Favorite radical/anarchist movies?

Submitted by LostYonder in AskRaddle

What are your favorite movies that reflect your politics and world vision? Which movies (non-documentaries) do you find have the most poignant message? Which are the most entertaining but still make you think?



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ziq wrote (edited )

Captain Fantastic

Ben Cash is raising his six children off the grid in rural Washington. They live in a sort of yurt with adjacent tree houses and other buildings, they hunt and farm all of their own food, and they celebrate Noam Chomsky’s birthday like it’s Christmas. Ben is the sort of ideological-minded communist who hates the greater capitalist culture of America and teaches his children five languages as well as a doctrine to stick it to the man.

Into the Wild

After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.


An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands. Depicts the coldness, boredom and detached isolation of civilization.

Punishment Park (or watch the Full Movie)

When the state serves as the guarantor of free speech, human rights, and social justice, the game is rigged from the onset. Thus, what is needed is a structural challenge to the success of the system.

Featuring amateur actors and shot with hand-held cameras, the film’s confrontational approach provokes a visceral reaction as it stages arrests, tribunals, debates, and the murderous “game” at its center.

In this dystopic version of the 1970s, under title 2 of the Internal Security Act (passed by Congress in 1950 and most recently invoked against Chelsea Manning in 2010), President Nixon has consolidated all domestic governmental authority within the executive branch and instructed the police and military to detain and punish any and all dissent.

Dissident trials are foregone conclusions, and afterwards they are given the choice of long prison terms or the opportunity of gaining their freedom by surviving the guantlet of running fifty-six miles through the desert while being hunted by police and national guard troops.

The film crosscuts between one group attempting to traverse the “park” and one group still on trial. In this way, the film illustrates the theories of the testimonies through images of the practices of the dissidents “in the field.” From the start, we know the authorities will always win, not because of individuals, though, but because the maintenance of the institutions is paramount.

The roughness and direct address of issues of race, class, gender, and imperialism mark Punishment Park as an extremely valuable relentless, didactic composition.


Spanish Civil War. Four women join in the fight against the Nationalist government and right-wing elements of the Church. Pilar is a militant feminist. Floren is her comrade in arms. Charo is a sex worker radicalized by the war and her recognition of the gender and sexuality inequalities that permeate the social structure.

Land and Freedom

Depicts the anarchist brigade in the Spanish Civil War; where men and women fight side by side and elect their own leaders when necessary.


Matewan is an ambivalent union film that stages a reenactment of the 1920 coal miner’s strike in Matewan, West Virginia, including the final gunfight between the townspeople and the anti-union thugs that left seven people dead.

The film depicts the complex, dynamic intersections among race, class, ethinicity, and gender involved in twentieth-century labor organizing.

Born in Flames

Feminist, queer, science fiction. A futuristic image of USAmerica reborn as a socialist democracy pushed toward anarchist activation by women’s pirate radio.

In New York City, ten years after the peaceful socialist revolution, two feminist radio stations—one led by a white lesbian and one led by a soft-spoken black woman—give voice to the shortcomings of the revolution, which some argue has led to a dystopian system of governmental control and aggrevated patriarchal abuse.

They demand the right for self-rule from the elites and blow up the radio tower atop the World Trade Center to end all future hegemonic media messaging. The film emphasizes alternative aesthetics, direct (rather than representative) democracy, and women’s roles in what is deemed as “necessary violence.”

The Grapes of Wrath

A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Salt of the Earth

A neorealist-inspired collaborative endeavor to dramatize the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Companty in Grant County, New Mexico, the black and white film deploys actual miners and their families and is constructed around the tensions between the work place strikes and the home front difficulties as gender and hierachical situations are fractured and shifted by intersecting responsibilities.

Although the film is a remarkably collective story—of the miners and their communal struggles to work freely and live the lives they have made—it also uses the microcosm of Esperanza and Ramon’s tale to focus on the gendered aspects of resistance.

Esperanza, who narrates the film, is pregnant with their third child; she at first supports Ramon’s leadership in the workers’ organization but quickly challenges his patriarchal abuse at home. After the striking men are denied the right to continue their collective action, the women of the town take up their places in the picket line, marching for the rights and recognition of all the workers.

