Top 10 Masked Political Messages in Film

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Zack Tobin

Wow, that movie was a lot deeper than we thought. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Masked Political Messages in Movies. For this list, we're looking at films that appear to be fun or light-hearted treats, but actually pack a nutritional political punch through strange or thinly veiled messages.

Special thanks to our user roxy for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest

Top 10 Masked Political Messages in Film

Wow, that movie was a lot deeper than we thought. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Masked Political Messages in Movies.
For this list, we’re looking at films that appear to be fun or light-hearted treats, but actually pack a nutritional political punch through strange or thinly veiled messages.

#10: War on Terror
“The Dark Knight” (2008)

In this beloved superhero flick, Batman has to stop the Joker from terrorizing Gotham. That may sound like your typical popcorn superhero blockbuster, but this movie can also been seen as an analogy for the War on Terror, as well as the Bush administration. How so? Well, first there’s the Joker, who is like a terrorist that’s willing to blow anything up and kill anyone - including himself - to get his message across. Then there’s Batman, who is willing to cross the line to use a city-wide tracking device that can tap into everyone's cell phones in the name of security. Sounds a bit like the Patriot Act, doesn’t it?

#9: Anti-Colonialism
“Avatar” (2009)

This James Cameron sci-fi epic takes place in a future where humans are colonizing the world of Pandora, a celestial body that is home to an alien race called The Na’vi. Naturally, the story holds many parallels to the devastation inflicted on Native American and other indigenous cultures during the colonial era. Both the Na’vi and the Native Americans had strong connections to nature, and had their land destroyed by a stronger foreign force that failed to accept the indigenous people’s culture – instead only caring about how much power they could gain and making a profit. Overall, “Avatar” appears to be similar to many movies about Native Americans, except that it’s set in space.

#8: McCarthyism
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956)

A story about an alien invasion in a small town in California, where the aliens use emotionless human clones to infiltrate the town sounds more like a campy B- Movie, than a thought-provoking film. Believe it or not though, the aliens in this black-and-white sci-fi flick might actually be a symbol for communism - not unlike the alien amoeba in another classic horror film called "The Blob". In “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the fear and paranoia the characters exhibit about the possibility that their friends and family could be aliens is similar to how Americans felt during the Red Scare, and Republican U.S. Senator’s Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists. No wonder your grandpa hates commies so much.

#7: Anti-Copyright Law
“The LEGO Movie” (2014)

This fun film takes place in a world made of Legos and is about a clash between a group called the Master Builders, who believe that people should create whatever they want, and the evil Lord Business, who frowns upon creativity. Considering it’s a movie about Legos, you wouldn’t think this movie would have any political undertones. However, Fox News, which described the movie as anti-capitalist, would disagree; after all, with a villain named Lord Business, the filmmakers are hardly being subtle. Taking things further is the reading that “The LEGO Movie” is actually a thinly veiled critique of copyright laws, with Lord Business representing a force that restricts characters’ artistic freedom - similar to arguments in the debate surrounding copyright and intellectual property.

#6: Anti-Capitalism
“RoboCop” (1987)

“RoboCop” isn’t just an over-the-top violent action flick about a cop who’s resurrected as an unstoppable crime-fighting machine; it’s also a critique of capitalism! The movie takes place in a corrupt, crime-ridden, and bankrupt Detroit. The titular Robocop discovers that the reason Detroit is so down on its luck is due to corporate greed, as Omni Consumer Products runs everything down to the police department. The film also takes every opportunity to throw in parodies of product commercials, showcasing the ridiculousness of it all. Guess we'd all buy that for a dollar.

#5: Equality
“X-Men” franchise (2000-)

This comic book series is about a group of mutants who are despised by society, but still use their superpowers to kick butt and fight for justice. In this franchise, the X-Men represent any minority that has been oppressed and ostracized. The leader of the heroes, Professor Xavier, with his goal of mutants co-existing with humans, was modeled after Martin Luther King, Jr., while the villain Magneto was modeled after Malcolm X, thanks to his more hard-hitting approach to attaining civil rights and his desire for vengeance against those who terrorized him. Further supporting the “search for equality” message, Magneto is a Holocaust survivor in many incarnations. Huh, and you thought this was just a comic book ride!

#4: Animal Rights
“Planet of the Apes” (1968)

On the surface, “Planet of the Apes” appears to be a cheesy movie about a group of astronauts that crash land on a planet where humans are the chained up, subservient species to apes. Despite its cheesiness, the movie’s role reversal plot does make a strong point about how we treat animals. Interestingly enough, the movie came out around the same time that Jane Goodall was making her studies and would publish her landmark monograph about how chimpanzee society was more sophisticated than we thought. Maybe they aren’t really “damned dirty apes” after all.

#3: Vegetarianism
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

A movie about a group of teenagers who get lost and become victims of a cannibalistic family sounds like it would appeal to those who love blood and violence. However, some of this slasher flick’s biggest fans are in PETA! The methods that the family uses to murder the teens are reminiscent of the ones used to butcher and dismember cattle in a slaughterhouse. The results are disgusting and disturbing - to say the least. After watching “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with this reading in mind, you’ll likely never look at your Big Mac the same way again.

#2: Anti-Feminism
“Mary Poppins” (1964)

The charming Disney classic about a nanny who teaches a family to love and appreciate each other is really about how families shouldn’t need nannies, because mothers should stay at home. What?! Well, if you recall, the Banks family needed Mary Poppins to take care of their spoiled and neglected kids, because the father is out earning a living, and the mother is well… out fighting for women’s suffrage. And by the end of the movie (spoiler alert!), Mrs. Banks gives up her cause to be a housewife… so what we’re supposed to take away from this is: women should know their place?! At least that’s what author P.L. Travers, whose book was the basis of the musical fantasy, believed after she attended the premiere.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Hollywood Blacklist
“On the Waterfront” (1954)
- Push for U.S. Healthcare Reform
“Saw VI” (2009)
- Pro-Israel
“World War Z” (2013)
- Making Peace with the Soviet Union
“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991)
- AIDS Epidemic
“Safe” (1995)

#1: Consumerism
“Dawn of the Dead” (1978)

George A. Romero’s cult classic is a lot more than your standard horror film. In fact, all of his zombie tales focus on different aspects of real life, such as the racism and Vietnam War parallels found in “Night of the Living Dead.” In “Dawn of the Dead,” the premise focuses on a group of survivors barricading themselves in a mall during a zombie apocalypse. By using the mall as the setting, the horror film appears to be taking a stab at consumer culture. For instance, the characters use the free merchandise as a distraction, while the zombies mindlessly shamble to the shopping center, just like they likely did when they were still alive...

Do you agree with our list? What movie do you think has the strongest maskedpolitical message? For more interesting top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to
Mad Max - War for Oil Terminator - Too much technology is bad for us
The Wizard of OZ Progressivism (maybe)
Now I have to see the Lego Movie now that I see that FOX news hated it