Politically Effective or Relevant

by BoozeLite | created - 27 Dec 2014 | updated - 8 months ago | Public

Worth watching either to get an even understanding of the historical context or resulting change (or lack thereof) of surrounding events. Most of the movies apply to things that actually happened, told through strict narrative, allegory, or changed for artistic license. Speculative fiction is also included, as well as films that deal with the politics of film (like the rating system or ), whether its by the books or not.

Some of these are worth watching because they are more a documentation of events than an exploration of the medium of film, others should be seen because they were effective in blending craft with story.

Not listed in any particular order.

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1. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 94,909 | Gross: $70.60M

Absolutely essential! Procedural in the most gripping way Plays like a thriller

2. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 617,732 | Gross: $4.36M

Essential! Idealized depiction of the American court system as well as an excellent example of class struggle in America

3. Pride (I) (2014)

R | 119 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

Director: Matthew Warchus | Stars: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine

Votes: 47,794

Prior knowledge of the 1980s miners strikes is recommended(coming from an American's perspective), but ultimately an effective movie about the subject. One of the only films that is effectively heartwarming but not overly cheesy. Easy and important viewing.

4. Milk (I) (2008)

R | 128 min | Biography, Drama

84 Metascore

The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna

Votes: 157,951 | Gross: $31.84M

Excellent. The story of Harvey Milk. Not only addresses the importance of his position, but also why he was so effective in his message (charisma!).

5. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Votes: 1,050,369 | Gross: $136.80M

A bit cheesy but serves its purpose (in a roundabout way) as an anti death penalty film. The length is especially needed for this purpose. Very humane.

6. Sicko (2007)

PG-13 | 123 min | Documentary, Drama

74 Metascore

A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories including shotgun deaths.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Tucker Albrizzi, Tony Benn, George W. Bush

Votes: 72,114 | Gross: $24.54M

7. Roger & Me (1989)

R | 91 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

Director Michael Moore pursues GM CEO Roger B. Smith to confront him about the harm he did to Flint, Michigan with his massive downsizing.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Roger B. Smith, Rhonda Britton, Fred Ross

Votes: 24,977 | Gross: $6.71M

8. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R | 120 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson, Salvador Allende

Votes: 136,057 | Gross: $21.24M

9. The Fisher King (1991)

R | 137 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

A former radio DJ, suicidally despondent because of a terrible mistake he made, finds redemption in helping a deranged homeless man who was an unwitting victim of that mistake.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Adam Bryant, Paul Lombardi

Votes: 74,773 | Gross: $41.90M

10. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

PG | 103 min | Documentary

80 Metascore

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple | Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks, John Corcoran

Votes: 4,493

11. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015)

Not Rated | 115 min | Documentary, History

79 Metascore

This documentary tells the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world's attention for nearly 50 years.

Director: Stanley Nelson | Stars: Blair Anderson, Omar Barbour, Julian Bond, Elaine Brown

Votes: 1,573 | Gross: $0.48M

12. The Weather Underground (2002)

Unrated | 92 min | Documentary, History, War

77 Metascore

The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous.

Directors: Sam Green, Bill Siegel | Stars: Lili Taylor, Pamela Z, Jim Lange, Evan White

Votes: 3,324 | Gross: $0.56M

13. Wormwood (2017)

241 min | Documentary, Biography

In 1953, Army scientist Frank Olson takes a fatal plunge from a hotel window. In 1975, a bombshell report ties his death to a top-secret experiment.

Stars: Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Christian Camargo, Scott Shepherd

Votes: 3,096

14. The Other Side of Everything (2017)

100 min | Documentary, Biography

83 Metascore

For Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, a locked door in her mother's apartment in Belgrade provides the gateway to both her remarkable family history and her country's tumultuous political inheritance.

Director: Mila Turajlic | Stars: Mirjana Karanovic, Srbijanka Turajlic

Votes: 884 | Gross: $0.00M

15. Jane (II) (2017)

PG | 90 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

The life and work of the renowned primatology scientist, Jane Goodall, especially on her research about chimpanzees.

Director: Brett Morgen | Stars: Jane Goodall, Hugo Van Lawick, Hugo Eric Louis van Lawick

Votes: 3,357 | Gross: $1.72M

16. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama, Fantasy

87 Metascore

In 1940, after watching and being traumatized by the movie Frankenstein (1931), a sensitive seven year-old girl living in a small Spanish village drifts into her own fantasy world.

