It’s easy to get burned out on politics in today’s 24-hour news saturated world. If you’re looking for a tonic for this ailment, you might want to try a political movie or two. When done well, there are few subgenres as captivating as the one that deals with the world of American politics. With that in mind, here are five of the best political movies ever made.
“Mr. Smith Goes To Washington“ Even though it was made way back in 1939, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is probably the definitive movie about American politics. The theme of political corruption is unfortunately still as relevant today as it was back then, if not more so. The story is all “Capra-corn“: Down-home Boy Scout leader Jefferson Smith is selected as a replacement for a deceased senator due to his naive nature. The guys in charge of such things assume he’ll be easy to manipulate, but Smith’s uncynical and idealistic nature makes him a crusader for common sense in Washington. Even if you have no interest in American politics, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is simply great, inspirational entertainment.
“The Cat’s-Paw” Silent film comedian Harold Lloyd made a “talkie” in the ‘30s that has some striking similarities to the later “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Once again, the plot deals with a naive hayseed (this time, that hayseed is an American missionary raised in China) who gets elected to higher office. But unlike Mr. Smith, who uses the traditional techniques like filibustering to fight for what’s right, Lloyd’s character goes a little nuts. In a bizarre sequence straight out a a Fu Manchu film, he stages a series of decapitations of corrupt people in the city. You read that right – this sweet, Capra-esque romantic comedy turns into something very much resembling a horror movie.