Below is a list of books and films linked to Politics. Please use this resource as a guide to help you pick the right book or film. If you think readers would benefit with others on the list, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Films and TV:
American Politics and Culture
1) All The Presidents Men
Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford adapted from the novel follows the path of the two investigators that discovered the Watergate scandal. This fascinating film was a massive hit, allowing you to see the other side of journalism.
2) American History X
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Emilio Estevez’s film features an all star cast following the events of Senator Robert ‘Bobby’ F Kennedy, leading up to his assassination after he won the all important California Primary, for the Democratic Presidential nomination. A touching story of a promising young leader.
4) Fahrenheit 9/11
Starring Michael Moore and President George W Bush. Michael Moores documentary takes a critical look at the Bush administration on its handling of the September 11th attacks, prior, during after the event. This documentary asks some serious questions which need answering but was criticised through the inbalance of its argument.
Starring Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman. Oliver Stone’s film covers the assassination of President John Frank Kennedy and the conspiracy theory that elements of the government were involved.
6) Malcolm X
Starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett, Spike Lee’s film follows the path of one of America’s pioneering black men, who rose from a childhood of poverty to address the issue of prejudice against blacks.
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7) Mr Smith Goes to Washington
Starring James Stewart, this film about American government follows the journey of a man who is manipulated by corrupt Senators. When he discovers he has been manipulated and all seem against him, he vows to clear his name through any means.
8 ) Nixon
9) Thirteen Days
11) The West Wing
Starring Martin Sheen and John Spencer, the seven seasons of the West Wing, follows the staff of the government and the trials they face. With actual issues addressed, this provides an insight on the American political system. Although written with a serious undertone, the comedy adds to the experience.
Suppression and War
12) Blood Diamond
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou. This touching film examines the diamond trade in the war zones of Africa and illustrates the devastating part the diamond traders play in the market.
13) Hotel Rwanda
Starring Don Cheadle. This compelling film is set on true events in Rwanda, during the ethnic extermination between two groups. The story follows the heroics of a hotel manager that uses his influence, despite the danger to his own life, to save as many Rwandans as he can. The film also portrays the ignorant West’s refusal to help Rwandans seek asylum from certain death. A heart felt film that should not be missed.
14) Schindlers List
Starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes. Steven Spielberg’s film is ranked one of the best films of all time. Set in occupied Poland. The film follows a member of the Nazi Party who must maintain the trust of the Nazi establishment, as he saves Jews from extermination. A film that illustrates the devastating atrocities, aswell as the heroic efforts of the few that saved the many.
15) Michael Collins
Staring Liam Neeson, depicting the real Michael Collins who gained three quarters of Ireland back from the British, only for him to be betrayed by his own country men. Michael Collins has created the political map that is drawn today and has provided a platform for the re-unification of Ireland. A story full of hope and sacrifice.
Totalitarian / Big Brother
16) Enemy of the State
Starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight. This film explores the consequences of the Big Brother state on our privacy. The film follows a lawyer who is chased by a corrupt politician and his NSA agents, when he accidentally comes into possession of evidence of a key murder.
18) Minority Report
Starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell. This film addresses the issue of predicting crime before it happens and whether our future’s are pre-designated or if there is a choice.
19) V for Vendetta
Starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, set in the near future of a dystopian society. V walks two paths; one to set London free from the dictorial government (with parallels to Hitler) through the use of force, while the other following a personal vendetta.
1) 1984 – George Orwell
George Orwell’s novel published in 1949 portrays a totalitarian state in 1984, where the state, Big Brother, controls our actions through fear. The continuing legacy of this book is an illustration of its ingenuity.
2) Animal Farm – George Orwell
George Orwells political satire, uses farm animals to illustrate how absolute power corrupts in the face of communism.
3) The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ is regarded as one of the most influential of all time, with its core philosophy of ‘the end justifies the means.’
4) Leviathan – Thomas Hobbes
Influenced by the English Civil War, this book analyses the structure of society. He argued for a social contract and an absolute sovereign for the peace and defence of the state, however man can revert back to a state of nature if the central government fails in this.
5) Two Treatises of Government – John Locke
John Locke served in the English Civil War, his writings influenced some in the Scottish Enlightenment. A believer in Liberalism and argued for the theory of civil society based on natural rights and contract theory.
6) The Social Contract – John-Jacques Rousseau
Political Philospher who influenced the French Revolution and socialist theory. He claimed that the perfect society would be controlled by the ‘general will’ of its populace.