Lights, camera, election!

You can learn a lot from politicians by asking them what their favourite political movie is. We certainly did. Here’s a few of the more revealing answers.

By Alex Stevenson

In The Loop

“I really liked In The Loop when I saw it recently – it was hilarious, incredibly cynical, but still funny. It was also nice to see a British sitcom like The Thick Of It make it onto the big screen. I intend to find out just how true to life it is!” – Antony Little, Conservative, Norwich South

The Godfather

“…if it counts as political. It’s about power, influence, patronage, corruption, peer group pressure – all the things we claim in a meritocracy to have get rid of, but they’re still alive in politics” – Cath Arakelian, Labour, Chingford and Wood Green

The Great Dictator

“Charlie Chaplin was the first celebrity to openly mock Adolf Hitler before anyone else did. More than any other comedian, he understood and mocked the failures of politicians to stop this evil man before he unleashed the horrors he did on to the world” – Denzil Coulson, Liberal Democrat, North East Hampshire

Mr Smith Goes To Washington

“James Stewart plays a naive young man who’s appointed to fill a term in the Senate because the politicians in the state think he’ll be easy to control. He makes some foolish decisions at first, but his honesty and concern for the boys of his state win him the support of his staff. When the corrupt politicians find him less easy to manipulate than they thought, they try to smear him. But he won’t back down. His moral courage is what makes him a hero” – Simon Kirby, Conservative, Brighton Kemptown

Schindler’s List

“This has to be the one of most harrowing depictions of what happens when good people do nothing and politics goes wrong. Here, on my desk I have the famous quote from Pastor Niemöller: ‘First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a communist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak out for me.’ Martin Niemöller 1892 – 1984. I hope I will always have the courage to speak out” – Ian Boulton, Labour, Filton and Bradley Stoke

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
The Full Monty

“I love to see my British working class roots and the graphic problems of that era shown through film. To this end I adored, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, set against the backcloth of industrial Nottingham. Or ‘The full Monty’ – this hilarious film is set in the wastelands of the steel city, Sheffield. The scars on the landscape are there for all to see in this tragi-comedy, which tracks the consequences of Thatcher’s annihilation of our once mighty industrial base” – Reginald Shore, Liberal Democrat, Lincoln


“It follows the tale of a selfish, immoral, unethical American president who one day suffers a massive heart attack. His key aides want to continue his oppressive presidency with the help of a very convincing lookalike. Unfortunately for them, the lookalike is a good man, with great, fresh ideas who sees his opportunity to make a difference and grabs it with both hands. With everybody believing he is the president, he outwits the conniving aides to change the lives of everyday Americans. A great tale with a happy ending, showing what good people can do if given a chance” – Stephen Mold, Conservative, Derby North

Michael Collins
Cry Freedom

“I like all political films to be honest. They all follow the same narrative – a little guy, taking on the big guy, for the benefit of the people and the greater good, overcoming the obstacles and justice prevailing in the end. I think the first one of these is Mr Smith Goes To Washington – a total classic, but Michael Collins, and Cry Freedom stick in the mind too. Truly inspirational about the capacity humans have to change the world they live in” – Joe Goldberg, Labour, Witney

The Pianist

“This is the most hard-hitting Holocaust film I know, for some it may be too realistic. Sometimes you have to send a strong message to break through people’s apathy which is the curse of British society today” – Paul Penlington, Liberal Democrat, Vale of Clwyd

It’s A Wonderful Life

“Don’t tell me that’s not a political film” – Suzy Davies, Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

The Shawshank Redemption

“It has great themes about friendship and greed and racism, and ultimately is filled with such hope” – Annajoy David, Labour, Scarborough and Whitby

The Long Good Friday

“I would need more space to explain my theory on it being an allegory on local government” – Paul Ankers, Liberal Democrat, Bolton North East

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days

“A movie about courage, never giving in and fighting for what you believe in. It shows the evils of an authoritarian state and the best of human nature at the same time” – Robert Halfon, Conservative, Harlow


“It’s a great movie and whilst not focused on Nelson Mandela alone it still portrays the powerful message of Mandela’s leadership, which I’ve always been in awe of” – Darren Jones, Labour, Torridge and West Devon

Thirteen Days

“Thirteen Days is very good at focusing on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the decisions facing America at that moment- with everything resting on those decisions – I’m not sure some recent decisions have been thought through so carefully!” – Ian Garrett, Liberal Democrat, West Bromwich East

Brassed Off

“Reminds me of community determination in the 1980s facing the cruelty of Thatcherism” – Simon Burgess, Labour, Brighton Kemptown


“Nixon and the related Watergate film with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are most revealing and epitomises the need for freedom of the press in our public political lives. Cover-ups in politics that are revealed years later annoy me as it indicates the public being duped in a self serving manner” – Galen Milne, Liberal Democrat, Banff and Buchan


“Fantastic, but very disturbing at the same time” – Greg Williams, Labour, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine


“It’s a hard going film, but incredibly interesting and innovative” – Charlotte Farrington, Liberal Democrat, Birmingham Hall Green

And here’s a few final picks…

Land and Freedom
The Day of the Jackal
The Candidate
Citizen Kane
The God of War
I’m All Right Jack
Passport to Pimlico