Political movies everyone should see — in glorious black and white

Published: Thursday, May 8 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

This month marks the 73rd anniversary of the release of cinema classic "Citizen Kane," an innovative and influential drama written and directed by Orson Welles that has topped critics' top ten lists for decades.

Not only was "Kane" a notated masterpiece for its technical innovation (it is, in fact, the first film to show ceilings within a framed shot) but its story also caused some controversy, which ultimately lead to the film being blacklisted by many theaters. The film was forced into obscurity until a critical reassessment in the 1960s lead to a revival of appreciation for the film.

The main thrust of the film's controversial story revolves around the life of a newspaper tycoon who eventually turned to politics to feed his lust for power. The story of Charles Foster Kane, however, closely reflected the life of William Randolph Hearst, who fought hard against the movie's release.

But "Kane" isn't the only film notable for its political messaging and controversy; in fact, the black and white era was full of them.

So here are 10 political films that everyone should see — in glorious black and white.

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Salt Lake City, UT

The Grapes of Wrath

You Can't Take it With You

Arsenic and Old Lace


West Jordan, UT

Let's not forget 1984 & Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid!

St Louis, MO

Ah, the eagerly-anticipated 73rd Anniversary of Citizen Kane! I forget . . what do you call that one? We're in between septuagennial (platinum) and dodranscentennial (diamond). I wouldn't want to embarass myself by tossing the wrong term into the inevitable water-cooler convos.

They left out oft-overlooked "Ace in the Hole," one of the most biting bits of social satire in American film. It's not quite as absurd as "Dr. Strangelove," but it's every bit as dark, and feels uncomortably close to the mark given the methods and messages of today's media.

If we're not sticking to black and white, "Network," "Brazil" and "JFK" would all have to make the list.

Salt Lake City, UT

There are lots of more recent (color era) "must see" political movies, but since we are limiting ourselves to black and white . . .

Advise and Consent (1962)

The Best Man (1964)

The Last Hurrah (1958)

Genola, UT

12 Angry Men

Anti Bush-Obama
Chihuahua, 00

Duck Soup, Mr. Smith goes to Washington and All the Kings men are my favorite films off this list. I've seen most of these. Haven't seen Birth of a nation but I can always see the remake of it called Django Unchained.

Woods Cross, UT

They forgot High Noon (1952) with Gary Cooper, which is essentially a civics lesson within a Western gun fight. Good stuff.

Mark from Montana
Davis County, UT

Seven Days in May is a good movie, but the book is oh so much better. As for Doctor Strangelove, I tried to watch it and just couldn't make it through it. It was about as boring a movie as I have ever attempted to watch. Please use it to fall asleep with and nothing more.

Cleveland , OH

Manchurian Candidate.

Saw it with the rerelease in '88.

I have never been able to watch Angela Lansbury in anything since without seeing Eleanor Shaw.

JB Fletcher became the most sinister figure on television.

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