Films on Elections

See Also:  FILMS ON ELECTIONS — SATIRES AND COMEDIES

Citizen Koch

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 25m. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, this film explores the mounting struggle between money and American democracy.

Electoral Dysfunction

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 27m. Correspondent Mo Rocca takes viewers on a humorous and disquieting tour of the United States electoral system, focusing on its many contradictions.

Patriocracy

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr  26m. This incisive and timely documentary examines the extreme polarization of the U.S. political landscape and seeks to identify the underlying causes. Politicians, journalists and pundits share their theories regarding America’s current age of anxiety. See Full Review

The Ides of March

Docudrama 2011 R 101 minutes. Dirty tricks stand to soil an ambitious young press spokesman’s idealism in a cutthroat presidential campaign where “victory” is relative. The film is inspired by the real-life experiences of an aide who worked on Howard Dean’s failed 2004 run. Youth and political idealism are casually sacrificed on the altar of unbridled political ambition. George Clooney plays Mike Morris, a liberal’s dream candidate — handsome, telegenic and sounding all the right liberal notes. Ryan Gosling plays a smart, up-and-coming member of Morris’ campaign staff as press secretary – a young believer in truth and fair play — and naive purist who must adapt or die in a world ruled by wolves in sheep’s clothing. Eat or be eaten in the dog eat dog world that is the United States political race. The first hour or so of this film centers around a hotly contested Democratic primary campaign. This shows some of the corruption, dishonor, and lies in politics. And the dirty tricks don’t stop with the candidates themselves; they trickle down into the machinations of political campaigns, and can affect the most innocent of all. In this dark story, Mike Morris (Clooney), a liberal, is running against a more conservative senator in a primary race – and the gloves eventually come off.

Granny D Goes to Washington

Documentary 2007 NR 26m. An 89-year-old idealist walks across the United States to demand that lawmakers reduce the role of special interest money in politics, focusing on campaign finance reform. This film is very inspiring…to see that someone cared enough about the United States and its people to walk across the country at the age of 89 putting her life at risk. The journey would be challenging to even the fittest of athletes yet Granny-D let the importance of her cause inspire her to keeep moving in spite of her collapse in the heat of the desert. Campaign contributions are a bain to true democracy. Soft money contributions by corporations were undermining the ability of the people to self-govern. This film illustrates the power of one…one who has the determination to make a difference. Starting on January 1, 1999, she walked over 3,200 miles (5,100 km) across the continental United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. Haddock’s walk across the country followed a southern route and took more than a year to complete, starting on January 1, 1999, in southern California and ending in Washington, D.C., on February 29, 2000. She influenced people all across the U.S. as she walked, and when she arrived in Washington D.C. prominent politicians like John McCain were eager to talk with her and proud to see an American with such love for her country and the democratic process. Such acts are what the U.S. has been built upon. In 2004, she ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Judd Gregg for the U.S. Senate. But in 2010 the Citizens United decision overturned the McCain-Feingold reform barring soft money. What a tragedy to see all your hard work over the last decade overturned in an instant. While Granny-D was successful in influencing campaign finance reform laws, in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court changed the laws in favor of soft money proponents by giving corporations the ability to spend unlimited funds in our elections. The case: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This action opened the flood gates and bad money is now buying influence with our members of Congress. Sadly, this law was passed January 21, 2010, almost 100 years to the day from Granny-D’s birth. Granny-D died March 9, 2010 — about 6 weeks after the Supreme Court decision at the age of 100 in Dublin, New Hampshire. The founders of the U.S. had the same enthusiasm, fortitude and dedication. Granny-D — hope you are proud, wherever you may be. Thank you!!

Housequake

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 32m. Capturing political theater, this documentary recounts the Democratic Party’s takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2006 elections.

Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election

Documentary 2002 UR 49 minutes. Filmmakers Joan Sekler and Richard Ray Perez rehash the dramatic events of the 2000 presidential election, exposing a chain of incidents they claim led up to the battle for the presidency in Florida and the undermining of democracy in America. Narrated by Peter Coyote, this revealing documentary examines an allegedly suspicious pattern of irregularities, injustices and voter purges — all in a state governed by the winning candidate’s brother. See Full Review

American Blackout

Documentary 2006 NR 92 minutes. In this award-winning indictment of the election process, guerilla journalist Ian Inaba follows the efforts of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to expose disturbing tactics that systematically disenfranchise black voters and silence dissent. A passionate advocate for civil rights, McKinney calls on all citizens to question the political machinery and protect democracy from the institutionalized racism imperiling the country.See Full Review

Karl Rove
The Architect of President George W. Bush’s Reelection

Documentary Frontline 2005 NR 60 minutes. The acclaimed, hard-hitting PBS show Frontline takes on Karl Rove, so to speak, in this insightful profile of the man dubbed the architect of President George W. Bush’s return to the White House. As chief adviser and strategist, Rove has been a controversial figure in Washington. Get to know the very private politico largely believed to be one of the most powerful men of the Republican party, and see how he made his way to the top of the political chain.

Bush’s Brain

Documentary 2004 PG-13 80 minutes.  Based on a book by James C. Moore and Wayne Slater, this documentary examines how Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s closest advisor, has shaped the policies of our nation, charting the role Rove has played in Bush’s rise to the top. Feared and admired by Republicans and Democrats alike, Rove’s remarkable political influence raises a disturbing question for Americans: Who really runs the country?

Boogie Man
The Lee Atwater Story

Documentary 2008 NR 88 minutes. This documentary from director Stefan Forbes examines the political and personal life of the late Lee Atwater, notorious for his no-holds-barred strategies that powered the campaign of George H.W. Bush. Forbes analyzes Atwater’s pivotal role in the rise of the Republican Party in the 1980s, and also documents a decidedly less partisan side of the strategist, including his passion for playing the blues.

By the People: The Election of Barack Obama

Documentary 2009 NR 116 minutes. Filmed during the historic 2008 presidential election campaign, this documentary goes behind the scenes to trace the journey of Barack Obama from his seat in the United States Senate to his inauguration as America’s first biracial president. Filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams offer candid footage of Obama and his aides from inside the campaign and also examine the fervent grassroots movement that helped propel Obama to the White House.See Full Review

Game Change

Docudrama 2012 TV-MA 118 minutes. Based on the best-selling nonfiction book, this political docudrama follows the historic 2008 presidential race with a focus on the sometimes contentious relationship between Sarah Palin and the aides to Republican nominee John McCain. Joanne Moore and Woody Harrelson shine as teammates turned adversaries in this behind-the-scenes recreation of the McCain campaign. See Full Review

Sarah Palin: You Betcha!

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr  31m. Filmmaker Nick Broomfield tracks down friends, relatives and colleagues of polarizing Alaska politician Sarah Palin in this irreverent documentary. Among those interviewed are Palin’s father and plenty of folks with axes to grind. See Full Review

Big Sky, Big Money

Documentary Frontline 2012 Oct30. A look at how the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ decision changed US election campaigns. Focuses on Montana. Link to View This Frontline Story for Free (Listed by Date 2012 Oct30): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/

Grassroots

Docudramedy 2012 R 1hr 38m. Based on a true story, this inspiring comedy tells the tale of unemployed writer Phil Campbell, who’s roped into helping his quirky friend Grant run for Seattle city council. Surprisingly, Grant’s passion for mass transit may win him the election. Wow, for those who love local politics or those who ever worked in politics, this is a must-see feel-good movie.

Hot Coffee
Is Justice Being Served?

Documentary 2011 NR 89 minutes. This documentary examines the so-called “hot coffee lawsuit” in which a woman sued McDonald’s after she spilled her coffee and burned herself, specifically looking at the reasons why the many major corporations through the Chamber of Commerce invested heaps of money to sway public opinion and buy elections for State Supreme Court Justices in many states. See Full Review

Ralph Nader
An Unreasonable Man

Documentary 2006 NR 2hr 2m. Thought-provoking and revealing, this biographical documentary profiles the personal and professional life of Ralph Nader, one of America’s most controversial consumer advocates and political activists. Interviews and archival footage help illuminate the career of an influential public figure whose willingness to take on big industry earned him a reputation as both a working-class hero and a public pariah after the 2000 presidential election. See Full Review

Bush Family Fortunes
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Documentary 2004 NR 61 minutes. This is a documentary by Greg Palast, a reporter and filmmaker who tailed the political clan, especially George W. Bush, from the highly contested 2000 presidential election win in Florida to the purported influence they exerted on behalf of the bin Ladens. Palast also treads on the same ground that the iconic Michael Moore covered, connecting the dots between the Bushes and the House of Saud.

