The 16 Best Documentaries About Politics

Jul 16, 2023 | Best Of, Political

Politics is a multifaceted and ever-evolving field that affects nearly every aspect of daily life in the United States. From the executive branch, which is headed by the President and forms the federal government’s executive arm, to individual state governments with their own legislative bodies, judicial systems, and constitutions; politics influences everything from education to taxation, health care to public safety. With so much at stake in the political system, it’s no wonder that politics has been a popular subject for film-makers for decades.

This blog post highlights twelve of the best documentaries made about politics in America, in UK and in other parts of the world. Whether you’re a student of American politics or just looking for an interesting way to learn about the subject, this list covers some of the most captivating and informative documentaries available today. So sit back


1. Fox and the Big Lie

Donald Trump’s allegations of election fraud had widespread consequences beyond the political sphere. One of those casualties is Fox News, the leading conservative news network that extensively covered and amplified President Trump’s baseless claims. As a result, they were hit with multi-billion dollar defamation lawsuits from voting machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, alleging harm to their reputation and subsequent financial losses.

The network’s close ties to the former president throughout his presidency had a huge impact on their finances, costing them an estimated $1 billion. This amount was no doubt compounded by hefty legal fees associated with the defamation suits and loss of viewers due to their role in disseminating false information.


2. Terminal F: Chasing Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden was on the run. Three weeks earlier, he had nervously handed over documents from the National Security Agency (NSA). These classified materials painted a dark picture of government surveillance activities and exposed their efforts to sabotage ordinary citizens they were sworn to protect.

Snowden now faced global manhunt as an enemy of the state. Around every corner, he never knew when he might be arrested or even killed. US government worked hard to get him back and face legal consequences of his actions.


3. Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA

Income inequality remains a persistent issue in today’s political climate. The documentary “Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA” uncovers how this problem stems from a long history of labor exploitation and discrimination.

For instance, let’s take a look at the coal mining industry in West Virginia during the early 20th century. Miners endured harsh working conditions, high accident rates, and significant health hazards. In response, they organized strikes and established their own labor union. However, the coal industry fought back by bringing in replacement workers and implementing new contracts that banned union membership. This struggle for fairness resulted in the loss of thousands of lives, with many more injured or arrested in the process.


4. America’s Surveillance State

Are you aware of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? It was passed by Congress in 1978 and allowed the government to spy on US citizens and permanent residents. This law enabled electronic surveillance, physical searches, access to business records, pen registers and trap and trace devices. In this video we’ll explore how FISA changed over time – from its initial purpose of spying on phone calls to now include internet communications. We’ll also discuss why a court order is no longer necessary for such spying activities. Tune in to learn more about this powerful act!


5. The Making of Modern Politics

Do you want to understand the electoral process in the United States? This video will help you do just that! We’ll explore how different interests, such as family backgrounds and job types, interact with each other. Plus, we’ll look at how political parties dominate the US system and why they are so important for deciding elections. Finally, we’ll discuss some of the diverse aspects of American society which can influence citizens’ voting preferences. Get ready to dive into US politics and learn about its complexities!


6. The Power Principle

From plunder and hypocrisy to mass violence, this documentary takes a historically informed look at the US foreign policy regime. It explains how corporate interests and an elite few have used propaganda, fearmongering and force to their own advantage.

The documentary further reveals that within the US, this system has been sustained by a powerful ideological campaign. Fearmongering stories and political slogans have become the norm, while references to “democracy,” “freedom” and “free markets” are used to mask the truth: ever-increasing influence of an imperialistic regime.


7. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Chávez: Inside the Coup is a 2002 documentary that tells the story of Venezuela’s April 2002 coup attempt. Recorded by an Irish television crew, this documentary shines light on damning evidence that contradicts explanations given by Chávez opponents, the media and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

The film suggests a conspiracy between Venezuelan factions and the US government to depose Chávez. It serves as a powerful testament to the fragility of democracy in the face of inequality and injustice.


