3 Political Movies That Mirror the 2016 Election

You know what they say about art imitating life. Well, that especially goes for political movies. Whether it’s Robert Redford in All the President’s Men or Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, we often see our current world brought to life on screen with these narratives. Here are three political movies that, if you binge watch them this weekend, will surely give you goosebumps because of their eerie similarities to Decision 2016.

The Candidate (starring Robert Redford and Peter Boyle; directed by Michael Ritchie)

This film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The plot: A campaign manager Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle) convinces activist-lawyer Bill McKay (Robert Redford) to run for senate. The public swoons. But to keep their affections, Lucas pushes McKay further and further away from McKay’s core beliefs and message. His platform gets watered down, but his popularity soars.  

Says Rob Samuelson writing for PoliticsChatter.com:

[The film’s] dry wit shows how in over his head Redford is and, once the race becomes competitive, the panic on his face is hilarious. In an anti-establishment year like 2016, it’s possible this panicked ‘Oh no, I can actually win this thing’ moment has happened to a number of candidates.

Stewart plays an idealistic senator who wants to make his community a better place. Another senator (played by Rains), however,  has Stewart’s character in his sights because Stewart’s do-gooding is interfering with the corrupt senators’ moneymaking.  The bad senator sets out to discredit and discourage Stewart’s character. A filibuster happens.  Stewart’s character warms hearts and wins minds. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is full of optimism for the ability of the little guy to convince the public to act on an important issue,” writes Samuelson.

Lincoln (starring Daniel Day-Lewis; directed by Steven Spielberg)

Day-Lewis, you may remember, won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of the president in this Tony Kushner screenplay.

Says Samuelson:

“For all the soaring rhetoric about equality and freedom–it takes place as the 16th president tried to pass the slavery-abolishing 13th Amendment–the real strength of 2012’s Lincoln is in showing how political deal-making happens.”


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