Politicians in Film – Biographical Movies

For this week we have prepared a special selection in the form of movies dedicated to some of the best known politicians of the 20th century. We start with Franklin D. Rooswelt, continue with Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, and close this week´s movie picks with Nelson Mandela.

Warm Springs 

The life of Franklin D. Rooswelt took a hard turn when, in 1921, he suffered a bout with polio which paralyzed him below the waist.  His doctor believed that the illness would have permanent effects. Nevertheless, Rooswelt learned about a place in Georgia called Warm Springs that had supposedly achieved nearly miraculous results with paralysis victims. The film spotlights the period when Roosvelt fought against a contemporary stigma that threatened to exclude him from politics, eventually proving that he could beat his disease and enter the political world again, as he did in 1928. Roosvelt ultimately became the 32nd president of the United States, in 1932, and won the office three times more, serving in the White House until his death in 1945.

Thirteen Days 

In 1962, the world was literally a few seconds from nuclear war in consequence of events that followed secretly taken photographs from Cuba which captured the movement of Russian rockets with nuclear warheads into the Western Hemisphere. The next thirteen days of crisis were to decide the fate of the world, with President John F. Kennedy in the spotlight.


The film follows the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections and the personal life of Richard Nixon and the events that followed the Watergate break-in in 1972 – a political scandal which swirled around the 37th president of the United States, leading to his resignation, in 1974.

The Gathering Storm 

The story of Winston Churchill as a determined fighter against fascism is only one facet of Churchill’s career. His controversial advocacy of imperialism and rasism is another. Nevertheless, the film focuses on the period in the 1930s when the emergence of Nazism in Europe was causing widespread distress, and not just for Churchill. Portrayed as a grumpy elderly man with an often almost childish approach to his wife, but uncompromising with regard to politics and determined to return to power.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 

And it was a long walk – taken by Nelson Mandela, a legendary figure who led a life full of contrasts, spending nearly three decades in prison and then becoming president of South Africa. The film is an adaptation of Mandela´s autobiography, first published in  1994.

Photo: IMDB

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