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How to Find a Movie Theater Near You

If you’re ready for a fun night out at the movies, it all starts with choosing where to go and what to see. From national chains to local movie theaters, there are tons of different choices available. Here are the best ways to find a movie theater near you.

Fandango is the leader in the movie theater ticketing business. So naturally, the website is a great place to go to figure what the current movies are in theaters right now. The theater search is very simple, just enter your city or zip code. It will then populate a list of the theaters nearest to you, including all of the movies playing and their show times.

Local Discount Theaters

If seeing the new theater movie release isn’t as important as going out without breaking the bank, check out your local discount theaters. These can be more difficult to locate, because there’s no national directory of them. However, you can simply do a Google search for them. Typically called “Discount” theaters or “Second-Run” theaters, there’s typically several in most cities. If you’re a beer lover, you may be able to locate theaters that serve restaurant food and drinks rather than the usual theater fare.

In addition to housing one of the most trusted movie ratings online, IMDB offers information on movie theaters and their showtimes. Simply set your location and see a list of available theaters and showtimes. A bonus is that you can easily see the IMDB ratings for different movies, so you can have a good idea of whether something will be to your liking or not before heading out.

IMAX Theaters

IMAX theaters offer a more immersive movie experience than traditional theaters. From bigger screens, better images and realistic audio, some of the best new movies are better viewed in IMAX. It’s the best option for movie connoisseurs that simply want the ultimate experience. To check your local theater’s 3D movie schedule, check the IMAX website and enter your address under the “Find a Theatre” tab.

3D Theaters

Major movie theater chains offer Real3D movies, which are super fun for both adults and kids. Simply wear 3D goggles and enjoy an added dimension to regular flicks. AMC, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas all offer this option, which is available for select films.

The technology is all digital and theaters are typically available in major cities. Just like local discount theaters, there’s not a single comprehensive resource for the 3D theaters. So the best way to find them is on Fandango or Google.


movies that critique capitalism

Where to Go for Specialized Movies

movies that critique capitalism

If you’re interested in the latest blockbuster from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm or anyone else making great popcorn flicks, you can go to your local theater and find a screening coming up very soon. That’s not the same if you’re interested in arthouse movies, independent films or foreign pictures. Those sorts of movies don’t get wide releases so they’re not so easy to catch at movie theaters. Don’t wait for the movie to turn up on a streaming service like Netflix if you’d like to see it on release as there are lots of places across the country where low budget or marginalized movies are shown on a regular basis.

It’s definitely true to say that movie lovers in major cities like New York have more choice than those living in other areas of the country. Places like the Angelika Film Center, that opened in 1989, Landmark Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan, Film Forum, a non-profit indie cinema that’s been operating since 1970, and the Angelika Film Center are just four examples of great places you can visit in New York if you’d like to see independent, foreign language or limited release movies.

Where else would you expect to be able to catch the best independent movies than California? Cinopolis is one of the obvious choices. Why not purchase a ticket through Fandango and then head to Whittier Boulevard to catch the showing? Laemmle’s Royal Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard is another great place to catch a movie. You’ll only be able to see foreign language movies there but they have one of the best selections of new movies in the country. You should also check out New Beverly Cinema. This place is definitely for the enthusiasts as its run by one. Quentin Tarantino’s the owner so no wonder it shows a lot of double features in 35mm.

Logan Theatre in Logan Square is one of the best places to go in Chicago for a mixture of second run studio pictures and indie movies. They run midnight showings each weekend in a theater that was recently upgraded with a new sound system, better screens, and projectors. You should also check out Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema if you’re in the area. You’ll get studio financed small movies, indie flicks and other obscure movies there, many of which can be watched during a midnight showing.

If you don’t live in California or New York or Chicago, you can still catch great independent movies through the Landmark chain of theaters. They have 56 theaters in 27 markets that have a combined 268 screens. As well as a great selection of movies you won’t find in other major chains, you’ll also find that Landmark tends to run movies that have finished their runs in other theaters. The occasional well published major movie will be showing but don’t expect to see the sort of mass appeal movies that are shown in other theaters.

What to Watch?

If you like the idea of seeing something different but you’re not sure what to see, head to Fandango or Rotten Tomatoes to get an idea of what’s out there at the moment. There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation so talk to people who know and love movies too. The foreign language Oscar nominees list for 2019 that contains Capernaum, Cold War, Never Look Away, Roma and Shoplifters look interesting. Perhaps you could start with one of those movies.


movies that critique capitalism

Greed's Not Good: 10 Movies That Expertly Criticize Capitalism

Popular movies that nevertheless aren't afraid to shake up the establishment

Capitalism is, in the eyes of many, a system that's not perfect. It works great for a select few, makes life hard for others, and there's a good chance most people fall within these two extremes. And of course, movies exist within capitalism. They're not only made for artistic expression, as those involved in making movies (with very few exceptions) also do it as a way to make money and earn a living.

