MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

5 Great Libertarian Movies!

These films showcase individualism, innovation, and anti-statism, all while making us laugh and cry.

(Page 2 of 2)

IMDBIMDBGhostbusters (1984)

Released in 1984, Ghostbusters quickly became one of most successful comedies in film history.

In many ways, the movie was perfectly in synch with the Reagan Revolution's valorization of business and demonization of government. Ghostbusters begins with a team of paranormal investigators getting kicked out of Columbia University and starting a ghost-hunting business. But even though New York is literally being invaded by evil spirits, the real villain of the movie is not the otherwordly demon Gozer but an Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrat named Walter Peck, who shuts down their operation and puts the city at risk. Hilarity ensues.

Well, what do you think? How far off the mark are we? What great libertarian movies would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written and narrated by Nick Gillespie.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    My list, off the top of my head:

    Truman Show
    Harrison Bergeron
    Gattaca
    They Live
    Gormenghast BBC Miniseries

  • Brandybuck||

    They Live is extremely anti-libertarian. It criticizes conformity, but only by treating the market as the creator of conformity. It's an anti-business, anti-market, anti-capitalist movie through and through. The bad guy businessmen who are selling out humanity to the aliens may be in cahoots to a cronyist government, but the movie makes it very clear that it's the business that's evil. Not the pursuit of profit by any means, but merely the pursuit of profit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Put the glasses on.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm all out of bubblegum.

  • Nuwanda||

    Exactly.

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    In otherwise awesome movie, this is the sticking point for me. I find it funny "They Live" critiques the conformity only a state could enforce by blaming it on "free enterprise". I like John Carpenter but he goes full fucking retard when he tries foisting his nonsensical, bull shit, boomer, simple minded left wing hippie bull shit upon the audience.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I think we have different ideas about what is libertarian. For me, libertarianism is first and foremost about individuality and the NAP. Were not the characters in They Live pursued with the goal of initiating violence against them?

    The Fountainhead is also a very anti-capitalist book, but it is hailed as a libertarian classic.

  • hello.||

    I think we have different ideas about what is libertarian.

    True. Some people think it's actually being a libertarian and you think it's Marx's theoretical utopia after the total state has withered away.

  • Jujucat||

    The Fountainhead is anti-capitalist? Wha?

  • Agammamon||

    Gattaca is not a libertarian movie. It is just yet another 'triumph of the human spirit' schlock that's been put out forever.

  • Curmudgeon44||

    And the homo-erotic angle on it, somehow fails to arouse me.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Well, it's on quite a few libertarian movies lists, so many people disagree with you.

  • Nuwanda||

    I found Harrison Bergeron to be as woefully acted and produced as the recent Atlas Shrugged trilogy.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Y'all are just a bunch of contrarians. Which is, after all, the most important trait for being a libertarian.

  • Cyto||

    No it isn't

  • Nuwanda||

    Yes, it is.

  • A_Spellman||

    nuh-uh

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Actually, it's a third, completely separate thing.

  • Nuwanda||

    Splitter!

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Gattaca was fantastic. Severely underrated.

  • hello.||

    Harrison Bergeron is a send-up of the Birchers. You guys are too stupid to even know when you're being insulted.

  • TLBD||

    Great! I'm always trying to find movies to sneakily indoctrinate my wife. J-Law is like the ultimate Trojan Horse, considering she is a loon.

    A list of documentaries would be great, too.

    A few off the top of my head:

    Poverty, Inc
    The Lottery
    Ai Wei Wei: The Fake Case
    Trophy

  • Iheartskeet||

    Documentaries !

    All time fav is Arnold S narrating the Free to Choose series.

    Where oh where did THAT Arnold go ?

  • Rat on a train||

    Forget the Oscars! Here are five great movies made over the past quarter-century that any libertarian will (must?) enjoy.
    ...
    Ghostbusters (1984)


    2018 - 1984 = 34

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Maybe he was talking about the remake. It's libertarian, too. I mean, women doing science? That fantasy could only come from the mind of a libertarian.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I watched that like 2 months ago when granddaughter was over and I don't remember any of it. That's how lame it was.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I gave it a shot and had to turn it off after 15 minutes. That was enough time to confirm why anything with Melissa McCarthy in it has AIDS.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    Vera Drake (2004)
    Land and Freedom (1995)
    Apocalypse Now
    The Battle of Algiers
    Hungar Games
    Spartacus

  • Brandybuck||

    I have a beef with including Hongar Games. Libertarians do not have a monopoly on opposing totalitarian states. It's not until the end of the last of four movies that the idea that the rebellion might be just as evil as the state its fighting rears it's head. Before that it's just rebels fighting a totalitarian state run by a rather odious man.

    Conservatives can also be opposed to totalitarianism. Liberals can also be opposed to totalitarianism. Hell, even progressives can be opposed to totalitarianism. A "libertarian" movie need to have more than a villain government to count as libertarian.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Agree.

    Even commies and Nazis can be opposed to totalitarianism: the French Resistance was mostly commie, and literal Nazis (literal Nazis, as in NSDAP members, not bullshit "literal") battled commies in the streets of Germany.

  • Brandybuck||

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare the original Godfather to be libertarian. Sure it's about a bunch of coercing criminals, but Brando's speech at the start goes to the heart of how order can emerge outside the confines of the state. The violence the Corleone Family commit, at least int he first movie, is against rival gangs who and agents of the state, both groups which committed violence against the family first.