Home of the Brave

Documentary 2004 NR 1hr 14m. This documentary chronicles the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, who was killed for participating in a march for black voting rights.  Viola’s death helped pass the Voting Rights act of 1965. This is fascinating documentary about a forgotten woman in the civil rights movement, an amazing story that somehow got lost in time. Among the stories of Dr. King, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, this story should be told. It reveals how intimately the FBI was involved in her murder, the coverup which followed it, and what happened to Ms. Liuzzo’s reputation at the hands of the FBI in the aftermath of her killing. Moving, inspiring, distressing, this movie unseats any vestige of trust in our government’s respect for human life and rights. Well-done documentary about people who were at ground zero of the civil rights movement. Bravo to all concerned that her heroism has seen the light of day! I believe this is something that can and should be shown to schoolchildren, a memorial to a woman who gave her life for what she believed in, and who should not be forgotten.

The Jesus Factor

Documentary Frontline 2004. As an evangelical Christian, President Bush has something in common with the 46 percent of Americans who describe themselves as being “born again” or having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Often has the president recounted praying about major decisions facing the nation–but what do we actually know about the rudiments of George Bush’s faith? To what extent do the president’s spiritual beliefs impact or influence his political decision-making? And how closely do Bush’s religious views mirror those of the country’s burgeoning–and politically influential–evangelical movement?

The Best Government Money Can Buy?

Documentary 2009 NR 76 minutes. Just how influential are lobbyists? Francis Megahy writes and directs this absorbing documentary about lobbyists’ role in American politics, the far-reaching implications of their spending on elections and their threat to democracy. In addition to exploring case studies from several industries such as health care and energy, the film features insights from Capitol Hill insiders, former White House officials and more. See Full Review

Brazil: The Obama Samba

Documentary Frontline / World 2009. In a small town on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Claudio Henrique is campaigning to become his city’s first black mayor. While Brazil has one of the largest black populations on Earth, the vast majority of its politicians are white. So Claudio decided to run for office under a name that would capture the historic nature of his quest…Barack Obama. Reporter Andres Cediel hits the campaign trail with Brazil’s Obama.

Saturday Night Live: Presidential Bash 2008

Satire 2008 TV-14 1hr 24m. In anticipation of the 2008 presidential election, “SNL” aired this roundup of skits spoofing politicos old and new, featuring nuanced impressions from Dan Aykroyd’s Pres. Richard Nixon to Tina Fey’s uncanny Gov. Sarah Palin.

Election 2008
The World is Watching

Documentary Frontline / World 2008. In 2008 many argued that the next U.S. president would have such a direct impact on their lives that every citizen of the world should be given at least half a vote. Visit our 2008 election coverage where our reporters fanned out across the globe — from Afghanistan to Albania and Iran to Indonesia — to cover the international perspective on one of the most anticipated elections in modern history.

Electile Dysfunction

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 29m. Filmmakers Joe Barber and Mary Patel examine the dysfunctional world of American politics through the prism of the 2006 United States Senate race between Democrat Bob Casey Jr. and Republican Rick Santorum. Gullible media, corporate influence and hyper-managed candidate personas are among the myriad subjects covered in this incisive documentary, which includes interviews with Barack Obama, Al Gore, Ed Rendell and many others.

Slacker Uprising
(Captain Mike Across America, Michael Moore’s Uprising)

Documentary 2007 NR 97 minutes. Michael Moore’s documentary captures the excitement of his 2004 Slacker Uprising Tour, in which he visited 62 cities, hoping to mobilize swing state “slackers” to get up, get out and cast their first votes in a presidential election. With the promise of free Ramen noodles and no politicians, thousands of young people showed up each night to listen to Moore, along with entertainers such as R.E.M., Eddie Vedder and Viggo Mortensen.

Street Fight

Documentary 2005 NR 82 minutes. Raising hard questions about American politics, democracy and race, Marshall Curry’s incisive Oscar-nominated documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of Newark, N.J.’s cutthroat mayoral race of 2002. The candidates: young Ivy League upstart Cory Booker vs. incumbent Sharpe James, an old-timer who’s not above using questionable tactics to achieve victory. The gloves come off as the contenders lock horns in a battle to win the most voters.

