Program Details

America’s Only Distinctly Criminal Class: Four Great Films about Politics, Politicians and Campaigns, Part II

Kurt F. Stone
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Mark Twain once famously quipped, “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." Somewhat less famously, he noted that “The political morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.” For more than 100 years, Hollywood has done its part to poke, prod and present the American political process on the big screen. Regardless of the subject or the genre, these films are among the best Hollywood ever produced. The four films to be viewed in this series present what, in Stone’s estimation, are among the best political films of the past 85 years. Some are satires, other serious dramas. However, whatever the form, they guarantee a great movie-going experience, especially as we get ever closer to the next presidential election.


  1. The Candidate (1972): Robert Redford stars as a senate candidate who, since he has no chance of winning, decides to be completely honest.
  2. Wag the Dog (1997): Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro costar in a satire about a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer who fabricate a war to win an election.
  3. Good Night and Good Luck (2005): Starring George Clooney as broadcast journalist, Edward R. Murrow, who looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy. Nominated for six Oscars.
  4. A Face in the Crowd (1957): Andy Griffith (in his film debut) stars as Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, who goes from being a small-market radio star to the arbiter of the nation's morals. Chilling!

About the Instructor

  • Kurt F. Stone, DD, is now in his 23rd year with Lifelong Learning. His passion for film is, he says, "genetic," having been born in Hollywood, CA, and raised both in and around the movie industry. Stone is a multi-disciplinary sort of man, who has also written two well-received books on Congress, published nearly 900 essays, is an ordained rabbi and earns his living as a medical ethicist.

    Recipient of the 2004 Excellence in Teaching Award

Upcoming programs presented by Kurt F. Stone.

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