Election Movie Night: Four films to get fired up

click to enlarge All the President's Men
All the President's Men

Maybe you want to get in the mood to stand up against what's wrong, or be reminded of how one person's bravery can change another's life. Or maybe you just want a distraction from the current political climate. Whatever your reason, it's a season for politically minded movies. Here are a few recommendations that will get you fired up, hopefully for the right reasons.

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)
Before you got to see how one man could make a difference in It's a Wonderful Life, there was a different Jimmy Stewart film showing one man's role in standing against a powerful political machine. In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stewart goes up against corrupt politicians and that most controversial chamber of Congress: the Senate. With maybe the most famous portrayal of a filibuster, the movie centers on calling out corruption and standing up for your country in the name of all that is good.

12 ANGRY MEN (1957)
The American criminal justice system purports to require proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In 12 Angry Men, the question of reasonable doubt is explored at length, as a jury is asked to decide whether to convict a teenager with murdering his father, a crime punishable by death. What happens when one juror demands the "peers" thoughtfully argue the facts of the case rather than rush to judgment so they can leave? Is it odd someone would have trouble recalling every detail of what they did a week ago? Could that neighbor truly have seen what she thought she saw? Is there doubt he did it?

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976)
All the President's Men shows one of the most infamous real-life examples of corruption in the executive branch with the story of the Watergate scandal. From its start as a seemingly small break-in to the uncovering of secret recordings, the film shows the bravery of journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward as they uncover the truth and write about a corrupt president even as he's being sworn in for a second term.

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK (2005)
Those unfamiliar with the work of Edward R. Murrow, regionally famous as a graduate of Washington State University (Washington State College back then), can get a glimpse into his no-BS broadcast style in Good Night, and Good Luck. Though Murrow made his name reporting in wartime Europe, when he returned, he hit hard against the Red Scare and McCarthyism, lambasting Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Standing up against the fear-mongering politics of the day isn't always popular, but many journalists continue to see that as essential work. ♦

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...