Director: Víctor Erice | Stars: Fernando Fernán Gómez, Teresa Gimpera, Ana Torrent, Isabel Tellería

Votes: 15,402

17. Nashville (1975)

R | 160 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

96 Metascore

Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Keith Carradine, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Shelley Duvall

Votes: 21,683 | Gross: $14.82M

18. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 216,005 | Gross: $11.49M

19. Dick Cavett's Vietnam (2015 TV Movie)

55 min | Documentary, History, War

The history and controversy of America's involvement in the Vietnam War, illustrated by interviews from "The Dick Cavett Show".

Director: John Scheinfeld | Stars: Dick Cavett, Wesley Clark, Fredrik Logevall, Tim Naftali

Votes: 24

20. Dick Cavett's Watergate (2014 TV Movie)

55 min | Documentary, History

Numerous clips from The Dick Cavett Show are used to portrayal how, from 1972 to 1974, popular talk show host Dick Cavett covered in great detail the Watergate scandal on his show.

Director: John Scheinfeld | Stars: Dick Cavett, Tim Naftali, Carl Bernstein, John Dean

Votes: 34

21. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009)

Not Rated | 92 min | Documentary

75 Metascore

"The Most Dangerous Man in America" is the story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of ... See full summary »

Directors: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith | Stars: Peter Arnett, Ben Bagdikian, Ann Beeson, John Dean

Votes: 2,188 | Gross: $0.45M

22. Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2008)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary, History, News

82 Metascore

Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks.

Director: Anders Østergaard | Stars: George W. Bush, Ko Muang, Aung San Suu Kyi

Votes: 2,274 | Gross: $0.05M

23. Trouble the Water (2008)

Unrated | 93 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

A redemptive tale of an aspiring rap artist surviving failed levees and her own troubled past and seizing a chance for a new beginning.

Directors: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin | Stars: Michael Brown, George W. Bush, Julie Chen Moonves, Ray Nagin

Votes: 1,869 | Gross: $0.52M

24. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006–2007)

TV-MA | 255 min | Documentary

An examination of the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Stars: Darleen Asevedo, Jay Asevedo, Shelton Shakespear Alexander, Lee Arnold

Votes: 4,013

25. GasLand (2010)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary

An exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved.

Director: Josh Fox | Stars: Josh Fox, Dick Cheney, Pete Seeger, Richard Nixon

Votes: 10,011 | Gross: $0.03M

26. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

72 Metascore

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26.

Director: Brian Knappenberger | Stars: Aaron Swartz, Tim Berners-Lee, Cindy Cohn, Gabriella Coleman

Votes: 14,714 | Gross: $0.05M

27. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011)

Not Rated | 79 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure amongst architects, politicians and policy makers. ... See full summary »

Director: Chad Freidrichs | Stars: Slyvester Brown, Irvin Dagen, Elmer Fiedler, Robert Fishman

Votes: 766 | Gross: $0.04M

28. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

R | 147 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.

Director: F. Gary Gray | Stars: O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr.

Votes: 168,614 | Gross: $161.20M

29. No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger (1968)

86 min | Documentary

Filmed at an anti-war march from Harlem to the United Nations in 1967 on the occasion of Martin Luther King's speech at the U.N in which he questioned the disproportionate percentage of ... See full summary »

Director: David Loeb Weiss

Votes: 24

30. Into the Abyss (2011)

PG-13 | 107 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry, Damon Hall

Votes: 15,090 | Gross: $0.22M

31. The Last Laugh (I) (2016)

88 min | Documentary, Comedy

71 Metascore

World-famous comedians including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Gilbert Gottfried pitch in with their own views on the boundaries of comedy.

Director: Ferne Pearlstein | Stars: Renee Firestone, Klara Firestone, Gilbert Gottfried, Rob Reiner

Votes: 711

32. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

R | 90 min | Documentary, Animation, Biography

91 Metascore

An Israeli film director interviews fellow veterans of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to reconstruct his own memories of his term of service in that conflict.

Director: Ari Folman | Stars: Ari Folman, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Ori Sivan

Votes: 52,991 | Gross: $2.28M



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