    The latter is how Puzo and Coppola manage to turn what would be a group of vicious thugs into sympathetic characters.

    My two cents.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Understand but never could stand those movies, or the romanticization of what were just a bunch of thugs.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, that's my issue with mob movies as well. They're nothing more than scumbags.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I don't see anything romantic about the Godfather trilogy. It all ends in tragedy.

    There is, however, a great scene that resonates with libertarians.

  • CatoTheChipper||

  • Iheartskeet||

    Hmm not sold my friend. I think that just amounts to cynicism rather than anything uniquely libertarian.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Yes, it's cynical, but it's a cynicism of those who have power to use coercion.

    In the "City of God," St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, "How dare you molest the seas?" To which the pirate replied, "How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor."

  • Iheartskeet||

    Well, I'd say that's giving The Godfather a lot more intellectual weight than it deserves. I didn't get done watching and think "wow, we ought to be on guard about coercive power !".

    Rather, I thought "bunch of crooks sure got away with a lot and seem to think highly of themselves".

    I admit my interpretation may be in the minority.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    THX1138

  • Iheartskeet||

    This will of course turn in to a big list of everyones fave movies.

    What the hell, I'll add one to the pile:

    Bronco Billy (1980) - Its libertarian in the sense of a man re-inventing himself, regardless of the economic consequences or even common sense. I hate when we make it all about economics. People do weird wonderful shit for reasons we can't fathom. Train robbery scene a classic. Bonus: champions cultural appropriation like few other films.

  • A_Spellman||

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space - Overbearing authority (bad cop) will get you killed, but a government that puts the people first ( good cop) will save the day. Also, most the bad people in the world really are just incompetent....klowns.

    I just wanted an excuse to put this awesomely campy movie in here...somewhere.

  • StackOfCoins||

    No Iron Man 2?

    Justin Theroux penned the most libertarian superhero movie in IM2, which begins with Tony Stark showing up to a senate hearing merely to troll everyone and telling the government to fuck off.

    It was so scalding, Disney and Marvel did an about-face in Civil War turning Tony Stark into government cuck #1.

  • Iheartskeet||

    He was channeling Howard Hughes

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Tony Stark's father is the Howard Hughes of the Marvel Universe.

  • Paloma||

    Any Iron Man movie. Although I liked Iron Man 2 the best.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Boiler Room
    Wall Street
    Glengarry Glen Ross

  • StackOfCoins||

    Are you trolling? Those movies are mostly about bad investors. It's not libertarian to knowingly squander people's money.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    ALWAYS BE CLOSING!

  • Iheartskeet||

    COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    The real favor is to fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.

  • ||

    Because only one thing counts in this life: get 'em to sign on the line which is dotted.

  • 68W58||

    Stalag 17 has many libertarian themes-Sefton makes himself wealthy in difficult circumstances by providing booze, gambling and porn (sort of). For his efforts he is demonized and and blamed for all sorts of things, but ultimately proves to be the hero (for a price).

  • Johnimo||

    OMG, 68W58! You're reaching way back into the film classics. I love Stalag 17 for several reason (that guy dreaming about Betty Grable) and yes, it is kind of libertarian in an indirect way. How 'bout the closing line in the movie? Luv it. How old are you, 68W58?

  • 68W58||

    Hi Johnimo-I am 51, but I love classic movies and Billy Wilder movies especially. Stalag 17 is several different genres in one (war movie, mystery, comedy) which is part of why it is great.

    All I can say in Animal's defense is that Sefton did, in fact, end up with their wire cutters (which only serves the rest of them right after what they did to his foot locker).

    Frankly, I think it stands up well even today. I have shown it to people who have never seen it and they are shocked when the spy is revealed.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Armageddon

    It's the private sector that comes to the rescue of a federal agency to save the world!

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    I just about spit my beer when I was browsing Netflix or Amazon and saw Armageddon listed in a category that included the words "critically acclaimed". That movie is the fucking worst and it won't just go away like most forgettable dreck. The only place you should be able to find it is on MST3k.

  • Cy||

    It and "The Core" are a couple of my guilty pleasures. They made some spectacularly bad films in the earl 2000's.

  • Cy||

    It and "The Core" are a couple of my guilty pleasures. They made some spectacularly bad films in the earl 2000's.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You, sir, are an idiot of the highest order. In the golden age of cinema - the late 90's - Armageddon was the cream of the crop.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    If Armageddon was the cream of the crop, it sounds more like the lead age than the golden age. :P

  • A_Spellman||

    golden leaf age.....we're not going to acknowledge whats under the gold leaf

  • CE||

    And Bruce Willis insisted his crew be exempt from income taxes for life or no deal. And the whole audience in my theater applauded.

  • Grifhunter||

    Hows about "The Pursuit of Happiness"?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    YES!

  • MoreFreedom||

    I agree.

    And I'd like to add "Groundhog Day" because it shows an unhappy character, to the dismay of those around him, who doesn't like himself or his work, and he turns into someone who actually learns to produce good works and perfect his day into one where he does his best and returns him to a righteous path where he and the others around him all benefit.

    That's turns into a libertarian win/win scenario from something less.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yes, great movie. But it's more about the human spirit to achieve than the NAP ethic.

