Democracy Goes to the Movies:
A list of political films from the
Springfield City Library
- 1776 (1972)
- A musical celebration of the founding of the United States of America, centering around the familiar historical characters as they organize a movement for independence from Mother England. All events lead up to that most significant date, July 4, 1776, when the Declaration was signed. Based on the musical play "1776" produced on the New York stage by Stuart Ostrow. Starring William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, and Ken Howard; directed by Peter H. Hunt.
- Advise and Consent (1962) [Available through C/WMARS]
- Political machinations and tragedy as the President's nominee for Secretary of State faces the Senate approval process. Based on the novel by Allen Drury. Starring Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton and Don Murray; directed by Otto Preminger.
- All the King's Men (1949)
- A political demagogue governor of a Southern State believes that every man has his price and that the end justifies the means. Based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren. Starring Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, and John Ireland; directed by Robert Rossen. Remade in 2006 in a version starring Sean Penn.
- All the President's Men (1976)
- A dramatic reconstruction of the true story of the discovery of the White House link with the Watergate affair by two young reporters from the Washington Post. Based on the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford; directed by Alan J. Pakula.
- The Best Man (1964) VHS [Available through C/WMARS]
- Two candidates - one a conscience-ridden intellectual, the other a ruthless opportunist - are vying for their party's nomination for President. Finally it all hinges on the endorsement of the ex-President who thrives on infighting and deplores indecision. Starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson; directed by Franklin Schaffner.
- Born Yesterday (1951)
- A corrupt millionaire junk dealer, in Washington to deal for government contracts, is embarrassed by his girlfriend's lack of social sophistication and arranges to have her trained in a crash course in "culture." He is surprised and outraged when after becoming aware of her role as pawn in his crooked business deals, she refuses to cooperate. From the play by Garson Kanin. Starring Judy Holliday, William Holden, and Broderick Crawford; directed by George Cukor.
- Bob Roberts (1992) [Available through C/WMARS]
- A corrupt rightwing folksinger runs a crooked election campaign while only one independent muck-raking reporter is trying to stop him. Starring Tim Robbins and Giancarlo Esposito; directed by Tim Robbins.
- Bulworth (1999) [Available through C/WMARS]
- Believing his career is over, Senator Jay Bulworth takes out an enormous insurance policy and a contract on his own life. His impending death fills him with an outrageous desire to break the rules and tell it like it is. Starring Warren Beatty, Halle Berry and Oliver Platt; directed by Warren Beatty.
- The Candidate (1972)
- While Richard Nixon is on his way to re-election by a landslide, a young, honest, idealistic lawyer begins to learn the truth about running for office. Starring Robert Redford and Peter Boyle; directed by Michael Ritchie.
- Charlie Wilson' War (?!)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- Orson Welles' controversial film, hailed as the best American film ever made, is a portrait of Charles Foster Kane, revealing America's love of power and materialism and the resultant corruption. Starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and other members of the Mercury Theater acting troupe; directed by Orson Welles.
- The Contender (2000)
- The Vice President of the United States is dead, and as the President makes his choice for a replacement, a secret contest of wills is being waged by a formidable rival. When Senator Laine Hanson is nominated as the first woman in history to hold the office, hidden agendas explode into a battle for power. Starring Gary Oldman, Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges; written and directed by Rod Lurie.
- Dave (1993)
- A lookalike is hired to impersonate the president who has suffered a stroke. What no one counted on is his idealism. Starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, and Frank Langella; directed by Ivan Reitman.
- A Face in the Crowd (1957) [Available through C/WMARS]
- An Arkansas hobo becomes an overnight media sensation. But as he becomes drunk with fame and power, will he ever be exposed as the fraud he has become? Starring Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal; directed by Elia Kazan.
- The Farmer's Daughter (1947)
- An independent Swedish farm girl revolts against her boss and beau by running for his seat in Congress. Starring Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten; directed by H.C. Potter.
- The Great McGinty (1940)
- Dan McGinty has great success in his chosen field of crooked politics. But endangers it all in one crazy moment of honesty... Starring Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus and Akim Tamiroff; written and directed by Preston Sturges.
- The Last Hurrah (1958)
- Frank Skeffington, the political boss of a New England town, fights his last campaign. This flavorful melodrama is based on Edwin O'Connor's novel of politics, loosely patterned after the life of Boston's Mayor Curley. Starring Spencer Tracy and Jeffrey Hunter; directed by John Ford.
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
- A U.S. Army platoon, captured in the Korean conflict, is whisked to Manchuria for three nightmarish days of experimental drug-and-hypnosis-induced conditioning that transform one soldier into a human time bomb. Based on the novel by Richard Condon. Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury; directed by John Frankenheimer.
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
- Washington's youngest senator exposes corruption in high places, almost at the cost of his career. A classic from director Frank Capra. Starring Jean Arthur, James Stewart, and Claude Rains.
- Primary Colors (1998)
- Follows a virtually unknown Southern governor on a quest for the White House with his strong, savvy and equally ambitious wife. Based on the novel by Anonymous (later revealed to be Joe Klein). Starring John Travolta and Emma Thompson; directed by Mike Nichols.
- Seven Days in May (1964)
- An American general's aide discovers that his boss intends a military takeover because he considers the President's pacifism traitorous. Based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel & Charles W. Bailey II; screenplay by Rod Serling. Starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Fredric March; directed by John Frankenheimer.
- State of the Union (1948) [Available through C/WMARS]
- An idealistic industrialist runs for the presidency and is in for some surprises. Based on the play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn; directed by Frank Capra.
- Wag the Dog (1997)
- When the President is caught in a sex scandal less than 2 weeks before the election, "Mr. Fix-it" decides they need a war to distract the public's attention and he calls on Hollywood's top producer to create it. Based on the book American Hero by Larry Beinhart. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro; directed by Barry Levinson.
For more on political films, including reviews and essays, visit the Political Film Society.
All videos or DVDs are available in the Springfield City Library system unless otherwise noted.
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