Stories amidst tense political climates are often told on the big screen, here’s a look at some of the best creations to date.

Whether satire or tragedy, film allows narratives to be told in a style which exposes the untidy, human side of politics.

From Washington to Westminster, some of the greatest movies have emerged from political controversies.

JFK (1991)

This 1991 film is a clear pick for the conspiracy theory enthusiast. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Keven Costner, the movie tells the story of a revised investigation into JFK’s assassination.

New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison meets a high level informant who reveals a conspiracy within the highest levels of government. As the plot unravels and Garrison attempts to secure conviction, witnesses die under suspicious circumstances.

Rotten Tomatoes reviewed the film, stating: ‘It’s electric, cramming a ton of information and excitement into its three-hour runtime and making great use of its outstanding cast.’

All the President’s Men (1976)

Preserved in 2010 by the US Library of Congress for being ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’, Pakula’s 1976 is an essential watch.

The screenplay is based on a book by the same name, written by journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward investigating the Watergate Scandal.

When five men are caught bugging equipment in the Democratic National Committee headquarters and it appears they have CIA links, a journalistic investigation commences and unveils covert operations involving the entire intelligence community under Nixon.

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford star in this film which, according to Rotten Tomatoes depicts ‘the benefits of a free press and the dangers of unchecked power, made all the more effective by its origins in real-life events’.

In the Loop (2009)

A spin-off from the BBC series The Thick of It, this black comedy satirizes Anglo-American politics surrounding the invasion of Iraq.

The plot follows the humorous journey of the Minister for International Development after he unintentionally describes war in the Middle East as ‘unforeseeable’. Featuring several actors from The Thick of It, the film is packed with laugh-out-loud moments.



Damon Wise reviewed the comedy for The Times stating: “It’s hard to settle on a standout element because it’s all so outstanding, from the performances to the one-liners to the plot.”

Argo (2012)

Directed by Ben Affleck, this nail-biting 2012 film won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture.

The movie depicts true events subsequent to the 1979 storming of the United States Embassy in Tehran by Iranian activists. Six embassy staff escape to the home of Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor and the US begins to explore options for removing them from Iran.

CIA exfiltration expert, Tony Mendez suggests an outlandish cover story. The group pose as Canadian filmmakers who happen to be in Iran scouting exotic locations for an upcoming science-fiction movie, Argo.

As heart-warming and humorous as it is nerve-wracking, critics have labelled this movie one to watch.

Selma (2014)

Based on the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, this 2014 movie tells the story of protests led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King Jr and John Lewis.

Opening with the KKK bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, the true story follows the journey of King and other civil rights activists in the build-up to the pivotal march.The film depicts tension within the movement regarding the use of force, and tells of Malcom X’s intention to drive whites to support King by advocating a more extreme position.

Listen out for ‘Glory’ as the credits roll – John Legend and Common wrote the hit for the film and won Best Original Song at the Golden Globes for their artistry.