  • Texasmotiv||

    I've maintained that Zootopia is a secretly libertarian movie. Even though it softly depicts Jason Bateman's character as a sleazy grifter when he actually demonstrates someone using ingenuity to find a niche-market and capitalize on it, there are lots of anti-collectivist messages and the entire movie is about a corrupt local government trying to start a race war for political gain. Plus, It also pokes fun at bureaucracy in the DMV sloth gags.

    Oh and also:
    Team America

  • Rat on a train||

  • Rat on a train||

    Fuck Yea

  • DaveSs||

    I realize its a kids movie and all so accuracy in proper procedure isn't a big concern, but the bunny cop's methods of gathering evidence ruined it for me.

  • AlmightyJB||

    No Roads In.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Private Road

  • JudgeFang||

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    Paths of Glory
    Sicario
    Other People's Money

  • LarryA||

    Other People's Money

    You beat me to it. DeVito's speech ought to be required listening in high school economics, if there were any high school economics.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_P4xOiEREk

  • Slumbrew||

    One of my finance professors in college did indeed show that scene to the class.

  • jb2000||

    Thank you so very much LarryA for the link. DeVito would probably never say as much in real life...which just goes to show us how good an actor he really is.

  • Nuwanda||

    Wonka falls into that category not so much about libertarian ideas but life-affirming morality; doing the right thing, integrity.

    That being the case, Broadcast News and Network fit the bill.

  • jb2000||

    Thank you, Judge Fang for the OPM mention.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Atlas Shrugged (Part One)
    Atlas Shrugged (Part Two)
    Atlas Shrugged (Part Three)
    King Rat (Oops! Made in the 60s)
    Smokey & The Bandit (Oops! 70s)

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Oops! Made in the 60s"
    "Oops! 70"

    Who cares, one of the OP's video's choices for libertarian movies in the last 25 years is 34 years old.

  • ||

    Smokey and The Bandit v. Thunder Road. Discuss.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm partial to White Lightning.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Watched Smokey and The Bandit for the first time last year though it was certainly in the air when I was growing up. It was kinda fun just because it's so referenced in pop culture, but... it hasn't aged well.

  • Slumbrew||

  • A_Spellman||

    Sir, a Mr. Turd Ferguson is at the door, and would like to have a word.....

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Convoy.

  • Idiocracy||

    V For Vendetta !

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I'd call that more anarchy, but good nonetheless.

  • mondo_cane||

    Libertarianism has a bit of anarchy blended into it. But only so far as minimal, not absent, government and overarching governance.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Harold and Maude

    no, seriously.

  • Cyto||

    Great movie. But libertarian? Because of a fascination with suicide? I can't remember enough about it to sus out a political point of view.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Is Star Wars libertarian? It's definitely anti-totalitarian, so kind of.

    The Lego Movie is a great breath of freedom for you and your children.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think Star Wars is just a classic good vs evil adventure.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    How Emperor Palpatine uses false flags to seize power is instructive.

  • ||

    Ha ha "libertarian" movies.

    Fine I'll play along.

    Birth of a Nation
    My Fair Lady
    The Incredible Shrinking Man
    Deliverance

    And-uh I don't know....

    The Maltese Falcon.

  • AlmightyJB||

    You forgot Roots and Blood Diamond.

  • Johnimo||

    The Maltese Falcon is incredibly well done: "It's the stuff dreams are made of."

  • Idiocracy||

    V For Vendetta

  • Joey JoJo Junior Shabadoo||

    Thank You for Smoking
    The People vs. Larry Flynt
    Rollerball (1975)
    Risky Business
    Escape from New York

  • SIV||

    Rollerball is pretty close to THE most libertarian movie.

    Except for, maybe, Shenandoah

  • Nuwanda||

    +1 for Flynt.

  • Ladyhawk||

    The movie "Precious."

    I don't know what it was meant to be, since it was produced by Oprah - maybe some real-life story about how pathetic and victimized the ghetto inhabitants of inner cities are these days.

    But the unlikely and physically unimpressive-looking heroin Precious is a 17-year-old black girl with TWO children forced on her by her incestuous father, and an incredibly abusive mother who plays the victim at every opportunity, including a truly sickening justification for allowing her "husband" to sexually assault Precious from babyhood.

    Despite her overwhelmingly dysfunctional family life and the unrelenting harassment from her peers who despise and mock her for "acting black" because she is determined to finish high school, Precious succeeds, thanks in part to some heroic teachers, and along the way she shows indomitable determination and an unusually strong will to pull herself and her children out of the toxic culture that characterizes today's most poverty stricken and crime-riddled big urban neighborhoods. For me, this movie is unforgettable for its depiction of quiet unassuming and dogged heroism, and an eye-opening description of the pathology and hopelessness of life on welfare.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Up in Smoke.

  • SIV||

    Has only 2 out of 3

    Needs moar ass sex

  • AlmightyJB||

    If this vans a rockin', don't come a knockin'

  • Ladyhawk||

    PS when I showed the movie "Precious" to my liberal-leaning husband, he declared it to be one of the best movies he had ever seen. There's hope for him yet.

  • Paloma||

    For Love or Country - the Arturo Sandoval Story

    Also Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate).

