It has been a very strange year in politics, and it’s only going to get stranger on Election Day. Will the ever-polarizing Christine O’Donnel win? Will Sarah Palin join the cast of “Dancing with the Stars”? Will Sean Penn make an extremely controversial statement related to Hugo Chavez and human rights?  All I know is this – if you are planning on watching a movie on Election Day, it should be one of the five listed below:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

What happens when you put Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart together? Instant masterpiece.  Jimmy Stewart plays Jefferson Smith, and turns in one of the greatest acting performances of all time.  Elected officials should be required to watch this movie, and remember whom they are fighting for.  Jefferson Smith is the President this country deserves!


Kevin Costner was a fantastic actor in his prime, and JFK was his piece de resistance (with all due respect to Bull Durham and Field of Dreams fans). Not only was Costner in his prime, but Oliver Stone was not so bad himself. Conspiracy theorists and history buffs alike should watch JFK, and appreciate every minute of this three-plus hour masterpiece. The all-star casts includes Costner, Gary Oldman, Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, and Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight.

Clear and Present Danger

If Jefferson Smith is America’s ideal President, then Jack Ryan should be his running mate. Harrison Ford is much a boy scout as he is a badass in this Phillip Noyce directed Clancy adaptation about a President who has taken matters in his own hands. Clear and Present Danger sheds some light on the cartels in South America, and their vicious battle to control the drug trade to the US, which in and of itself is relevant to modern times.

All the President’s Men

Robert Redford absolutely shines as Bob Woodward, and Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein – the reporters who broke Watergate. All the President’s Men is a great example of how journalists can wield their power for good, and in the process, make a significant impact. Also, for those of you who are into contemporary history, you are probably familiar with Woodward’s recent books on Bush and Obama (which make Woodward relevant again).


The Manchurian Candidate (the original, not the crappy remake)

The last one was definitely a tough call, but I have to give the nod to The Manchurian Candidate.  A sinister assassination plot + political intrigue make this nail-biter an all time classic. Definitely worth a re-watch on Election Day should you feel compelled; fantastic performance by Sinatra.

Honorable Mention: Election, Dave, The American President, Primary Colors, Wag the Dog, Milk, The Candidate

Written by Sunil Rajaraman who is the President and CEO of