A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO KEEP YOU FROM GOING NUTS ON ELECTION DAY

Ideas for a Political Movies Festival

By Gary Meyer

I think it is much healthier to watch reruns (WEST WING, JOHN ADAMS or VEEP) than the returns on Election Night.

Or better yet revisit some great movies

I kept this to dramas and comedies about U.S. politics.  There are just too many great documentaries so check out some lists here.

I actually started programming a series several years ago and updated it for 2020.

I suggest some double features or make your own festival. This was done too quickly to provide details or links to most films.

These are not in any special order but let’s start with a cartoon.

 

Stanley Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE plus THE MOUSE THAT ROARED both with Peter Sellars in multiple roles.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: two takes from John Frankenheimer and Jonathan Demme.

DAVE and THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT

BEING THERE and THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST

 

SELMA plus MILK

HAMILTON and 1776 (not well received upon release in 1972 but the director’s cut has gained an appreciative following. The comparison of these two might be interesting.)

Preston Sturges’ THE GREAT MCGINTY with Frank Capra’s STATE OF THE UNION

Elia Kazan’s A FACE IN THE CROWD plus Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE

ELECTION and NAPOLEON DYNAMITE

ADVISE AND CONSENT with THE BEST MAN

The Marx Brothers in DUCK SOUP and W.C. Fields in MILLION DOLLAR LEGS

BULWORTH plus BLAZE  

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN and THE POST

ALL THE KING’S MEN with CITIZEN KANE

 

BOB ROBERTS with THE IDES OF MARCH

INDEPENDENCE DAY and MARS ATTACKS

WAG THE DOG plus THE CANDIDATE

MEET JOHN DOE plus MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

THE CONTENDER and PRIMARY COLORS

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY & FAIL SAFE

IN THE LOOP plus THE CAMPAIGN

CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR with GAME CHANGE

WILD IN THE STREETS & ESCAPE FROM LA

IN THE LINE OF FIRE plus PARALLAX VIEW

FAIR GAME and NO WAY OUT

EXECUTIVE ACTION & CONSPIRACY THEORY

AIR FORCE ONE and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER

IDIOCRACY with TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE

Inside the beltway pre-code Triple Bill: GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE and WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND plus WASHINGTON MASQUERADE

THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT with THE SENATOR WAS INDISCREET

THE LAST HURRAH and BEAU JAMES

KEY TO THE CITY plus KISSES FOR MY PRESIDENT

A lot of films have been made based on the lives of real American presidents.

Make your own  Nixon Follies Film Festival from: NIXON, DICK, SECRET HONOR, ELVIS AND NIXON, and FROST/NIXON.

Before he was President Barack Obama, he had a bad story and these two fictionalized films explore that time in SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU and BARRY.

President Kennedy selection: JFK, PT 109, THIRTEEN DAYS, EXECUTIVE ACTION.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: SUNRISE AT CAMPEBELLO, HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, HELL-BENT FOR ELECTION ( a UPA allegorical cartoon directed by Chuck Jones designed to inspire voting for FDR) ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN and sequel ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN:THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS, WARM SPRINGS (and and exception to my docs rule: Ken Burns’ marathon THE ROOSEVELTS).

Abraham Lincoln inspired numerous films including

LINCOLN, YOUNG MR, LINCOLN, ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS, ABRAHAM LINCOLN-VAMPIRE HUNTER, and THE CONSPIRATOR.

And there are other celluloid presidents to consider.

LBJ, , GIVE ‘EM HELL, HARRY!, and WILSON are a few.

I suspect Olive Stone and Michael Moore will take on Trump and I plan to stay far away.

To see what actors played real Presidents take a look here.

“When Our (Fictional) Presidents Are Tested by Their Moments” by Joshua Rothkopf in The New York Times.

Presidents in the Movies: American History and Politics on Screen (The Evolving American Presidency) by I. Morgan

The Leading Man: Hollywood and the Presidential Image  by Burton W. Peretti

Are you in the mood for some Film Noir or thrillers with dirty politicians?

 

SUDDENLY

THE BOSS

THE GLASS KEY

ALIAS NICK BEAL

THE RACKET

THEY WON’T FORGET

 

 

Matt Novak is writing a book about all the movies that American presidents have watched while in office, from Teddy Roosevelt to Donald Trump. Tentatively titled All The Presidents’ Movies. The Novak Archive is a fun place to see what he has gathered.

He talks about the project on Studio 360 podcast.

Mega List of Presidential Movies  AT 50 Roads

 

The White House Museum’s page on “The Family Theater”

Movie night at the White House: a century of screenings, decoded”– What the leader of the free world watches for fun, from BIRTH OF A NATION to FINDING DORY by Matthew Sweet on The Economist.

Want more?

Read Howie Movshovitz discussing some of the best political movies for The Colorado Sun..

Try Ranker’s Best Political comedies, The Best Movies about Presidents, and The Best Political Movies.  There are several more lists at the bottom of each group.

 

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