  • Shirley Knott||

    Desperate Living

  • JLM||

    Saw an unexpected one a few weeks ago. An old Bogart movie called Key Largo from the 40s, I think. The mobsters in the movie are reminiscing about the good old days of prohibition and talking about the possibility that it might come back. It made me wonder if people of the time (in general) were that bluntly aware of the failures and unintended consequences of prohibition, or if this director was just smarter than average.

  • mondo_cane||

    Indeed, most of the people were that blunt about the failures and unintended consequences of prohibition. There were many cities, counties and states that prohibited alcoholic beverages before the Eighteenth Amendment prohibited alcohol nationwide. It was easily understood, common sense dictates, that prohibition of anything never works. Witness the prohibition against drugs. The consequences are always the same, to drive the prohibited thing underground thus enabling only criminals to access it, control it, and sell it. Additional consequences are higher prices, questionable sources, and questionable product quality.

    Of course, the reason the mobsters in the movie were reminiscing about the good old days of prohibition was that it made a vast market for their illegal booze and they made lots and lots of money due to it.

  • Nuwanda||

    The consequences are always the same, to drive the prohibited thing underground thus enabling only criminals to access it, control it, and sell it. Additional consequences are higher prices, questionable sources, and questionable product quality.

    By why does any of that matter when you're on a moral crusade? It doesn't.

    Look at it the other way: should sex with children be legal simply because keeping it illegal creates a hugely lucrative market for kiddie porn and human trafficking? We could get rid of all that black market stuff by simply legalising it. Right?

    No, you'd object (unless you're an anarchist) that having sex with kids is wrong and should be prohibited regardless of the criminal activity and huge profits to be made from the enablers and purveyors of it.

    The point is, if you want to fight a prohibition, you ultimately need to do it on moral grounds. It's my life, and if I want to to take drugs, that's my right. There's no such right to abuse a child, etc.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I think the relevant question is "does it reduce the bad thing in question".

    Prohibition makes alcohol and opioids less safe while only moderately decreasing consumption, leading to more deaths- the thing that's supposed to be curtailed. If it could be proven that the ban on child sex actually increased the number of children being sexually exploited (and no, I don't think it does), what person would argue for it?

    The difference is that bans on violent behavior (pedophilia, murder, adult rape, robbery, et al) actually do usually reduce it, whereas bans on inanimate objects either A, do more damage than they forestall (by making the objects that remain more dangerous), or B, are redundant (eg a ban on guns, when they're used by people who have already decided they're not afraid of the punishment for murder).

  • Nuwanda||

    I think the relevant question is "does it reduce the bad thing in question".

    And what if it didn't? There's no reason to believe that a prohibition on a substance or activity raises its use rate. Marginally there may be some attraction to the forbidden but balancing that out is the actual effect of prohibition making the activity too risky for casual players. So it's perfectly reasonable to suggest that making any previously-banned activity legal will raise participation levels. Why wouldn't the rates of marijuana usage go up in places where it is legalised and therefore the bad effects of its use? That's the whole goal of the market: to raise consumption through advertising, service and quality.

    So your rationale fails the first hurdle. And what if the "bad thing in question" is the actual use of drugs not the bad effects of them? What if the prohibitionists simply claim drugs are bad per se and nobody should be taking them? And that's what they actually do say.

    All you have left is the moral statement that it's your life, your body, you own it and you'll use it or abuse it how you see fit.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    That's a philosophical argument. It's correct, of course. But you also seem to be asserting that utilitarian/consequentialist arguments are inadequate, whereas as I see it, individual freedom can be argued for with equal strength from both perspectives.

    I said in my comment that prohibition decreases consumption. I'm not sure how you saw that as me saying the opposite. My point was that the narcotic (or abortifacient, etc.) in question inevitably also becomes more dangerous to the user, because illicit dealers cut corners in order to compensate for black market price inflation and sell their product at an affordable price. Examples: Rotgut, coathangers, and of course, Fentanyl-laced heroin.

    Which, of course, is why the Jeff Sessions approach to cutting off prescription opioids has increased opioid ODs over the last 5 years: the reduction in users has been totally wiped out by the skyrocketing of fentanyl use, which is exponentially more dangerous per user. Fentanyl would not be present in the drug market if it were a free market.

    The "bad thing in question" to most people is "the deaths". Prohibition increases deaths. Why reject utilitarian arguments when they're almost always in our favor?

  • A_Spellman||

    The difference between drugs and child abuse is that drugs can be argued to not have an effect on others, whereas child abuse has a definite effect on another person.

    Personally, I'm all for legalizing drugs, and just increasing the penalties for DUI. Who cares what you do with your life, but if your choices negatively impact another, you should be punished for it.

  • meister574||

    Brazil
    Tucker
    Brewsters Million's (80's version)
    Dr. Strangelove

  • Schmedlapp||

    Created an account just to say Tucker: The Man and His Dream. A true story of the government colluding with the Big 3 automakers to take down a single entrepreneur who proved he could beat them at their own game.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Firefly (the movie) link
    The Outlaw Josey Wales link
    Iron Man
    The Americanization of Emily link
    Braveheart link

    Agree w/ above: Battle of Algiers for an object lesson on the pointlessness of foreign adventures and Harrison Bergeron, obviously.

