6 Brilliant Political Thrillers You Must Watch - Spotflik 6 Brilliant Political Thrillers You Must Watch - Spotflik

6 Brilliant Political Thrillers You Must Watch

Aug. 16. 2021

Political thrillers serve as an excellent barometer for the paranoias of an era since they can provide a clear picture of what society was concerned about historically. Take a look back at these movies from different eras to get a sense of what society was thinking about.

The Day of the Jackal

“The Day of the Jackal” is the direct result of one of the great collective traumas of the ’60s: the epidemic of assassinations. As a result of so many prominent figures being killed by assassins in public, it was only natural that assassination would become part of the collective unconscious – something that this film emphasized better than any other.

This is a superb procedural, perhaps one of the purest ever created, in the sense that everything else exists solely for its own purpose. Although the film suffers from a lack of character development, it makes up for it with incredibly precise, hall-of-fame editing that takes us in-depth through every step of the assassination process.

Foreign Correspondent

The most memorable political thrillers of the late 1930s and early 1940s are spy films made to encourage the war effort under the guise of regular commercial releases.

A good example may be Alfred Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent,” his second American film and one made before the U.S. entered the war. Perhaps that is why this film stands out from most other narrative war propaganda films, as it tends to be less driven by the need to pontificate at every turn and instead is more concerned with function as a piece of cinema.

“Foreign Correspondent” is not short on patriotic speeches, but its strength lies as a pure thriller, showcasing some of Hitch’s finest work – especially the plane crash that is an absolute technical marvel.


“Z” was a political thriller of the highest standard ever made by Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras. The film won the Oscar for Best Picture, showing just how admired it was throughout the world.

It was only with “Missing,” an Oscar favorite that won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, that he ever came close to that level of widespread acclaim once more. In contrast to “Z”, despite receiving effervescent reviews at the time of its release this movie has not held on to its status as a classic and is now relegated to a place of relative obscurity among cinematic works.

It could be because this is a much more conventional film, both narratively and formally: there are no traces here of “Z’s” unusual structure or frantic editing rhythm. As a result, we get traditional, clearly defined character arcs and a more restrained formal style. Although “Missing” is one of Costa-Gavras’ most ambitious and thematically rich films – one of the most rigorous exposés ever made on the Pinochet regime.

Seven Days in May

In cinema, John Frankenheimer is one of the most important pioneers of the political thriller; it can be neatly divided into two periods before and after him.

He was not the first filmmaker to use urgent public matters as suspense material (as mentioned above, Hitchock was already doing it two decades earlier), but his particular style defined most of the tricks we now associate with the modern political thriller. He is most notable for his paranoid thrillers; director Alan J. Pakula’s paranoid thrillers would be impossible without his influence.

Due to the ubiquity of “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Seven Days in May” is sometimes overlooked, but it’s every bit as impressive, functioning both as a straight thriller (tense and powerful) and as a satire on democracy. Additionally, it’s beautifully shot and composed, a pleasure to simply look at.


David Mamet’s best works on film, both as a director and as a screenwriter, use his mastery of language to create pure genre thrills.

Mamet’s expletive-ridden dialogue and mannered spoken rhythms always work best in a more artifice-filled setting; for example, in his work on “The Untouchables” and “House of Games.”.

He excels in that regard in Spartan: a thrilling thriller with a terrific sense of information delivery, though very rarely done with such ease as Mamet does, with an ingeniously plotted and exquisitely paced story.

Absolute Power

When Clint Eastwood leaves behind his usual somberness and embraces sillier material, he’s just as rewarding as Mamet when it comes to a pulp. He has demonstrated an often unused skill for the pure genre in only a few of his directorial efforts, but that is when he lets loose and shows off his most enjoyable directorial skills.

In “Absolute Power,” Eastwood channels Hitchcock and De Palma, and, even more astonishing, he nails it. It’s probably the most bizarre thing he’s ever done, with an airport novel plot about a master of disguise uncovering a murder conspiracy involving the President – and it only gets more ridiculous from there.

Despite the silliness of the premise, Eastwood manages to make an ostensibly straight thriller out of it, while also infusing it with a satirical spirit that balances everything out. The best film on the Clinton administration is this one.

6 Brilliant Political Thrillers You Must Watch

A total pop culture junkie who loves watch watching Thelma and Louise over and over again.Suffering from severe OCD- that is obsessive coffee disorder.