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The Best Election Movies to Distract You from the 2022 Midterms

From dark '90s comedies "Wag the Dog" and "Election" to serious fate-of-our-democracy drama "All the President's Men" to lighter fare like "Long Shot" and "Napoleon Dynamite," these are on-theme films to distract from your doom-scrolling.

The Best Election Movies

(Counter clockwise from bottom left): “The Ides of March,” “State of the Union,” “All the President’s Men,” “Election,” and “Napoleon Dynamite”

Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s the 2022 Midterm Elections in the United States. So, uh, how you doing, buddy?

Even in a world as spectacularly screwed up as ours [insert long list of alarming, urgent problems we have no practical solutions for, ending with some half-assed joke about the planet being on fire that you’ve definitely heard before!], the American political landscape is especially rocky terrain. In a post-Trump U.S., democracy is on the ballot and faith in both our elections system and fellow humans is at an all-time low.

But, you knew that. Whether you’ve just come from the polls, you’re one of the early birds who mailed your ballot in days ago, or you’re an international bystander who is understandably freaked out by this sea to shining shit storm, Election Day and the following week of tabulations is a stressful period. It can leave you fixated on the choices you made, obsessing about forces outside of your control, and fielding calls from your worst relatives. To keep our own heads above water, IndieWire staffers have pulled together some of the most memorable election movies. Why? Because if we can’t stop thinking about the election, we might as well doomscroll with a thematically-relevant masterwork on in the background.

Black-and-white classics like 1949’s “All the King’s Men” and 1962’s “The Manchurian Candidate” rank high on this list, as perfect crystallizations of the toxic greed that fuels so many’s pursuit of power. The ’90s were a banner decade for the election comedy, from the international trickery of “Wag the Dog,” starring the late Anne Heche, Robert De Niro, and Dustin Hoffman as three unlikely Washington fixers, to the small-time student government antics of “Election,” in which a 22-year-old Reese Witherspoon dazzles as an ambitious (read: practically feral) high schooler who will stop at nothing to win over her peers. Later works, from George Clooney’s tense “Ides of March” to the delightful Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron-starring “Long Shot” explore elections at all angles, finding the fear and fun in the most unlikely moments.

Without further ado (and with plans to grab a strong drink after this), here are the 15 best election movies just in time for the 2022 Midterms. And hey: go vote.

With editorial contributions by Christian Blauvelt, Jude Dry, David Ehrlich, and Michael Nordine.

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