    Many movies that appeal to libertarians aren't really libertarian, but rather dystopian projections of what just a little more state power will bring. These also appeal to progressives who just imagine that the state power will be run by evil fascists instead of the mythical altruistic progressive. E.g., V for Vendetta or 1984.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why Do Libertarians Love Vendetta?

    http://www.theamericanconserva.....-vendetta/

  • Iheartskeet||

    True dat.

    As for myself, the quality of the dystopian vision matters a lot. Plot plausibility has a low bar, but the people in it have to behave with some plausibility to the situation. VFV to me seemed completely ridiculous, like nothing more than than a progressive charicature of the right. 1984 on the other hand, well, our college campuses seem determined to make it real.

  • IceTrey||

    Blow

  • Flaco||

    Defending Your Life

    The plot is that to get in to heaven, St. Peter doesn't want to know what you did for others, but what you did for yourself.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Nope. It was that you overcame your fears to get to the next level. Not necessarily about what you did for yourself or others.

  • Eidde||

    It was a disappointing, you didn't have to battle a boss monster to get to the next level.

  • Jujucat||

    HAHAH! Nice Eidde.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Rollerball (1975)
    The Decline of Western Civilization
    Red Dawn (1984)
    The Outlaw Josey Wales

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    I haven't seen them yet so I can't say for sure if they are good, but I have on my table discs for

    No God No Master
    Free State of Jones.

    Descriptions look like they will touch on libertarian themes even if anarchy is more the subject.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Pleasantville

  • SIV||

    No

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Yes

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    (WARNING: above comment may be biased- read at your own risk)

  • IMissLiberty||

    The Music Man

    "Miser Madison" left River City the liberry building, but he left all the books to HER (the librarian). You know, Madison Library, Madison Foundling Hospital, etc., that miser Madison. (A late capitalist.)

    Elected officials, the Mayor and School Board members, were the primary villains, although it was the conflict between the librarian and the fraudulent travelling salesman that drove the story. The salesman learned not to commit fraud from the "dirty books" defender, Marian, the librarian (Chaucer, Rabelais, Balzak!)

    Demonstrated private charity, freedom of expression, and honesty. (The books were left to her, so she would be guaranteed a job to support her mother and brother after her father's death.)

    Name another film with a song about cash vs credit! The opening song! It pretty well celebrates a vibrant capitalist free market.

    And who can forget, the take-a-little, tax-a-little, take-a-little, tax-a-little, ladies? (At least, that's what I'd have them singing in the sequel, "Marian, The Libertarian.)

  • Eidde||

    Wasn't the librarian working for the government?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Religilous by Bill Maher. As anti-authoritarian as anything ever made.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    God, you are such a trolly dipshit....

  • hello.||

    And of course you're too fucking stupid to even spell the title correctly.

  • Eidde||

    Red Dawn
    Red Dawn
    Red Dawn
    Red Dawn
    Red Dawn
    Atlas Shrugged, The Movie
    Red Dawn
    Red Dawn
    Red Dawn

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    Dianne Feinstein look-alike bans self-defense on behalf of lying government; students form secret society to teach themselves, end up kicking ass in battle against terrorists and state thugs alike. Best accidental argument for the Second Amendment ever made, in book or movie form.

  • DaveSs||

    From the first book it was like that

    11 year old kids carrying concealed weapons in class, and being taught offensive and defensive spells in class.

  • Eidde||

    Libtards show their aggression by praising Fascist movies.

    There is only one truly libertarian movie and it is STAR WARS PART FOUR: A NEW HOPE.

    Star Wars III - (Star Wars I and II) = ZERO.

    I watched A New Hope TWO THOUSAND AND TWENTY THREE TIMES, and I'm going to keep watching it until the magnetic tape in my videcassette snaps.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Eidde, you know full well Hihn doesn't know how to use a VCR.

  • Eidde||

    That right there is the bullying inherent in the system.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Nope, still not quite right. Here, let's try again:


    Eidde Hihn | 3.2.18 @ 10:42PM|#

    Eidde, you know full well Hihn doesn't know how to use a VCR.

    Cyber-bullies have n,o arguments... Have to resort to pant-shitting and and personal attacks. The Authoritarian Right

    Left - Right = Zero

    (boldface in response to stalking by alt-right troll)


    ...theeerrrre you go. Much better.

  • Eidde||

    Uncanny.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    (sneer)

  • gormadoc||

    *snort*

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    It really depends on his mood.

  • BradA||

    Not a movie, but the Starz Black Sails series captured a number of quintessential libertarian themes. Certainly individualism and freedom. The pirate crews were made up of individuals who would move from one to the other pursuing what each perceived as their own best interests. And once on a crew, every major decision was debated and voted on by the entire crew. Many plot threads relied solely on the strength of an individual and the force of will of the character.

  • CE||

    Plus the pirates ran the island with their own set of mutually agreed upon rules and no national government over them.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Copperhead

  • Paloma||

    Also going to nominate Waking Ned Devine.

  • Paloma||

    And The Commitments.

  • Nuwanda||

    A lot of this is in the eye of the beholder. When Dallas Buyers Club came out I watched it with with a group of people and the overwhelming take-away for most of them was the failure of the profit-driven US health system which put the rights of drug companies, etc. over individual choice.

    Now we can debate the subtleties of crony capitalism and state manipulation of the market, but they saw it as an argument for free universal healthcare where they imagined that kind of injustice wouldn't happen.

