10. Secret Honor (1984)
It is the subject matter of Secret Honor that is so startling, and a testament to Altman’s remarkable powers of empathy: an avowed liberal pot-smoker himself, he could nevertheless humanize the arch-enemy of the left, Richard Nixon. The “secret” of the story is that Nixon himself was merely the stooge, or fall guy, for a powerful military-political network that he protected to the end of his presidency, even at the cost of his own reputation. It is a remarkable fictional reimagining of the darkest moment in American political history and emblematic of Altman’s eternal desire to position himself against the grain, finding some small nobility in even the most apparently ignoble of men.