Thus, Salt of the Earth is one of the first modern films to directly align feminist and working-class issues without subverting one hierarchy to the other.

Django Unchained

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Empowering revenge fantasy.

Let the Fire Burn

A documentary of the aerial bombing by the Philadelphia police of the MOVE Organization that resulted in the deaths of several children and destroyed two entire city blocks.

Deacons for Defense (or watch the Full Movie)

Biographical film about the rise of the early armed Black self-defense movement "Deacons for Defense and Justice" in Tuscaloosa, AL, which inspired Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party

Night Catches Us

Ex-Black Panther returns to his hometown in Philadelphia after the Party was disbanded by COINTELPRO.

Office Space

Comedic tale of workers who suffer endless indignities and humiliations in their soulless workspace. For Peter, stuck in his cookie-cutter apartment with paper-thin walls and IKEA furniture, every day is worse than the one before it -- so every day is the worst of his life. The workers decide to rebel against their bourgie boss.

American History X

Dramatic exploration into the roots of race hatred in America from the perspectives of a white nationalist and his little brother.

V For Vendetta

V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate vision of Britain in which a corrupt and abusive totalitarian government has risen to complete power. During a threatening run in with the secret police, an unassuming young woman named Evey is rescued by a vigilante named V - a caped figure both articulate and skilled in combat. V embodies the principles of rebellion from an authoritarian state, donning a mask of vilified would-be terrorist of British history Guy Fawkes and leading a revolution sparked by assassination and destruction.


The life and career of John Reed, the journalist and writer who chronicled the Russian Revolution in his book Ten Days That Shook the World. Features Emma Goldman as a character.

Fight Club

A celebration of anti-social behavior, illegalism and the rejection of consumerism.


Fantastic Mr. Fox

The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox's theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes' home, but the animals are able to work together to outwit the farmers.

Grave of the Fireflies

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.


A young Iranian girl experiences the Islamic Revolution when the fundamentalists first take power--forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands. She cleverly outsmarts the "social guardians" and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden, while living with the terror of government persecution and the Iran/Iraq war. Then Marjane's journey moves on to Austria where she has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism and extremism she fled her country to escape.


edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

While Fight Club rejects consumerism, I don't think it's a good anarchist film. I don't want to spoil the story for those that haven't seen it, but our anti-consumerist hero (anti-hero? protagonist?) has absolute dictatorial control of the organization he creates to attack consumerism. Clearly that's not anarchist. And in the end he's defeated by someone who is alienated by consumerism but does not reject it or contemporary society to nearly the same level that he does.

If anything, I'd call the film a dark comedy with a mild criticism of consumerism.


ziq wrote

I don't recall calling it an anarchist film. But they blow up the central bank and wipe out all debt so it's pretty much the best thing ever to happen in mainstream cinema.


ziq wrote (edited )

The first 2 on the list best reflect my worldview. A rejection of civilization and things and a yearning for freedom away from authority.

There's also a wiki if anyone wants to add summaries and/or trailers to it:



GaldraChevaliere wrote

Spirited Away has some good messages on the importance of spirituality and not giving into greed and excess, and has a protagonist who's allowed to genuinely be a young girl and gets ahead without sacrificing that, still growing in the process.


RosaReborn wrote

I'd say allMmiyazaki movies, and many other anime films, espouse this value very well. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke also do the themes of environmentalism over economic exploitation credit.


0w0 wrote

Grave of the Fireflies is also pretty good if you see it from a radical point of view.


rot wrote

Brazil! It's like the matrix + they live but existentialist. Underrated and very anti-authority


Ant wrote

Italian film Mio Fratello E Figlio Unico, translated as My Brother Is An Only Child.

Spanish film Salvador (Puig Antich).


Bells_On_Sunday wrote (edited )

The Gospel According to St Matthew, a superb and very moving film made with non-actors and with a strong anarcho-communist message. The blurb describes it as presenting Jesus as "a Marxist avant la letter". It is raw, transcendent film making and Pasolini's best, IMO. Though I'm an atheist I'm fascinated by this story of a guttersnipe tramp and his radical emancipatory message directed primarily at the other poor and powerless people around him, fascinating also to consider how it was twisted into forms of violence, hierarchical control and brainwashing.