Election 2004
Dispatches from a Small Planet

Documentary Frontline / World 2004. Frontline/World scours the planet to bring you global views on the U.S. presidential race. Join young “backpack” journalists and veteran correspondents around the world as they report international perspectives on the 2004 U.S. presidential race. How do people from countries such as Lebanon, Thailand, Canada and Venezuela view the U.S. election? And what issues are they dealing with in their own elections?

American Blackout

Documentary 2006 NR 92 minutes. In this award-winning indictment of the election process, guerilla journalist Ian Inaba follows the efforts of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to expose disturbing tactics that systematically disenfranchise black voters and silence dissent. A passionate advocate for civil rights, McKinney calls on all citizens to question the political machinery and protect democracy from the institutionalized racism imperiling the country.

Recount

Docudrama 2008 NR 116 minutes. This Emmy-winning made-for-TV movie chronicles the extraordinary behind-the-scenes drama that unfolded in the weeks following the highly controversial 2000 election — a presidential race that further split an already divided America. With the nation’s leadership in the balance, the battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore comes down to a hotly contested vote count in Florida. Kevin Spacey and Laura Dern (in a Golden Globe-winning role) star.

Recount Democracy

Documentary 2002 NR 74 minutes. This compelling investigative documentary examines the controversy surrounding the possible voting irregularities in Florida during the hotly contested 2000 presidential election. The program looks into various voting rights violations; the claims that the votes of 180,000 Floridians — primarily racial minorities and lower income individuals — weren’t counted; and the efforts to undermine and prevent the recount process.

CNN Election 2000

Documentary CNN 2001 NR 65 minutes. Remember butterfly ballots and hanging chads? Was the election stolen, or was it decided fair and square? Once a dark time of confusion and frustration, the 2000 presidential election now stands as one of the strangest events in American political history. With new perspective, Larry King and other CNN reporters take a look back at the race between Bush and Gore, and the Florida ballots that hung in the balance for an interminable 36 days.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Documentary 2004 R 122 minutes. Michael Moore’s hard-hitting documentary addresses the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, outlining the reasons the United States (and, in turn, thousands of innocent Americans) became a target for hatred and terrorism. The film not only criticizes President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks but also reinforces Moore’s theory that the Bush Administration used the tragic event to push its own political agenda.See Full Review

The Contender

Thriller 2000 R 127 minutes. Sen. Laine Hanson is nominated to be America’s first female vice president. But a right-wing stalwart seizes on a 20-year-old sex scandal to discredit her. Hanson refuses to confirm or deny the charge, sending Washington into a high-stakes crisis.

The World Without Us

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 21m. This provocative documentary probes what would happen if the United States were to suddenly remove itself from the world stage, giving up its self-appointed role as a global policeman and withdrawing into its own borders.

Primary Colors

Docudrama 1998 R 140 minutes. The movie is loosely based on aspects of President Bill Clinton’s life before the White House, during his first run for President in 1992. This adaptation of Joe Klein’s roman à clef, a thinly veiled take on Bill Clinton’s campaign for the 1992 Democratic nomination, stars John Travolta as a presidential hopeful embroiled in sex scandals. Emma Thompson plays his long-suffering wife.

Road to the Presidency

Documentary 2004 NR 150 minutes. Directed by Scott Jacobs, this provides a three-part, documentary-style outline of the 1992 presidential race that pitted George Bush against Bill Clinton, covering everything from the primary elections to the conventions and debates.

