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Political movies everyone should see — in glorious black and white

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

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Noted at the time as one of the most important achievements in silent cinema, "Birth of a Nation" was also controversial for its depiction of race relations in the wake of the Civil War and for glorifying the Ku Klux Klan as saviors of the Reconstruction era.

"The worst thing about 'Birth of a Nation' is how good it is," The New Yorker's Richard Brody said of the film. "The merits of its grand and enduring aesthetic make it impossible to ignore and, despite its disgusting content, also make it hard not to love."

If not for the films message, "Birth of a Nation" is essential viewing for those who wish to understand the altered perspectives of the Civil War and Reconstruction era that shaped much of American policy during the first half of the 20th century.
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Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

The Grapes of Wrath

You Can't Take it With You

Arsenic and Old Lace

Casablanca

Hochmut
West Jordan, UT

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

SlopJ30
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.

SG in SLC
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)

Eliot
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.

Oatmeal
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.

Stormwalker
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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