6 Movies About Revolution Any Dissident Should Watch

Thursday, March 15 by Stu Moody

French Revolution Movies

Revolution: Some people claim that they can smell it in the air. When the winds of change start blowing, two things are certain. First, a new regime, hopefully sponsored by the will of the people, is about to take ownership of its government. Second, Hollywood is going to make a big-budget movie about the revolution. They can't help themselves, there's just too many good stories to tell. There's political upheaval, violence, heartbreak, and hopefully a little justice as well. These six films document some of the best moments in the history of revolution, and they're films that any political dissident should watch!



One of the modern forerunners of the three hour movie (see also: "Titanic"), "Braveheart" tells the story of a clan of Scottish warriors who rebel against the British. Mel Gibson, in his long-haired kilt-wearing glory, leads his band of big, hairy dudes in a series of extremely brutal battles. The movie was heralded at the time for its editing during these battle scenes, and rightly so, as they do a great job of helping to convey the chaotic nature of medieval war. William Wallace was extremely committed to his cause, and even kept his resolve while his privates were being removed. Now that's dedication!


"The Patriot"

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	Mel Gibson has a thing for battling the British. He figured that "<span data-scayt_word=Braveheart" made him some big bucks, so he may as well dip back into the revolution movie well by making a flick about the American Revolution. By bringing in then-heartthrob Heath Ledger, Gibson had himself a recipe for success. He put a more personal story to the well-known story of how America fought for its independence, and the end result is ultimately a mixed bag. Still, the American Revolution makes for a good story, and its lessons about standing up against a detached monarchy is more prescient than ever these days.


"V for Vendetta"

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	Based on the graphic novel by the same name, "V for Vendetta" takes place in the near-future in London. The Guy <span data-scayt_word=Fawkes mask that was highly featured prior to its release has become sort of an icon when it comes to battling tyranny, and for good reason. This movie features a top-notch performance from Hugo Weaving, and his semi-anarchic approach to spotlighting corruption stands out in the minds of anyone who's seen the movie. Sadly, like most revolutionaries, V meets an untimely end.


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Che Guevara has become something of a revolutionary icon since his death, and this movie takes a two-pronged approach to bringing his story to the big screen. While the first part of the movie shows his Cuban revolution and dethroning of Batista, part two shows his revolutionary approach to the Bolivian regime, and his subsequent death. The movie is shot in a non-linear style, assuming that most viewers are familiar with the circumstances of Guevara's life. For any dissident who wants to learn the story behind their Che posters, this movie is for you.


"Battle of Algiers"

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A movie that shows the importance of urban guerilla warfare, "Battle of Algiers" was made in 1966, only a few years after the actual revolution in North Africa had occurred. While the French had the colonial rebels outgunned, the rebels had the advantage of fortifications in their homeland and knowledge of the terrain that French troopers didn't have. The movie focuses more on the years when the tide of the war began to turn rather than the outcome, and it remains to this day an important piece of revolutionary cinema.


"Fight Club"

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	While the scope of the revolution in "Fight Club" isn't necessarily as <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/epic/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>epic</a> as some of these political movies, the movie still makes a lot of good points about consumerism and a man's place in society. While some people like to bog down the movie discussion with ideas like "Neo Marxist Tribalism" and other such nonsense, what you need to know is that the movie is darkly funny, and it gets its points across in a subversive kind of way. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are at their best here, and <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/david-lynch-824/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>David Lynch</a> isn't far behind with his direction. If you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and watch it.</p>
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