Brothers in Arms

Documentary 2003 NR 1hr7m. This powerful film relates the experiences of six soldiers who met on a swift boat in 1969, during some the Vietnam War’s worst fighting. However, bad title, bad description. Should be called “The John Kerry Movie.” Clearly a documentary designed to help launch the presidential campaign of John Kerry, a “Set the record straight,” approach to the story. Yes, this is a promotional piece for John Kerry. Yes, there some propaganda to this documentary, but the fact that it’s PR does not make it untrue. And I appreciated hearing the stories of Kerry’s shipmates; lending their perspective to his service and contribution, even his selfless valorous acts that earned him the Silver Star. While there was some input from his crew, this was a movie that wouldn’t have been made if Kerry hadn’t been political. It is true he later became an activist against the Vietnam War, and that is covered in this documentary, in fact, that was the purpose of the film. In the heat of the moment, and doing what others were doing to capture the attention of the media and the Nixon administration–he did throw his medals onto the steps of the capital building. Not only was this a “vote for John Kerry” movie, it literally has footage from his presidential race. The guys who served with Kerry clearly respect and like him. And this is a very compelling telling of their stories (not just John Kerry’s). You basically get to hear the stories of several men who served there together and some of what happened to them when they returned. These are first-hand accounts of what actually went on in one small part of the war. It is worth watching if you are interested in military history of that time period. The film mostly consists of five talking heads against a plain background, an extremely spare soundtrack, and just enough war footage to keep viewers visually engaged. But if you’re a patient listener, it really does pay off, and helps you appreciate the sacrifices that all soldiers make for our country.

The Candidate

Drama 1972 PG 110 minutes. Bill McKay is a California lawyer urged to run against the seemingly unbeatable Republican incumbent in a senatorial race. McKay is a well-meaning innocent, but as support widens for his open platform, the sellout begins. For anyone who would like an inside look at how political campaigns are run, this a must film. This is a great role for Robert Redford as the handsome, air-head candidate, but the sleeper star is Peter Boyle–the campaign manager who can get anything done. He is so real it’s eerie. I worked on many campaigns as a boiler room staffer, and I can attest that this film is as close to reality as a film can get.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Drama 1939 NR 129 minutes. When idealistic junior senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) arrives in Washington, D.C., he’s full of plans and dazzled by his surroundings — qualities he retains despite widespread corruption among his cynical colleagues. Jean Arthur puts in a sharp performance as Smith’s streetwise secretary, who helps him navigate his way through Congress, in this Academy Award-winning classic from director Frank Capra.

Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?

Documentary 2006 NR 82 minutes. Frank Popper’s engaging documentary follows the 2004 campaign of Jeff Smith, a young political science instructor at Washington University who runs for the seat vacated by retiring congressman Dick Gephardt. Pitted against state Rep. Russ Carnahan, the scion of a powerful political family, Smith proves that an unknown with no money can make a difference, forging a campaign that ultimately poses a serious challenge to Carnahan.

Billy Jack Goes to Washington

Drama 1977 NR. A loose remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, this fourth film starring Tom Laughlin as Billy Jack begins when the governor pardons Jack for the trumped-up charges that landed him in jail in The Trial of Billy Jack. On his release, Jack is appointed to a U.S. Senate seat to help garner the youth and minority vote for the governor. When he discovers corruption in the Senate, Jack becomes determined to stir things up on the floor.

Justice For Sale

Documentary Frontline 1999. Frontline and Bill Moyers investigate how campaign cash is corrupting America’s courts. In the thirty-nine states where judges are elected, special interest money is pouring into judicial politics, threatening to compromise judicial independence. The film focuses on three states–Texas, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania–and documents efforts by special interest groups to influence judges and their decisions.

Washington’s Other Scandal

Documentary Frontline 1998. The 1996 presidential campaign was the most expensive in history and the most corrupt since Richard Nixon’s 1974 re-election. Janet Reno has now renewed deliberations over the appointment of an independent prosecutor to examine the campaigns financial abuses, and the McCain/Feingold reform legislation is being debated in the Senate. In a special report with Bill Moyers, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to explore how both Democrats and Republicans conspired to evade the laws which limit the amount of money allowed to flow into election campaigns.

The Fixers

Documentary Frontline 1997. As campaign finance scandals dominate the headlines, Frontline correspondent Peter Boyer follows the story of how easily small-time political operators Nora and Gene Lum have used a little money and a lot of moxie to get close to the president. Boyer journeys to Hawaii in search of this husband and wife team of local political fixers, who in two years parlayed a handful of political contributions into millions of dollars of personal wealth and fourteen visits to the White House.

So You Want to Buy a President?

Documentary Frontline 1996. Frontline investigates the expected $500 million flowing into the 1996 presidential campaign. Correspondent Robert Krulwich scrutinizes the generosity of prominent campaign donors whose interests range from bananas to computer chips and reveals what they get for their money.

