The branches of the U.S. government have been the focus of much-watched and highly influential Hollywood movies. In these activities, you will critically evaluate how political films portray the roles of each branch of the government and then design a movie trailer for your own political film.
Hollywood movies about U.S. political history tell viewers as much about the times in which the films were made as the historical stories shown on the screen. Dr. Strangelove (1964) expresses fears of nuclear war during the Cold War. All the President's Men (1976) shows courageous reporters uncovering government scandals and secrets. Rambo (1982) extolls the power of American heroes in the post-Vietnam War era. Malcolm X (1992) reflected a growing awareness of the need for racial and social justice in society.
What are your favorite movies about government? It is the story you like; the characters and/or the actors who play them, or what the film says about the role of government in people's lives?
Activity 1: Analyze Political Films About the Branches of the Government
View a political film from Hollywood about each branch of the government.
Congress: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) celebrates the ideal of a single man of principle making a difference in politics.
President: Lincoln (2012) shows presidential leadership in getting Congress to enact the 13th Amendment to permanently abolish slavery or All the President's Men (1976) and its depiction of the Watergate coverup.
Courts: 12 Angry Men (1957) shows a jury struggling with a life and death decision to convict a defendant.