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  • Writer's pictureValerie A. Higgs

The 100 Most Significant Political Films of All Time

The New Republic just released a list of the 100 Most Significant Political Films of All Time, and of course, I have thoughts

I am very interested in getting into this list.

In high school, our history teacher announced that we would watch All the President's Men the following week. I had heard about it. It had been out for over a decade, but I had never thought to watch it. At the time, my top three movies were The Godfather, The Wizard of Oz, and Star Wars. Not too bad for a 15-year-old, but also a bit cliche. My feelings for films based on real events changed after watching ATPM with my class.

I was riveted. I hadn't thought that a movie based on actual events could be this interesting. I had seen the Jim Jones miniseries with Powers Booth, but that was a different animal. ATPM got into details that I would have been disinterested in reading in the paper.

Decades later, I have counted these types of films as necessary watching and some of my favorites.

If Moneyball is on, I'm watching. Same with The Post, and Spotlight.

I also "discovered" Margaret Mitchell when I watched Julia Roberts play her in the television miniseries "Gaslit". She is a major political figure ignored by historians. I thought I knew everything about the break-in at the Watergate Hotel. Clearly, I did not. Give it a watch when you can. Julia Roberts actually disappeared into the role. After you watch, Google to your heart's content.

As for politically significant films (as most of those movies I mentioned are), I briefly scanned to see what was at the top of the list. All the President's Men at #4. The Manchurian Candidate, another big favorite of mine, is at #2. I didn't see that one until they re-released it in the 1990s. It's a shame they remade it because it was definitely weak. Sorry, Denzel.

I will have to take a look at The Battle at Algiers, which is #1 on the list. Another one I keep planning to watch is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which is #3.


I have to admit that I lost a little steam mid-post because I noticed a tweet about the predicted cancellation of the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel. I am thunderstruck and won't be able to concentrate for the rest of the day. Here is the NY Times article I found about this morning's firing of the top brass.

This cannot stand.

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