The War Room

Documentary 1993 PG 96 minutes. In this documentary, filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus examine the inner workings of Bill Clinton’s first White House campaign in the early 1990s, focusing on the wizardry of James Carville and George Stephanopoulos.

The Best Campaign Money Can Buy

Documentary Frontline 1992. In 1992, a year when the presidential campaigns cost $400 million, Frontline, in a co-production with the Center for Investigative Reporting, investigates the behind-the-scenes money givers who finance the presidential campaigns and the access and influence they gain with the candidates. Correspondent Robert Krulwich follows the largest contributors to the Bush and Clinton campaigns and traces the impact money has on American politics.

Potomac Fever

Documentary Frontline 1985. Every two years, a desire to represent their home districts in Washington brings a group of first-time freshmen congressmen to the nation’s capital on the shores of the Potomac river. Frontline follows two newly elected representatives from their homes to Washington where they experience the rewards-and the frustrations-of making the transition from citizen to congressman.

Not One of the Boys

Documentary Frontline 1984. As more women are voting and running for elected office, have the changed the face of American politics? Through the eyes of women as different as UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, correspondent Judy Woodruff looks at women and politics in 1984.

So You Want to be President

Documentary Frontline 1984. From the lonely, early days of presidential ambition, through the months of promise, to the day of denial, Frontline follows the 1984 presidential campaign of Gary Hart, revealing presidential politics as it has never before been seen on television.

Gonzo
The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Documentary 2007 R 1hr 59m.  Always ready to hurl himself into the heart of the action, journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson was fearless as well as reckless. This admiring documentary looks beyond his wild antics to focus on the pluck and principles that made him a success. Home movies, audiotapes and unpublished materials offer added insight into a complex cult figure renowned for his love of sex, drugs and alcohol. Johnny Depp narrates.  Included are his Aspen candidacy for sheriff in 1970, and his Fear and Loathing on Campaign Trail 72 with presidential candidate George McGovern.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Thriller 1962 PG-13 129 minutes. Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is a Korean War hero with a lethal secret: He’s been brainwashed by the communist Chinese. With one phone call, the Reds can transform Shaw into a deadly assassin — unless fellow veteran Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) can stop them first. Some thrillers remain as suspenseful — and timely — as when they were first released, and this classic from director John Frankenheimer is one of the best.

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Thriller Remake 2004 R 130 minutes In this remake of the 1962 political thriller, two U.S. soldiers are taken captive during the first Gulf War and brainwashed so they’re programmed to rebel once they return home. Several years later, one of them lands on the vice presidential ticket.

Primary

Documentary 1960 NR 53 minutes. Filmmaker Robert Drew trailed Senator John F. Kennedy as he campaigned against Hubert Humphrey for the Democratic presidential nomination in Wisconsin in 1960. The first film in which the sync sound camera moved freely with characters throughout a breaking story, Primary is recognized as a breakthrough in documentary filmmaking and was selected as an historic film for inclusion in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 1990.

The Last Hurrah

Drama 1958 NR 121 minutes. Aging political boss Frank Skeffington (Spencer Tracy) tries to get reelected as mayor of an unnamed town one last time in the changing world of the 1950s, when television started to play a bigger role in the political process. Frank meets with opposition from the city council, which frowns upon his strong-arm tactics. A gem of a movie with a behind the scenes look at a political campaign. Unlike as “Wag the Dog”, or “Primary Colors”, this film paints a different story of a man not entering his career, but having his last hurrah, and his last campaign. His uphill battle is set against the political machinery that used ethnic hatred and old money as its weapons. John Ford directs.

State of the Union

Drama 1948 NR 123 minutes. At the urging of power-hungry newspaper executive Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury), industrialist Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) is persuaded to campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. To boost his public persona, Matthews reunites with his estranged wife (Katharine Hepburn). She quickly uncovers the corruption that’s infected her once moral husband. Frank Capra directs this compelling adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

After the Wall
A World United

Documentary 2011 NR 55 minutes. After serving as a geographic and ideological divide for 40 years, the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, bringing the reunification of Germany and an end to the Cold War. This documentary revisits the events surrounding the wall’s historic collapse. Interviews with major players such as George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl offer insight into political maneuverings while firsthand accounts from Germans provide personal perspectives.

See Also:  FILMS ON ELECTIONS — SATIRES AND COMEDIES

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