  • TLBD||

    Well, we can safely say that your friends are stupid. But, I'm sure you already knew that.

  • Nuwanda||

    Did I say they were my friends?

    Goes to a more general point about what we want to see versus what is actually portrayed.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Pleasantville

  • airforce||

    Laurel and Hardy, "Utopia." It's also called "Atoll K."

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Serenity/Firefly

  • aelhues||

    Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave!

  • Ted Levy||

    Nick, I always thought Groundhog's Day was the best movie ever to demonstrate von Mises' concept of the round-about method of production.

  • JeremyR||

    Convoy is a very libertarian movie. It's about a bunch of small businessmen fighting back against the corrupt government.

  • Agammamon||

    My name is Bob Bookman, sir, and I hate truckers.

  • Agammamon||

    I'm watching 'Alien: Covenant'.

    OMG is it fucking stupid. Oh, hey, let's just go down into this alien biosphere with no protection whatsoever, because we're stupid like that.

    FFS, we've damn near exterminated *human* populations by introducing *terrestrial* pathogens into unprepared *terrestrial* ecologies and these idiots are running around kicking up dirt like they're on a daytrip.

    If there's one rule for exploring alien planets, its that the closer the biosphere is to human compatible the more useless it is for human because of the increased danger. If you can eat it, it can eat you.

    I'm done with this. I am glad I didn't pay to see this schlock.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    If there's one rule for exploring alien planets, its that the closer the biosphere is to human compatible the more useless it is for human because of the increased danger. If you can eat it, it can eat you

    Oh yeah?

    {multiple sounds of magazine being inserted and bolts being released}

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    *magazines

  • A_Spellman||

    Hey, it's okay if you wanna practice seating and unseating your magazine.....we don't mind, just keep the noise down.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Oh, thanks, man. Most people just yell at me about how I'll go blind or something.

  • JeremyR||

    I once read a sci-fi story that actually had a rational plan for landing on an unknown planet.

    Basically first they send down robot killdozers with flame throwers to incinerate everything within a mile of the landing site, then dropped down basically what was a space ship, complete with air locks

  • Intelligent Mr Toad||

    How about some libertarian operas?

    The Barber of Seville. The title character is a self-sustaining independent fee-for-service businessman, and, the theme of home-security recurs throughout the opera. Not always sympathetically--the homeowner is an unsympathetic character--but in a thought-provoking way, and.the first-act finale demonstrates the need for the Third Amendment.

    Siegfried. The individualistic hero makes his own rules and his own weapon and triumphs over bankrupt authoritarianism.

  • ||

    The Lives of Others
    No Man's Land
    Boogie Nights
    Election
    Journey from the Fall
    Children of Men
    Thank You for Smoking

  • Ken Shultz||

    Children of Men may be the most Anti-Libertarian movie ever made--and its based on a book that's even more anti-libertarian than the movie!

    You have seriously misunderstood that movie, my friend.

    The book was written by a career bureaucrat, whose main point was twofold:

    1) What about the children?!

    2) If you knew what we bureaucrats knew, you'd do the same things we do.

    Fuck that noise!

  • ||

    Didn't read the book but in the film a relatively free country has turned dystopian by trading their freedom for security (and, of course, getting neither) and prosecutes immigrants with death. The revolutionary group he's initially with proves to be as violent and unjust as the government it intends to overthrow. The bureaucrat assists the mother with child (individuals) by subverting the system, then using a drug dealer and corrupt cop to break into lockup in order to be rescued by a stateless organization. I saw plenty of libertarian themes and anti-government satire in the film.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Even in the movie, the entire society fell apart because without the children to protect from harm, there was nothing left of a good society.

    They escaped a society without children and fled to a nanny state. Only the nanny state cares about children--and ultimately, we're all children. And we suffer without a government that treats us that way.

    The movie was filled with images taken from the Abu Ghraib torture photos--America is a society that doesn't care about children, hence the total absence of compassion.

    No doubt, the book is worse, but the film is awful from a libertarian perspective. This isn't like George Orwell, a democratic socialist, denouncing authoritarian communism. This is a nanny state career bureaucrat denouncing freedom. It's just that they've dressed freedom up to look like organized cannibalism.

  • ||

    I see where you're coming from and didn't know the origins of the story or author until a google. While her meaning might be what you argue, it seems the film, as usual, is a bit different from the novel.

    I took that every government controlled institution (the bureaucratic offices, the military, immigration, police & prisons) are pillaging, corrupt and tyrannical. Likewise the rebel organization that wants to overthrow them. The only positive influences are individuals who are concerned with their and other's interests who are at risk from, and combating state controlled forces.

    I didn't take the absence of children as the driving motivator for the decline of civilization but merely a plot device to comment on current conditions. I think the scene where the child is revealed to the soldiers who stop killing and gaze in awe at the first child born in so many years, then immediately resume battle after it's out of sight puts to rest the notion that children (individuals) are precious to society and need government's protection. Wars and murder happened before the men or women in the story went barren and control of the child by opposing factions is wanted only for propaganda and power, not protection.

    I didn't see any nanny state destination but a rescue ship as a stateless vessel, not allied with any government and all the organized cannibalism seemed to originate from government, not freedom.

  • otto von doom||

    In Time (yeah, the Justin Timberlake one)
    - The movie itself has no libertarian messages, but it is a really good contrived dystopia for provoking thought about how economies work, and it's a pretty cool movie on top of that.

