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Paranoia Strikes Deep: My Five Favorite Political Thrillers


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Recommended by Carol, an adult reference librarian at the Canton Public Library.

Check our other Fave Five lists, too!

All the Presidents Men

(1976)
1183015.jpg Real life trumps fiction in this film based on Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodwards best-selling account (Book) of the Watergate investigation. When two green Washington Post reporters stumble upon a possible connection between the botched burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex and a White House staffer, they "follow the money" all the way to the top of the Nixon administration. Starring Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards, Jr., and Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat.

The Manchurian Candidate

(1962)
1327832.jpg Forget the 2004 remake, the original version of this movie is the far superior one. A film far ahead of its time, its themes of thought control, political assassination and multinational conspiracy were rarely discussed in this pre-Kennedy assassination era. Featuring several strong performances, including Laurence Harvey (as a programmed killing machine); Frank Sinatra (as a Korean War veteran haunted by nightmares); and especially Angela Lansbury (as the ultimate bad mother). Jessica Fletcher she isnt! Directed by John Frankenheimer, you wont soon forget this one. Based on the Novel by Richard Condon.

The Parallax View

(1974)
1196087.jpg This 1974 thriller took its inspiration from the conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination. When the witnesses to an assassination of a United States senator begin to turn up dead, journalist Joe Frady begins to investigate, despite the official conclusion by a government commission that it was committed by a freak lone assassin. When he stumbles upon a corporate identity for the killers, he decides to dig deeper by infiltrating the Parallax Corporation as one of their hired assassins. Starring Warren Beatty, this films themes of corporate influence and political misinformation are still relevant today.

Syriana

(2005)
1387235.jpg Screenwriter Stephen Gaghan traces the corruption of the global oil industry from the backrooms of Washington, D.C., to the petroleum fields of the Middle East. Using multiple storylines, the film explores the proposed merger between two U.S. oil companies and the often deadly repercussions that occur. Based in part on the writings of Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer, particularly the book, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism. Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Chris Cooper, this film will give you a new perspective the next time you fill up at the pump.

Three Days of the Condor

(1975)
1224928.jpg "His code name is Condor. In the next 24 hours, everyone he trusts will try to kill him." Just as the ads for this film announced on its release in 1975, Robert Redfords CIA researcher is marked for death when he returns from lunch to find the entire staff of his small New York office assassinated. The reasons for these murders are ultimately revealed to be as timely today as they were then. Based on the novel, Six Days of the Condor by James Grady, it also stars Faye Dunaway as the innocent civilian caught up the conspiracy.