From current events to historical investigations, these are the 10 best political documentaries ever made. Whether you're a political junkie or just curious about the process of how government works, you might be interested in sitting down with a bowl of popcorn to watch a few flicks about politics.
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004). Love him or hate him, Michael Moore knows how to get people talking. This winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival investigates the aftermath of the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia on September 11, 2000, and includes a look at the Bush administration's relationship to Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden family.
The Weather Underground (2002). The sixties were a time of change in America, and the The Weather Underground tells the story the Weathermen, a radical group bent on overthrowing the U.S. government. Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary includes historical footage, as well as more recent interviews with those involved in the organization.
"The Kennedy Assassination" (2009). Long the subject of a range of conspiracy theories, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is covered in this fascinating documentary. It puts together transcripts and media coverage for the 24 hours following the president's murder. A must-see on this list of best political documentaries.
"Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy" (2002). This three-part, six-hour documentary takes on macroeconomics, explaining its relationship to politics. Spending six hours watching a film about economics may seem like a snooze, but Commanding Heights is anything but boring.
"American Radical: Trials of Norman Finkelstein" (2009). Whether you believe Jewish-American political scientist Norman Finkelstein is an extremist or a hero for his views on Israel and Palestein, you don't want to miss this documentary. A film crew follow Finkelstein, takes a look at his life, and investigates how his beliefs came to form. It manages to be respectful to both Finkelstein and his detractors.
"Frontline: The Warning" (2009). PBS produced this documentary about the economic meltdown that hit the U.S. in 2008, presenting evidence about how it all happened and what led up to it Knowing how it all went down can help us all prevent it from happening again.
"Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Media" (1992). Interested in political activist Noam Chomsky? Be sure to check out Manufacturing Consent, a documentary that investigates Chomsky's ideas and career. If you've ever wondered about how or if the U.S. government influences American media, this is one documentary to put on your list.
"Outfoxed – Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" (2004). Is Fox News fair and balanced, as they claim? Outfoxed examines Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch's ideology and the tactics used by Fox News to impact both media and politics.
"American Experience: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" (2008). American Presidents are always a source of fascination for us, and Abraham Lincoln is no exception. This PBS film, one of the best political documentaries, addresses the life and death of this president, including points of contention about his religion and politics.
"American Drug War: The Last White Hope" (2007). The War on Drugs has been going on for decades with no progress. Why has it not been more effective? Be sure to check out this documentary that examines this crack down on illegal drugs, as well as options for success.