Diving deeper into the complex styles and genres of cinema is the goal of every movie buff. Anarchist cinema is one aspect of film that often goes unnoticed and forgotten. While politics has its place in cinema, anarchism has often been the subject of great controversy, especially during the Cold War, when communists were considered criminals in the United States. According to the BFI, anarchist cinema goes beyond simply showing revolution, and uses film as a tool to show anarchism in a new light that audiences will understand better.

In a more advanced world, people are not afraid to reconsider what was once considered taboo. One such topic that no longer holds such stature is anarchism. Given that many anarchist films were banned shortly after their release, some of the greatest films of this subgenre have flown under the radar, forgotten by cinema and Hollywood. Here are the best anarchist films, ranked.

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10 Japanese Summer: Double Suicide


Japanese Summer: Double Suicide It is a Japanese movie about a young woman obsessed with sex who meets a suicidal guy on the streets. The two anarchists become trapped in an underground bunker, which inspires them to bond in a very strange way. The film’s depiction of anarchy is quite unlike most of the others on this list, as there is a plot out of all the politics within the film, Japanese Summer: Double Suicide is a truly unique addition to this list.

Related: Revolution and Resistance: 9 Historic Films About Revolutions (and the People Who Started Them)

9 Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great 1980
if it was

Alexander the Great The film revolves around a man named Alexander the Great who escapes from prison with bandits. Bandits kidnap a group of people and take them to Alexander’s mountain village to live, but this peaceful existence does not last long when the kidnapped people realize that their existence is more than just subsistence for Alexander the Great. Based on the Delici massacre of 1870, Alexander the Great It was not well received at the time of its release and had limited international exposure. This hidden anarchist gem deserves more attention for the unique story it brings to the genre.

8 punishment garden

Still image of Punishment Park

punishment garden The film is set during the Vietnam War when American prisons are full and the prisoners must decide between finishing their sentence or spending three days in Punishment Park, where they will be hunted for sport. The film sparked a number of discussions, many of which had initial negative responses due to the portrayal of the US government and authority figures in the film. Despite the initial negative response, punishment garden It experienced a resurgence after a critical re-evaluation in 2005, in which it critically bumped its stance, earning a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

7 Eros + Carnage

Eros massacre
NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan

Another Japanese movie on the list is Eros + CarnageAnd A film that follows the last days of radical feminist Noi Ito (Mariko Okada) and her lover, Sakai, who has other relationships. This art film might be too stylized for some, but thanks to Yoshige Yoshida’s work, Eros + Carnage It has become one of the best anarchic films ever to come out of Japan. Yoshida’s original director’s film was not released until 2002, more than 30 years after the film’s initial release. Eros + Carnage It was very well received, with particular praise for Yoshida’s work.

6 Libertarias

Mongrel Media

Libertarias is a Spanish historical drama set in 1936 during the Spanish Revolution and the Spanish Civil War, about a young nun named María who is recruited by a feminist into an anarchist militia. Maria soon discovers the harsh truths when she is exposed to the truth, which causes her to question her once sheltered life. Libertarias It fell under the radar, losing some well-deserved viewers to anarchic blockbusters like matrix And Mad Max. This unique perspective on anarchism is a breath of fresh air in political cinema.

5 land and freedom

land and freedom
diavana distribution

Set in 1936, communist David Carr travels from his native Liverpool to Spain to join the International Brigades, an anti-fascist movement in the Civil War. Instead, David found himself a member of the Marxist Workers’ Party, a Marxist group opposed to Stalin’s political views. land and freedom It focuses on infighting within left-wing groups, a common political issue that detracts from larger goals. land and freedom It has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at Cannes and has received the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize.

Related: Is Bugs Bunny an Anarchist, Surrealist, or Something More?

4 Matewan


Matewan is a dramatized version of the Battle of Matewan, a coal miner’s strike that took place in Matewan, West Virginia in 1920. Starring Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, and Mary McDonnell, Matewan It was a huge success, but it flopped at the box office. The film was praised for its acting as well as its writing, which uplifts the film and allows the message to get across clearly. Matewan It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography and was ranked 21st on Empire’s list of the 50 Best American Independent Films. Needless to say, this movie is a must-watch for a great understanding of the real-world anarchy at work.

3 Born in flames

Born in Flames
First run features

Born in flames The film takes place in a dystopian future after a revolution which shows that the socialist government deals with the issues of progressive groups such as feminists, minorities, etc., but these issues are still problematic because the government prefers to solve problems with violence. After we had had enough, a group of women orchestrated a revolution that would shake up the way the world works forever. Born in flames It was criticized for being too politically heavy, with an omission of filmmaking; Over time, the film became a landmark of the 1980s for independent and queer cinema.

2 Zero for behavior

Zero for behavior

French masterpiece Zero for behavior It was banned in France due to the government’s fear that the film would cause lifestyle disturbances. The film is about four boys in an oppressive boarding school who rebel against their teachers and take over the school. The film is about director Jean Vigo’s time in a boarding school and reflects a rebellious/anarchist view of childhood and adolescence. At the time of the film’s 1933 release, Zero for behavior It was met with very extreme reactions, both good and bad. The film was rediscovered in 1945 and won a whole new appreciation from audiences with a better understanding of anarchism in cinema.

1 salt of the earth

salt of the earth

salt of the earth It tops the list as the best anarchist film because it not only focuses on politics, but it also doesn’t lose sight of the filmmaking process in favor of a political focus. Produced by a group of alleged communists blacklisted by Hollywood, salt of the earth It is about a strike against the Delaware Zinc and how all parties respond to the strike. Based on the Empire Zinc Company strike in 1951, the movie features a number of non-professional actors which adds to the realistic feel of the movie. Due to the content, the film was considered as bits of communist propaganda at the time of its release but is now considered a strong film with 100% approval from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.


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