x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The politics of documentaries

With the Sarah Palin bio-documentary being fast-tracked to DVD, a look at more successful documentary ventures.

The Sarah Palin bio-documentary Undefeated is set to be fast-tracked to DVD after the film performed poorly in the American box-office. Here are five other American political documentaries that did a little better:

Take Five… Daniel Ellsberg

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009) follows the life of the former US military analyst in the days leading up to his leaking of a top-secret military study of America's role in the Vietnam War.

Take Four… September 11

In Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) Michael Moore examined the US reaction to the events of September 11, 2001. The film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Take Three… Jeff Smith

A classic political-unknown-against-the-establishment story, Can Mr Smith Get to Washington Anymore? (2006) looks at Smith's campaign against the better-known Russ Carnahan for the Democratic nomination for a Missouri seat in Congress.

Take Two… Robert McNamara

The Oscar-winning The Fog of War (2003) looks at the Vietnam-era US defence secretary Robert McNamara, using archive footage, graphics and other visual effects.

Take One… Bill Clinton

The War Room (1994) is a thrilling look at Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and its then-unique communication strategy, which embraced outlets such as MTV and late-night talk shows.