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With Romney-Obama over, what are the best election-themed films?

November 07, 2012|By Steven Zeitchik
  • Robert De Niro in "Wag the Dog"
Robert De Niro in "Wag the Dog"

Our colleagues over at Deadspin have a fun post on the best presidents in U.S. movie history. (Our money was on the guy who gave control of the planet over to Zod, but whatevs.)

An equally interesting morning-after cinema question, of course, is the best movies about elections. The quadrennial turn to pollsters and stump speeches has enticed many a Hollywood producer, sometimes to their detriment, sometimes to ours.

How does the field look? Hollywood has dealt very explicitly with elections. Some of the films in that vein, like "The Candidate," are strong entries, though many—“Man of the Year,” the  Kevin Costner treatise “Swing Vote”—tend to be the weakest of the lot.

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Meanwhile, some great movies that are ostensibly about elections—“The Manchurian Candidate” or “Wag the Dog”—are really about different things (eg, warmongering and media distraction).

In fact, the sharpest and most weighty movies about elections set their stakes far removed from national office—namely, in local high schools. Yep, for our (non-Super PAC) money, “Election” and “Napoleon Dynamite” have the most to say about the electoral process, its quirks, its manipulability.  

But don’t take our word for it. Exercise your constitutional right to express your opinion on the Internet and vote below in our poll about the best election-themed movie.


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