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Best Leftist Films

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I just watched Mario Monicelli’s The Organizer and was blown away by it. One of my favorite leftist films. Then I wondered what the best leftist films are. I brought this up on Twitter today and thought it would be a good conversation here.

What are the best leftist movies? These come in 2 basic forms I think, which are films that display left activism and films that analyze left activism from a perspective that is basically sympathetic. Obviously people are going to define what makes a leftist film differently, which we can argue about.

Anyway, here are 20 I like a lot, more or less in order.

1. The Battle of Algiers
2. The Organizer
3. Modern Times
4. The Battleship Potemkin
5. The Grapes of Wrath
6. A Generation
7. Z
8. Man of Marble
9. I Am Cuba
10. Matewan
11. Punishment Park
12. The Baader Meinhof Complex
13. The End of St. Petersburg
14. Que Viva Mexico
15. Grin Without a Cat
16. The Times of Harvey Milk
17. The Decline of the American Empire
18. The China Syndrome
19. Norma Rae
20. The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks

Interestingly, when I think of the greatest leftist directors, Ken Loach is one of the first to come up. But his most overtly political films are often his worst (that terrible SEIU Justice for Janitors film with Adrien Brody) while his relatively apolitical portrayals of the English working class are his most powerful (Sweet Sixteen, Throwing Stones, etc).

What am I leaving out?

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