8. UK Politics – Labour: Comrades At War

Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell have been political fixtures in Westminster since the 1980s, yet their voices were rarely heard. In this video we take a look at how these three politicians have stood against war-mongering and austerity policies when their party was still in power. We’ll also explore Jeremy’s visit to Congo and his efforts to promote human rights there. Tune in now for an insightful exploration of the lives of these three trailblazers!Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell have been a powerful trio in Westminster for decades. From advocating against war-mongering to standing up against austerity policies, they have made their voices heard when their party was still in power. In this video we take an inside look at the lives of these three trailblazers and explore Jeremy’s efforts to promote human rights during his visit to Congo. Watch as we uncover the stories behind these influential politicians who shaped British politics!


9. Labour’s Lost Leader

The mid-1990s saw the rise of neoliberalism and a period of defeat for trade unionism and democratic socialism. In this video, we explore how long it will take for working class movements to emerge again and be revitalized. We look back at past examples such as Chartism in England, the 1848 revolutions on the continent and even the London dockers’ strike of 1889 to get an idea of how long it may take before a new wave of socialist movement is born. Tony Benn’s conversation with us serves as an insightful reminder that history can teach us valuable lessons about what lies ahead in terms of worker empowerment.


10. American political culture

Do you want to understand the fundamentals of politics? In this video we explore political culture and its role in our society. We examine how citizens’ beliefs, opinions, and emotions towards their form of government shape a nation’s political system. Discover what lies at the core of established Western democracies as well as how it impacts different aspects of life. Get an insight into the composite values, feelings, and knowledge that underpin the political process. Don’t miss this unique exploration!


11. The Seedy Underbelly Of The American Presidency – Destination: White House

The race to the White House is a complex and often mysterious journey. In this documentary, we uncover pivotal presidential campaigns that have shaped America. From financing and crime, to debates and corruption – get an inside look into the strategies used by campaigners, journalists, researchers and more as they influence the American public’s decision-making process in selecting a president. Join us on our journey as we uncover the truth of what it takes to be President of The United States!


12. James Baker: President Maker

James Baker was born into a powerful Texas family in 1930, but his career took an unexpected turn when he joined a political campaign. This decision would lead to influential positions in Washington D.C., as well as on the international stage. He served as a close aide to three presidents and held several high-powered roles including Secretary of State and Treasury, assisting at the end of the Cold War, and brokering peace treaties in the Middle East. Watch this documentary to learn more about James Baker’s remarkable journey from attorney to statesman!


13. Machiavelli – The Prince of Political Philosophy Documentary

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14. Goldman Sachs – Company that Ruled the World

This documentary takes an in-depth look at the history of one Wall Street company, from its humble beginnings to its rise as a finance empire. Through interviews with industry insiders and archival footage, we explore how this company managed to survive for more than 100 years – despite ruthless competition. Watch this documentary and learn about the resilience of American business!


15. The German car industry’s political muscle

The German auto industry has long been the backbone of its economic prosperity. But with the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s now struggling to keep up with innovative automotive technologies and is turning to politicians for help. How far will policymakers go to support the car companies? We explore this question in our documentary as we look at how industrial policy can make or break an entire country’s success, and what role Germany’s automotive industry plays in that equation. Tune in and get a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events with DW Documentary!


16. Decadence and Downfall In Iran: The Greatest Party In History

The Shah of Iran, known as the ‘king of kings’, wanted to commemorate 2,500 years of Persian monarchy with a grand celebration. He spared no expense to make this event special—a luxurious tent city was erected in an oasis and some of the world’s most exclusive restaurants closed their doors for two weeks to serve a five-course banquet! Guests were even treated to a pageant featuring thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costumes. However, this lavish party proved costly; it marked the break between the king and his people, leading ultimately led to the Ayatollah Khomeini taking power. This documentary looks at how such an extravagant event could have had such far reaching consequences for not just Iran but also its neighbours. Watch now and discover more about what happened when money was no object at one of history’s greatest parties!

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B