I once had a teacher tell me that the best way to get inspiration for filmmaking is to watch the news. He declared that there is simply nothing more complex and critical than a political system and the people affected by it. In essence, politics is drama. Think about it. In the American political system alone, we have any kind of drama you could wish for: sex scandals, secret alliances, cheating accusations, mass conspiracies, and of course war. It’s like the political world is wearing a huge “been there, done that” t-shirt when it comes to controversies.
Not only do political dramas cover some very… ahem, interesting subjects, but they do so in a captivating way. As any screenwriter knows, the higher the stakes in a given situation, the more dramatic the outcome… and in the political world, the stakes are always high.
Remember, politics is the process of a group of people making collective decisions that determine how millions of people will live. In this way, a selected group of people holds the future of a nation, and sometimes even the world, in the palm of their hands. It just doesn’t get any more dramatic than that.
Below are the Top 10 Political Dramas. From Watergate to assassinations, brainwashing to nuclear war, these films have helped define a sub-genre of dramatic films. While they often cross into many sub-genres (Thriller, Dramedy, Biopic, etc.), they are always rooted in the dark and nasty world of politics.
These films have become a staple in Hollywood filmmaking, and it’s easy to see why. Quick, cerebral, and always thrilling, political dramas definitely get my vote.