In case you didn’t notice from your opinion-barraged social media pages, voting day is upon us. Whether you look forward to this time or just want to vote and not hear another word about politics, here are several great movies themed around the idea of elections — and now is the perfect time to give them a watch.
“Wag the Dog” (1997)
This black comedy film is known more for its foreshadowing than anything else. Loosely adapted from the novel “American Hero,” the story follows a District of Columbia spin-doctor (Robert De Niro) who works with a Hollywood film producer (Dustin Hoffman) to construct a fake war with Albania. The goal is to draw attention away from an upcoming sex scandal involving the president of the U.S. two weeks before the next election.
One month after the release of “Wag the Dog,” the Lewinsky scandal involving then-President Bill Clinton hit, followed by the coincidental bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.
Directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, this film is considered one of the top election-related films for its political comedy and unique story. After the president gets into an extramarital affair with a White House staffer, he hires an impersonator as a cover-up. But during the initial meeting, the president has a stroke and is left in a coma.
The impersonator, played by Kline, is asked to continue standing in for the president since other top White House staff don’t have confidence in the current vice president.
“All the President’s Men” (1976)
Arguably one of the best journalism movies of all time, this film follows two Washington Post reporters who uncover the dishonest election tactics utilized by Richard Nixon during the 1972 Presidential Election. It stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the two reports.
“All the President’s Men” received widespread praise upon release and in 2010 was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
“The Manchurian Candidate” (2004)
This sci-fi political thriller stars Denzel Washington as a proud war veteran who discovers that he has been the victim of nanotechnological experimentation and brainwashing. He eventually discovers that his former NCO, now a U.S. congressman, was also manipulated by a major private equity firm with political connections into running as his party’s vice president.
“The Manchurian Candidate” was well received, offering a chilling depiction of the theoretical power of technology to sway elections.
“Napoleon Dynamite” (2004)
Yes, this comedy is themed around the idea of running for election. “Vote for Pedro,” remember? “Napoleon Dynamite” tells the goofy story of an awkward teenage boy who helps a Mexican transfer student run for class president. From spreading embarrassing rumors about the competition to buying student votes with gifts, the film is not unlike your average presidential election.
“Napoleon Dynamite,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2004, was a surprise hit, winning numerous awards and even developing a cult following.
This political comedy movie is about a California senator who becomes an unlikely favorite to become president of the U.S. The story follows this senator, played by Warren Beatty, as he struggles to maintain a good public image amidst his fight against substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and an assassin.
“Bulsworth” was nominated for a dozen awards and won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Best Screenplay award. In a private talk with The New York Times in 2013, President Barack Obama referenced the film when saying he often considered “going Bulworth.”
What are your favorite election-related films? Let us know in the comments below!