8 of the best political movies to watch instead of the actual election results

8 of the best political movies to watch instead of the actual election results

As with any general election, it can often prove hard to distract yourself with anything other than polls and what people are saying about Labour, the Tories or Brexit on social media.

However, let's be honest if you are planning on staying awake and watching the whole thing it can be quite an ordeal as it goes on for hours and hours and is about as exciting as watching paint dry while drinking a glass of warm water.

That being said it can often be very hard to completely switch off on the evening of an election count, as the anxiety of whether your party will win or not is sometimes too much to bear.

So, as an alternative to watching the coverage on whichever news channel you prefer, we've put together a list of movies with an election or political theme to them for you to watch while everyone else whittles away the hours either in anguish or jubilation.

Some of these are pure fun, others are very serious, while some might cause you to punch a hole in the wall (we seriously hope that doesn't happen).

So sit back and watch one, two or even three of these modern classics and maybe check your phone every now and again just so you know what's going on and what you need to talk about at work tomorrow.

In the Loop (2009)

We'll start with an obvious choice but great nonetheless. Fans of the satirical British sitcom, The Thick of It, which takes a scathing look at the British political system will need no introduction to In the Loop, as it is basically a big-screen spin-off of the popular show.

Taking a not-so-subtle jab at Labour government under Tony Blair and the George W. Bush administration, it focuses on a set of British and American operatives who are trying their best to prevent a needless war in the Middle East.

Laden with expletives and sentences that you wouldn't even utter in your sleep, In the Loop is outrageous and then some and can often resemble some of the farcical scenes that we've seen during this election.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

Election (1999)

Starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, Election isn't strictly about politics but can serve as an insight into what a tense and stressful election can do to someone's wellbeing.

Directed by Alexander Payne, Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick, an ambitious student in Omaha, Nebraska who is running for class president but her social studies teacher Jim McAllister (Broderick) doesn't believe she is qualified for the role and does his best to stop her from winning.

As a film, it's thoroughly entertaining and darkly hilarious but as a comment on elections, the world over, it works as scathing comment on how cynical and spiteful we can all be when so much is on the line.

Available to rent on YouTube

Knock Down the House

Possibly one of the best stand-alone documentaries that Netflix has produced that isn't a true-crime series, Knock Down the House looks at home a group of bold and enterprising women attempted to upset the US political class in the 2018 congressional election.

The film focuses on a string of women, all from different backgrounds, different areas of the United States and with different goals and how their campaigns, for better or worse expose how skewered and unfair the US system can be against not just women but all marginalised people.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the star of the show here but the stories of Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin and Amy Vilela, amongst others, is guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

Available to watch on Netflix

The Square

In 2011, the world witnessed the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government uprisings in Africa and Asia which changed the course of politics around the world.

The Square focuses on the uprising in Egypt, where in 2011, protests forced out Hosni Mubarak, the then military leader of the nation. The revolution continued through to 2013, eventually forcing out Mubarak's successor, Mohamed Morsi.

This documentary isn't an easy watch, as you witness people struggle to continue with their lives against overwhelming odds but a rewarding education on international politics nonetheless.

Available to watch on Netflix

For Sama

Much like The Square, For Sama is not an easy watch but it is an incredible story of human resilience and the overpowering strength of love and community.

Filmed directly in the heart of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria, the documentary is filmed and narrated by Waad al-Kateab's who builds a loving family amidst the ordeal of being relentlessly attacked by her own government and bombed by Russian jets.

Featuring genuine miracles and heart wrenching moments, For Sama is one of the most powerful documentaries of the decade and will make you think twice before complaining about having to wait an extra four minutes for a train in the morning.

Available to watch on All 4

Bring It On

After two intense documentaries, you might want a bit of levity so why not go back to 2000 to see a young Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dusku create maybe the best cheerleader movie ever made.

When a high school cheerleading group discover that their routines have been stolen by another school they must do everything they can to overcome this adversity and win their regional championship.

Although Bring It On has nothing to do with politics or elections it does demonstrate who desperate a group of people can become in their determination to win a competition, even when the odds are against them.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

The Purge: Election Year

Maybe if you aren't in the mood for teen comedies from 19 years ago, can we suggest something altogether more bloodthirsty and critical of the current climate that we currently find ourselves in.

If you haven't seen the other Purge then this one might not make much sense but the franchise is relatively easy to follow. All you need to know is that in an alternative United States a totalitarian government has come to power and have enforced a law, where for one night only, all crime, including murder, is legal.

Although perhaps not as strong as the previous instalments, Election Year has a far stronger political narrative as an inspirational presidential candidate attempts to rally against the government and permanently cancel the purge, something I think we can all support.

Available to rent on Amazon Prime


If you have managed to get through some powerful documentaries, the odd teen flick and some political satire, you might be in the mood to learn a bit more about who we should blame for the debacle that we currently call 'politics.'

Although we don't yet have any movies about Boris Johnson or Donald Trump, we do have this excellent documentary about Anthony Weiner, the man who is mostly responsible for the 'Hillary Clinton deleted her emails' scandal.

Weiner doesn't directly go into that story but does have a forensic and often hilarious look at the current political landscape as he attempts to become the mayor of New York, with outrageous consequences.

Available to watch on Netflix

More: This is why a general election is always held on a Thursday

The Conversation (0)