recommendations from the comments which I've lined up on my queue but still haven't watched although it's only been two years - Yvette, what are you waiting for??!

THE CONTENDER (2000) directed by Rod Lurie and starring Joan Allen, Gary Oldman and Jeff Bridges. 

THE GREAT McGINTY (1940) directed by Preston Sturges and starring Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus and Akim Tamiroff.

And last but definitely NOT least is Aaron Sorkin's superb television series THE WEST WING (begun in 1999) starring Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Dule Hill, Stockard Channing, Janel Moloney and later Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda.

For my money this is the best television series ever aired on broadcast television.

Tuesday - November 6th - is Election Day so DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!! (And shame on you if you don't.)


  1. Hello Yvette:
    This is a great list and, apart from 'Dave', which we have not seen, we can heartily concur with your choices. In the wake of THE election [will it ever get to the point that the votes will be counted, we wonder] this is a particularly apposite post.

    We should like to add as a possible extra to the list J Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which we thought to be fascinating and beautifully filmed.

  2. Thanks, Jane and Lance. I definitely have J.EDGAR on my queue and will be watching it soon. So many films yet to be seen. I just have to make the time. (Easier said than done.)

  3. I am watching and praying the man with the right stuff wins. I have seen all the films, loved them
    all. The funniest thing we have a guy runing for Senate her ( don't like him at all) I was watching
    a movie with Jack Lemmon called
    Fellow Americans and the Politicans Sign was an exact copy for
    the Maine Nut case.

  4. Best US political film not yet mentioned here: THE CANDIDATE, with Robert Redford as a character loosely based on Jerry Brown...simply brilliant.

    I really don't care for my high-schoolmate Rod Lurie's films nor his tv series, but you like THE WEST WING vastly more than I do, too, so your do you feel about THE NEWSROOM? BORGEN and THE GOOD WIFE are much better political drama series by me.

  5. I saw that movie, Yvonne. It wasn't very good but it was funny in spots. I liked James Garner and Jack Lemmon working together. They should have made more films.

    The Maine Nut Case. HA!

  6. Todd, I was never a fan of Robert Redford - I always found him an incredibly boring screen presence. But I know I'm in the minority. At any rate, I didn't see THE CANDIDATE. I've seen very few of Redford's films.

    Haven't seen the shows you mention either. I don't have cable so any tv I watch must be online. But then I always forget to watch. I'm hopeless, I know.

  7. Yvette, more unseen than seen for me in your list of which I have seen ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN and have always wanted to read the Woodward-Bernstein book. I also enjoyed THE WEST WING mainly because I like Martin Sheen as an actor. And then there was the other political film JFK starring Kevin Costner that I thought was scripted really well.

  8. The Maine Nut Case! Love it!

    I will vote, but only because I don't want to see misogynists who want to tear up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and who have contempt for the so-called 47% in front of me every day on TV and in the White House.

    I liked All the President's Men a great deal, and some others, but this is reminding me about those I haven't yet seen.

    I really can't wait until tomorrow is over, so I don't have to be barraged by electioneering every minute. There's lots to do, like worry about the people who are still stranded in NY and NJ, without power, water, food, phones, as in so many places.

  9. Well, THE GOOD WIFE is on CBS, so is both on broadcast (not simply cable) and online, and BORGEN can be seen online more widely than on cable (on LinkTV's pages).

    Redford has rarely been better than in THE CANDIDATE, but it's the script and the entirety of the cast (including Peter Boyle in a key role) that really make the picture. He can be bland and wooden, but isn't here except when it works in the character's favor. (He's Brad Pitt's model in so many ways, except Pitt tends to overact ineptly.)

  10. I haven't over-dosed because I haven't watched one single political ad! I so agree about West Wing. Would that he could be our President! I really learned a lot from that show about how the man must compromise, and how he must be political to get things done.

    Am so sorry you are feeling out of sorts.

  11. Dear Yvette - I agree with you that The West Wing is the best TV series ever. As a student of American presidential history, I was impressed with the show's fidelity to detail, and I loved how solidly fleshed out all the characters were.

    Incidentally, I voted today (Nov. 6) at 10 a.m. and was told by the polling officials that 80% of my precinct had already voted! It's going to be an interesting evening!

  12. My favorite political movie is THE SENATOR WAS INDISCREET (with William Powell and directed by George S. Kaufman).

    I also rank WEST WING highly, but feel much of the current criticisms of the series lie in the fact it was not PC enough for the right.

    My favorite political TV series is PERSON OF INTEREST. I loved that the week of the election the episode featured a crooked election where one of the politician's handlers tell the reporter, "Politicians come and go, We are here forever." Who would have ever thought CBS would air a TV series where the US government is the bad guy?

  13. Before looking at the list, I was just sure I'd find MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON on it. Surprise! Not there. Interesting. I certain;y agree with your #1 choice, and excellent book and film.

  14. Richard, at the risk of being pilloried, I've never been Jimmy Stewart's biggest fan. Growing up I just had a hard time relating to his mid-western 'aw shucks' persona.

    I mean, I like him okay, but I don't consider his movies in the same light as the rest of the world.

  15. Running late but what a superb list Yvette - but watching the election unfold (even if it was the middle of the night for us in the UK) was infinitely more satisfying in the end than any of these admittedly great movies. THE CANDIDATE starring Robert Redford is the only one that seems to be obviously missing ...

  16. I never saw that JFK film, Prashant. But my daughter did and liked it. (Even if much of it was fantasy-based.)

    I love ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN and watch it now and then just to remind me what great film-making is all about.

    I think you'd enjoy some of the others on my list as well, if you could get hold of them. :)

  17. Kathy, despite all the horrible problems on the north east coast, we voted and the election went forward and the President was re-elected.

    I feel sorry for Florida who can't seem to get rid of their corrupt politicians who try as hard as they can to keep a Democrat from winning the state. When will they learn?

    A Democrat won anyway and they finally had to concede. What a bunch of muck-ups. (Sorry, Mark.)

  18. Sergio I'm not a fan of Robert Redford hence his missing film. :)

    It was a great election! I am very pleased with the results.

  19. Todd I must get around to watching an episode of THE GOOD WIFE since everyone seems to love this show. I'll have to see if CBS is showing them online. I'm sure they are at some point.

    The other show you mention I've never heard of. But I'll check and see what's what online.

    Watching online just isn't the same as tuning in on television once a week. I don't know why, but it just isn't. I can't get my mind and heart around it. :)


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