  • otto von doom||

    Also, not a movie, but the Netflix show #Girlboss is all about starting a small business and learning how to manage your own money and take responsibility for your actions.
    "Sometimes being the boss of yourself means workin' for other people."

  • Libertarian||

    My god, is there anything he can't do?

    Trump proposes cutting all federal funds for NPR, PBS

    Left-leaning PBS to launch conservative-oriented show in April

    http://www.foxnews.com/enterta.....il-13.html

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Local Hero

    Big American oil company (with CEO played by Burt Lancaster) tries to buy picturesque Scottish village. Instead of greenies and socialists, village turns out to be full of capitalists, as is visiting Russian fisherman. Funny, with appealing characters (including some romance), and deftly directed. Did I mention a soundtrack by Mark Knopfler?

  • titmus||

    Except that the one greenie (The excellent Fulton McKay) wins over the capitalist in the States and his lackey on the ground. The lackey then gets belt whipped by Tony Soprano for sleeping with his ex-goomah, and the local oil company kid becomes Dr Who.

  • Cy||

    Rock N Rolla

    Thank you for smoking

    Fight Club

    Batman: The Dark Knight

    Captain Fantastic (EXTREMELY LIBERTARIAN FILM)

    ---

    Others:

    The Patriot/Brave heart (pretty much the same movies)

    Schindler's List, Enemy at the Gates, Saving Private Ryan (All great examples of the atrocities of war and the grand governments, regardless of politics, that create and fund them)

    Kelly's Heroes, The Aviator, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Tombstone, Pulp Fiction

  • Cy||

    Oh...

    The Count of Monte Cristo

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    BOOM goes the DYNAMITE!!!
    Spot on, and one of my favorites...

  • ||

    When will the libertarian movement embrace liberty for children as well as adults? My friends in the youth rights movement see disrespect for the liberty of the young in The Incredibles and in The Hunger Games.

  • Brenden||

    Lock (2013) gets my vote. Tom Hardy. A construction manager in an intense personal crisis chooses to take responsibility for the biggest cement pour in UK, ever, and for a personal mistake to do the right thing regardless of consequences. All on his mobile phone in a car. Amazing acting and writing.

  • Jayburd||

    Brazil and Lives of Others were eerily prescient and need to be remade with modernity.

  • Jayburd||

    Jennifer L. as an NSA analyst who discovers and monitors a male Yemeni terror suspect in Yemen. She finds that he is just an innocent guy trying to scrape by and in the process of her security stalking she falls for him and continues to monitor him. Eventually she contacts him over social media. She can't resist meeting him and arranges travel, either through a phony job assignment or surreptiously. Coworker discovers, thinks she has been compromised, and drone him in front of her. A tragic comedy. Who to play the male lead?

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    Good list, too bad Jennifer Lawerence is dumb ass, control freak, bimbo leftist. I won't watch anything with that skank in it.

  • Iamsullyman||

    The Matrix - the individual vs. the state

    Just about any Pixar movie, it's not just the incredibles
    Toy Story 3 - Barbie's speech:
    "The right to govern is derived from the consent of the governed not through the threat of force!"
    WALL-E - Captain vs Auto, risks of state dependency
    Brave
    UP - eminent domain/property rights
    Ratatouille - self expression vs conformity
    The Good Dinosaur
    A Bugs Life

    The whole she bang.

    The Fifth Element
    Arrogant military, incompetent government, band of individuals save all.

    Perhaps I'm just an individuality super fan and need to remove my roses glasses!

  • saguaro||

    "The Man in the White Suit" with Alec Guiness. A young chemist, working as a laborer at a mill, invents fabric that will never wear out. The fabric cannot absorb dye, repels dirt and glows because it is slightly radioactive. Both management and the chemist's union friends are delighted, until they realize that the fabric could doom the industry. Mobs and hilarity ensue.

  • Slocum||

    The most libertarians movie I've seen recently was 42 Grams. Ambitious chef and his wife start running a (presumably illegal) underground restaurant in their apartment. They leverage that and invest all their savings into a brick-and-mortar place, work their asses off, and are rewarded with success and an almost unprecedented two Michelin stars almost right off the bat. (Sad epilogue though -- they couldn't maintain the intensity and shut down after a few years).

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Munich

    Black and white foreign policy seems real easy until you start trying to implement it in the real world and then everything quickly turns to shit.

  • Iheartskeet||

    I propose a new internet rule:

    In any message board where a list of top "X" themed movies is discussed, the list of movies will grow to include all movies ever made.

  • Johnimo||

    You make a valid point, Iheartskeet.

  • ||

    Godardwin's Law?

  • Iheartskeet||

    Ha ! Perfect.

  • A_Spellman||

    Impossible, because there are some movies that will never be considered Libertarian.

    Like anything with Amy Schumer in it.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Watch someone list an Amy Schumer movie in 5,4,3,...

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Amy Schumer: The Movie" did make a compelling case for occupational licensing reform.

  • Kazinski||

    Some of those are quite a stretch, but I'm really surprise Free Range doesn't make the list. That's got a pretty overt libertarian message.

    And since I'm such a sucker for cowboy movies I'll add two more with with somewhat libertarian themes that are older than 25 years: Drugstore Cowboy, and Midnight Cowboy.

