As Meryl takes on Maggie, wetakes a look at five actors to tackle politics in the movies…

With the shots of Meryl Streep dressed up like Margaret the Iron Lady Thatcher, causing a stir in the movie world, we here at Movies.ie decided to check out how other actors have faired when they have taken on the role of a famous world or historical figure. It’s time for a history lesson with a twist…

 

Nelson Mandela – Morgan Freeman

One of the Free world’s most inspirational rulers and one of the worlds greatest actors to play him, Morgan Freeman took on the role of portraying South Africa’s former president in Invictus. Freeman bought the rights to the book on which the real events of the time were based. In it Nelson Mandela has been freed from prison and after taking office as President his primary task is to stem the tide of apartheid in the country and unite a nation torn asunder by racism, using sport and the Rugby World Cup to do so.

Queen Elisabeth – Cate Blanchett

You might know her as The Virgin Queen or if you were on more informal terms perhaps Good Queen Bess. She was Britain’s most powerful female figure, under her rule the arts thrived, she provided stability to the throne and her kingdom and her reign is regarded as the golden age. Cate Blanchett took on the task of portraying the young Queen, grappling to take hold of her new role as Queen of all England, taking out those who would see her dead and establishing her authority. The film follows Elizabeth as she grows up and changes from a young woman into a hardened ruler, willing to do whatever it takes to keep her throne, forgoing everything even love for the crown. Blanchett was nominated for an Academy award for her performance.

 

Richard Nixon – Anthony Hopkins

He has been portrayed and parodied in plenty of films and television shows but to date Anthony Hopkins performance as President Richard Nixon in the 1995 film ‘Nixon’ is nothing short of brilliant. The 37th President of the United States of America Nixon is perhaps most famous for his involvement in the Watergate Scandal. The movie follows the life of the president from his early years to the biggest threat in his political career with Hopkins scoring an Oscar nomination for his portrayal.

 

Adolf Hitler – Bruno Ganz

In his final days Adolf Hitler sank into an out of control and paranoid mess, the Allies were closing in around him and the bunker that was built to protect him became his prison. Once revered as the leader of a new world filled with the perfect race, Adolf Hitler has gone down as one of the world’s most infamous leaders. Bruno Ganz took on the role as the tyrannical Fuhrer in Downfall, praised for his performance, adding depth to a character that generations have learned to despise and fear.

 

Kim Jong Il – Trey Parker

No one does justice to North Korea’s leader like Trey Parker. Everyone’s favourite dictator made his western big cinema debut in 2004 with the release of Team America. The mastermind behind a diabolical scheme to bring down society as we know it, only the members of one of America’s elite teams can hope to defeat Kim Jong. He has never openly criticised or actually even publicly denounced the movie but after it was released in Korth Korea, he asked the Czech Republic to ban the movie.