Black History Month Bibliography: African Americans and Law in the Movies February 2001
Rules of Engagement: Hollywood and Romance
Law, Politics and Popular Culture Page
The Taxman Cometh: Some Films about Tax Law and Its Effects
Memorial Day Films
Mother's Day Films
Capital Punishment in Popular Culture
Murderous Daughters
Father Knows Best? Films and Television About Dads
Latinos and Latinas in Law Related Films and Television




Popular themes and crimes in the political/legal film are corruption, assassination, conspiracy, blackmail and murder, particularly when election to or continuance in political office is at stake.


All the King's Men (1949). Broderick Crawford is the Huey Long-like figure who dominates the political scene, in this filmed version of the Robert Penn Warren novel.

All the President's Men (1976). Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffmann dust off the image of American journalism; based on the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Bulworth (1998). Warren Beatty as a US Senator who makes arrangements to have himself assassinated, then thinks better of the idea.

The Candidate (1972). Robert Redford is the dark horse Senatorial candidate who "tells it like it is."

Citizen Kane (1941). This film has been called the best American film ever made. Based loosely on the life of William Randolph Hearst, it stars Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and other members of the Mercury Theatre.

Day of the Jackal (1973). This thriller is long but the action and suspense never let up as Edward Fox plays a hired assassin on the trail of Charles de Gaulle.

Duck Soup (1933). Groucho Marx, as Rufus T. Firefly, becomes dictator of Freedonia and declares war on Sylvania.

The Farmer's Daughter (1947). Loretta Young as a young Swedish woman who runs for political office against the man she loves. Later a TV series.

A Lion is in the Streets (1953). James Cagney stars as a Huey Long-like figure who aims to dominate the state's politics. Based on the novel by Adria Locke Langley.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey are first-rate in this story about a "sleeper" assassin loose in the United States.

Medium Cool (1969). A TV cameraman finds himself at the center of the violence surrounding the Democratic National Convention in 1968 Chicago.

The Mouse That Roared (1959). Leonard Wibberley's novel makes a successful satire of U.S. foreign policy in this farce about a very small country that declares war on Washington in order to lose.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Frank Capra's political fantasy about a profoundly unpolitical man appointed to the U.S. Senate. Later a TV series (1962).

The Parallax View (1974). Warren Beatty is a hack reporter who uncovers an assassination plot.

The Pentagon Wars (TVM 1998). This HBO movie targets the political corruption and coverups accompanying the development of a widely-touted and wildly expensive new military vehicle.

Storyville (1997). A young New Orleans politician becomes embroiled in a murder case.

The Sun Shines Bright (1953). Small town Southern politics.

Romanoff and Juliet (1961). Peter Ustinov as the ruler of a small European country plays Cupid for an American girl and Soviet boy.

White Lie (TVM 1991). Gregory Hines returns to his father's home town to uncover the truth about his death.

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Sigourney Weaver stars in this tale set during the Indonesian Revolution of 1965.

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). Henry Fonda personifies the legendary President during his law practice years.

Z (1969). Costa-Gavras directed this grandfather of all political assassination films.


Colossus of Rhodes (from the Crime Library)

Parascope (an alternative site)





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