  • Vernon Depner||

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the X Men movies yet. People of superior abilities battling against state suppression of excellence.

  • gormadoc||

    How about Lord of the Rings? The most powerful individuals are also the most corruptible. The states are dysfunctional and primarily motivated by nationalism. The best societies are the hobbits', which are very individualistic and peaceful. The elves are xenophobic, the orcs slaves, the dwarves suffocating, and men can be anything in between.

  • Nuwanda||

    Surely, 1984, the most complete portrayal of totalitarianism. Superb performances and production. Chilling. And a near-perfect adaptation of a book that should have been almost impossible to bring to the big screen.

    As in the novel, Winston Smith doesn't escape the boot of Big Brother but the lessons contained in his fate are both anti-totalitarian and pro-liberty.

  • IndependentTexan||

    Legends of the Fall is my favorite libertarian movie of all time. And Colonel Ludlow (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is a great libertarian hero, constantly ranting against the corruption of government and the absurdity of war. He moves to Montana to live in peace but his life is marked by tragedy, much of which is clearly the fault of government and its corrupt bargains with criminal businessmen.

    I've gone through many of these comments, but not all, and I didn't see Legends mentioned.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    Good point. Hadn't thought of that but it is true.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Only two mentions of Serenity. I can haz disappoint? And here's one off the wall: 12 Angry Men.

  • Drave Robber||

    No mentions of Idiocracy?

    (apart from someone's pen name)

  • fdog50||

    It's from 1981, but I would suggest "Thief" with James Caan, about an individualistic thief who tires to remain independent from organized crime, which is trying to control him.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    How the fuck was "The Penguins of Madagascar" NOT on this list?!?! Pay attention and you will notice some VERY libertarian themes and quotes in that movie, and it was not done by accident!

  • FreeRadical||

    I'm sure this thread is dead, and Iamsullyman already mentioned it, but I have to re-iterate: The most libertarian Pixar movie is A Bug's Life. I do love The Incredibles and agree it's libertarian, but A Bug's Life is even more so.

    The evil grasshoppers come every year to forceably take a large fraction of the ants productive output. One mis-understood ant is trying to increase production through innovation and technology. They finally violently battle their oppressors and win! It's awesome.

    Pixar is really amazing that they've snuck so much libertarianism into their films.

  • Cy||

    Captain Fantastic - I was really surprised by it and I think it would easily give Bugs Life a run for it's money as the MOST libertarian film.

  • CKS||

    1. Lonesome Dove
    Self-reliance, gambling, whoring, and hard work set against the backdrop of driving a herd north to start the first cattle ranch in Montana. "It ain't dying I'm talking about, Woodrow, It's living!"

    2. The Milagro Beanfield War
    Work and community in the face of the politically connected developer and the USFS....and old man Amarante buying ammo with food stamps is just funny.

    3. Last of the Mohicans
    British Officer: "You call yourself a patriot, and loyal subject to the Crown?" Hawkeye: "I do not call myself subject to much at all."

    4. The Train
    Frankenheimer's classic about train workers, at great personal risk, foiling the Nazis attempt to steal the artistic heritage of France as they retreat from Paris. Papa Boule defiantly facing the firing squad after being found out...

    5. Captains Courageous (The 1937 original with Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, and a young Mickey Rooney)
    Spoiled, silver-spooned brat falls off daddy's steamship and has to learn that if you don't work, you don't eat. And what you earn is directly related to what you produce.

    My top five...but yours are ok, too.

  • Eman||

    Well thank gawd someone finally made explicit what movies are okay for libertarians to like! you know i had pretty much come to terms with just not worrying too much about a movie's politics, but I see now how thats denying my own identity.

  • morisis007||

    The Incredibles is the best movie of my childhood, like it very much. Soon we will see the sequel of film almost 14 years later! Hope it will be also cool like the first film. Here is the trailer if someone has not seen:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6waHtSgCTc

    Release date assigned for 15 June this year. By the way, I would like also to share with you my article about bluetooth adapters for TV and computers. Maybe you will appreciate my work:
    https://www.bestadvisor.com/bluetooth-adapters

    And don't be shy to give your opinion ;) I like critique and suggestions.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Needs less ads for bluetooth adapters.

  • Árboles de la Barranca||

    Shooter --

    FUUCK You. The truth is what I say it is....

    I am a United States Senator.....

  • khm001||

    Too bad a movie can't just be a movie. Libertarians and so-called "liberals" (which includes most so-called libertarians, who are mostly just liberals who want to legally get high) in general need to see everything through politics, though, poisoning everything.

  • WhatYouMightNotKnow||

    1. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg [Les parapluies de Cherbourg] (1964) - Highly-rated and very beautiful one-of-a-kind French film in which all of the dialogue is sung to a Michel LeGrand jazz score. About young love, family, responsibility and always putting one's child first.
    2. A Brief Encounter (1945) - Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.
    3. Flight 93 (2006)
    4. Chef (2014) - Capitalism at it's mom-and-pop finest.
    5. Red Dawn (1984)

  • LordStirling||

    V for Vendetta

    Idiocracy

    Man of Steel

    Oblivion

  • raj56||

    I must watch these movies as I am libertarian. I hope I will find these movies on Cyberflix tv app : https://cyberflixtv.com

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online