MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON FRANK CAPRA, 1939
Appointed to fill out a Senate term because the state bosses think he's naive and malleable, Jefferson Smith eventually stages a one-man filibuster to get his message out beyond the corrupt lawmakers and to the electorate. Capra-corn was never so spicy or savory as in this angry, impassioned political weepie. James Stewart, below, expertly plays every emotional key, from innocence to hysteria to exhaustion.
CITIZEN KANE ORSON WELLES, 1941
Best film ever? Maybe. But beyond the epiphanies of film form and camera work, Kane offers an acute view of American politics that applies...