The greatest political movies - the longlist

Do you agree with our staff picks?

Next issue's Critics will be a film special, so in honour of this we have conducted a completely un-scientific poll of NS staff to find the greatest political movies. "Political" was taken in its broadest sense - the only stipulation being no documentaries. You'll have to wait until Thursday's magazine to find out the top ten, but for now here's the longlist.

Tell us in the comments thread below: which films have we missed out? And what would make your top ten?


All the President's Men dir: Alan J. Pakula (1976)

Battleship Potemkin dir: Sergei Eisenstein (1926)

Casablanca dir: Michael Curtiz (1942)

Chinatown dir: Roman Polanski (1974)

Do the Right Thing dir: Spike Lee (1989)

Downfall dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel (2005)

Dr Strangelove dir: Stanley Kubrick (1964)

Godzilla dir: Ishirō Honda (1954)

Gomorra dir: Matteo Garrone (2008)

Goodbye, Lenin dir: Wolfgang Becker (2003)

Hunger dir: Steve McQueen (2008)

In the Loop dir: Armando Iannucci (2009)

Independence Day dir: Roland Emmerich (1996)

Kadosh dir: Amos Gitai (1999)

La Chinoise dir: Jean-Luc Godard (1967)

La Haine dir: Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)

La Planete Sauvage dir: René Laloux (1973)

Land and Freedom dir: Ken Loach (1995)

Lone Star dir: John Sayles (1996)

Meantime dir: Mike Leigh (1984)

Milk dir: Gus Van Sant (2008)

Mr Smith Goes to Washington dir: Frank Capra (1939)

My Beautiful Laundrette dir: Stephen Frears (1985)

Nashville dir: Robert Altman (1975)

Persepolis dir: directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (2007)

Platoon dir: Oliver Stone (1986)

Pratidwandi (The Adversary) dir: Satyajit Ray (1971)

Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1975)

Strawberry and Chocolate dir: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1968)

Team America: World Police dir: Trey Parker (2005)

The Battle of Algiers dir: Gillo Pontecorvo (1967)

The Candidate dir: Michael Ritchie (1972)

The Conformist dir: Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)

The Last of England dir: Derek Jarman (1988)

The Lives of Others dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2006)

The Trial dir: Orson Welles (1962)

W dir: Oliver Stone (2008)

Waltz With Bashir dir: Ari Folman (2008)

Xala dir: Ousmane Sembene (1975)

Z dir: Costa Gavros (1969)



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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.