American politics is, to say the least, colorful. Rife with equal parts triumph and controversy, the United States political scene is never short of picture perfect moments. Where there is an interesting story to be told, you can bet your bottom dollar Hollywood wants to tell it. While translating real life events to the big screen might be boggled down by inaccuracy, Tinsel town is no stranger to directors and actors who simply make it work. These five films should be on every film enthusiast’s playlist or archive.
JFK was one of America’s most beloved presidents. Oliver Stone does what he does best by combining an intriguing story and a star-studded cast including Joe Pesci, Kevin Costner and Gary Oldman to bring to life the On the Trail of the Assassins book adaptation of Kennedy’s assassination.
All the King’s Men(1949)
Accurate book adaptations have a way of bringing out the best in a story. This Robert Rossen directed film noir explores the exploits of Willie Stark as he turns dark in his quest to become governor. The movie lived up to the book’s Pulitzer Prize win by scooping 3 Oscar wins and getting 4 Oscar nods in major categories. It performed significantly better than the 2006 version.
California sure is an interesting place. Milk is a biopic on the life of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay public official. Sean Penn and Josh Brolin shine in this Dustin Lance Black work of art that received six Oscar nods and two wins.
Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb(1964)
Just known as Dr. Strangelove, this Stanley Kubrick black comedy serves up a hearty laugh by exploring what an insane general could do with the big red button that could trigger a war between two superpowers. Peter Sellers and Sterling Walter Hayden deliver sterling – pun not intended – performances as President Merkin Muffley/ Dr. Strangelove and General Jack Ripper respectively. Although it was nominated for numerous Oscars, I won none, but it has received other notable awards such as BAFTAs.
The Manchurian Candidate(1962)
Frank Sinatra, Cuban Missile Crisis period release date, and the cold war. These three elements make this John Frankenheimer directed neo-noir a truly accurate masterpiece. It follows an MK-Ultra-esque portrayal of the brainwashing of a prisoner of war. So masterful was this film that it is archived in the United States National Film Registry. Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep paired up in a 2004 remake.
Daniel Day-Lewis earns another feather in his method acting cap as President Abraham Lincoln in his final days as he tries to abolish slavery. In this Stephen Spielberg directed gem, Tommy Lee Jones, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are equally exceptional making it earn numerous Golden Globe and Oscar nominations and subsequent wins.