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Election Fever in the Movies

Whenever an election is imminent, pollsters, debates and candidate speeches rule the airways. If you need a break from all of these battles for the ballot box you might want to check out Hollywood’s depiction of the political process.

Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner) is hardly a model citizen. And politics have never played an important role in his everyday life, at least until his proactive daughter registers him to vote in the upcoming election. Her action puts her dad right in the middle of the daunting task of casting the deciding vote when a problem arises at the polling booth in Swing Vote.

Political manipulation and backroom bargaining are at the heart of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington when the idealistic and naïve leader (Jimmy Stewart) of a prominent boys’ organization is sent to the Capitol to replace a recently deceased senator.

A newly elected grade school student body officer finds himself in trouble after he promises more than he can produce in the animated TV special You’re Not Elected Charlie Brown.

It’s easy to speak your mind when you aren’t really worried about winning. And that is just what Californian Bill McKay (Robert Redford) does when he is talked into standing as the Democratic candidate in a race with an aging Republican incumbent. But when his popularity begins to climb, he finds his ethics swayed in an effort to remain on top of the polls in The Candidate.

In his directorial debut, Chris Rock plays an underdressed and inexperienced Washington D.C. alderman who is given a shot at the White House after the Democratic candidate and his running mate are killed in a freak accident only weeks before Election Tuesday. Unfortunately Head of State contains a landslide of profanities and pushes the limits of family friendly slapstick comedy.

Political intrigue and an edge-of-your-seat plot unfold in the story of an ex-soldier that is brainwashed into assassinating a presidential candidate in the 1962 movie The Manchurian Candidate, starring Angela Lansbury,Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey.

When a candidate for high school student body officer sees his campaign about to implode on debate day, his campaign manager (who wears a Vote for Pedro t-shirt) saves the day by performing an awesome dance routine in front of the entire school. Napoleon Dynamite (played by (Jon Heder)is for anyone who dreams of changing the look of local politics.

Sean Penn stars as a Depression era politician from the South who is coaxed onto the campaign trail after a school fire leaves three young students dead. However the heady rush of power soon has Willie Stark misusing alcohol and women. Allegedly based on the career of Governor Huey P. Long, All the King’s Men offers an unsavory and sometimes mumbled look at political aspirations gone wrong.

In Man of the Year, Robin Williams plays a popular but politically irreverent talk show host who runs for President of the United States.

Although it doesn’t deal with an election, Good Night and Good Luck highlights the role of the news media in telling the political story. During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s hearings on communism, CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow (played by David Strathairn) puts his career on the line in hopes of exposing the personal carnage left behind in the wake of the inquiries.