Guidelines for Film Essay
Pick a film from the list below. For the film you choose, write a clear and concise 1000-
word essay addressing the following points: Briefly summarize the most important
elements of the plot of the film. How does the film view those aspects of politics that we
have discussed in class? Relate the film to specific readings that we have done in class. In
your analysis, be sure to make use of specific scenes and specific quotes from the film.
You should discuss in some detail, at a minimum, three quotes the film in writing your
paper. Be sure to include the word count at the end of the essay. The body of your
essay should be 1000 words (not counting bibliography). If you write less than 1000
words, your essay may get a 0.
One-inch margins, 12-pt font.
Lions for Lambs (R): Three parallel storylines unfold to share a common bond
and a powerful message. One story tells the journey of two soldiers in
Afghanistan, another takes place in the office of a professor at a California
University, and the third is a dialogue between a reporter and a Congressman.
United Artists, 2007.
· All the President's Men (PG): The story of the infamous media driven
investigation of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel, which would eventually lead
to the resignation of an American President. Warner Brothers, 1976.
· Wag the Dog (R): Media spin doctors demonstrate how influential they have
become in this satirical look at modern politics. New Line Cinema, 1997.
· The Insider (R): A research chemist turns whistle blower to expose a corporate
giant. This true story shows the price one man paid for telling the truth. Blue Lion
· The Distinguished Gentleman (R): A con man uses the likeness of his name to
get elected to the US Congress. Once in public office, he must decide between his
own interests and those of his constituents. Hollywood Pictures, 1992.
· Bulworth (R): A Congressman has a nervous breakdown and decides to tell the
public the truth about American politics by adopting hip-hop culture and
spreading his message through rhyming/rap. Twentieth Century Fox, 1998.
· Primary Colors (R): The story of Jack Stanton, a governor running for President
and deal with a sex scandal along the way. Universal, 1998.
· Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (NR): Classic Jimmy Stewart movie shows a
naive businessman who takes a courageous stand as a Senator. Columbia, 1939.
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