Virtual Voting

Last modified: 
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

With elections in the air, and the airwaves, and on peoples’ minds, sample these DVDs having to do with the art of made-up politics.

Being There (1979)
Chance the Gardener likes growing things, roses, tulips, and even bushes. The fact that he’s also a TV-addict assures that he winds up a contender in the highest political circles. Peter Sellers has maybe his best role in this adaptation of the Jerzy Kosinski novel.


Bulworth (1998)
Senator Bulworth (Warren Beatty) feels he has nothing to lose when he climbs aboard a form of the Straight Talk Express as it careens off on the campaign trail.

The Election (1999)
Since we learn everything before we graduate from high school anyway, a high school election can serve as a perfect paradigm of any and all elections, as it does here. Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick star.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Still an effective political shocker with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury all terrific in their roles.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Through oratorical skill and sheer perseverance James Stewart succeeds over the wily “Silver Fox” in the person of Claude Rains in this political fantasy.

Tanner ’88 (1988)
Savvy political satire as rendered by Gary “Doonesbury” Trudeau and directed by Kansas City-born director Robert Altman.

Wag the Dog (1997)
It’s all made up, or is it?

Note: The Library also has a host of biopics dealing with presidents (e.g., Young Mr. Lincoln) as well as documentaries dealing with past presidents (Truman).