RELATED: Why 'There Will Be Blood's Ending Shows the Worst Effects of Capitalism

That doesn't stop filmmakers from being able to critique the system, however, even whilst operating within it (as satirically pointed out in a general manner in this famous internet image ). After all, the system favors some individuals over others, and in recent years, has seemingly been working for fewer and fewer people , with a so-called "living wage" being harder to find. With that, here are 10 movies that either critique capitalism outright, or point out flawed aspects of the economic system.

'American Psycho' (2000)

American Psycho is an extremely dark (but also very funny) takedown of Wall Street and the people who run it. It may focus on the 1980s, but its ideas still ring true. This story about an investment banker who's so ruthless he's also a serial killer (or at least believes he is) still hits hard more than 20 years since the movie's release, and over 30 years on from the publication of the novel of the same name.

It takes the idea that extremely wealthy people are uncaring and brutal when it comes to other people (and their money) and takes it to its logical extreme... and then somehow beyond. It paints the Manhattan elite of the 1980s in unflattering detail, but depressingly, it also does little to suggest that this behavior can be countered or gotten rid of, leaving viewers with an appropriately empty feeling by the film's end.

'They Live' (1988)

John Carpenter is probably best known for directing horror movies like The Thing and the original Halloween , but They Live deserves the same kind of recognition. It's a satirical science-fiction/action movie about a homeless man who discovers that aliens have actually indoctrinated themselves into human life, and are controlling the population.

It's a movie that's anti-authority and anti-capitalism, suggesting that consumerism and the messages inherent in advertising ultimately control the world in real-life... though in the movie at least, it's aliens who are behind it. The main characters even end up revolting against the powers that be, fighting a war most aren't aware of, which leads to the movie's over-the-top and entertaining action climax.

'Parasite' (2019)

With a title like Parasite , you might expect this Best Picture winner from Bong Joon-Ho to be a horror movie featuring a literal monster . Instead, it's more of a darkly comedic thriller about a working-class family indoctrinating themselves into the lives of a wealthier family. However, viewed another way, maybe it is a horror movie of sorts, about the terror and violence that can occur when people are divided within the system of capitalism.

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It's not shy about its stance on capitalism and class warfare, as it's what ends up driving the film's most intense (and tragic) scenes. The worldwide appreciation of Parasite - and the way it struck a chord with so many - suggests that the problems the film explores extend beyond more than just one country, too.

'Capitalism: A Love Story' (2009)

It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone familiar with Michael Moore that the title of this 2009 documentary is entirely ironic. Made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis and subsequent global recession, Capitalism: A Love Story unpacks all the problems Moore sees with capitalism as an economic system, and explores how those problems led to a recession felt all around the world.

Given it was made in the late 2000s and focuses on events during that time, it does feel like a period piece of sorts when watched in the 2020s. However, many of the core problems outlined are still visible today, and with another global recession predicted for 2023 , much of what this documentary has to say about capitalism remains relevant.

'Citizen Kane' (1941)

It might not seem like a scandalous movie by today's standards , but Citizen Kane was quite controversial, when first released. Its depiction of a wealthy yet deeply flawed newspaper tycoon was seen as hitting too close to home for some , and part of the controversy may have stemmed from its critique of the American Dream.

Charles Foster Kane is a man who seems to have it all, even at a young age. He has a successful business and more money than he knows what to do with, but still feels empty, and can't help alienating himself from romantic partners, business associates, and old friends. It's a movie that suggests money isn't everything, and that pursuing material wealth excessively can lead to a person's downfall.

'Modern Times' (1936)

Before Charlie Chaplin satirized Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party in The Great Dictator , he took a similar approach in highlighting the absurdity of capitalism in Modern Times . It's a fantastically funny (and sometimes quite sad) silent movie about a man struggling to get by as a factory worker during the Great Depression in America, and the way he feels dehumanized by all the technological change around him.

The technological changes emphasize Chaplin's own predicament of making silent films in an industry where everyone else had moved on to using dialogue. It also does a good job at emphatically showing the plight of someone who feels like a cog in the machine, and doing so in a way that's still funny and even heartwarming in places, rather than being too heavy or despairing.

'Snowpiercer' (2013)

It may not have received quite the same amount of attention as Parasite , but Snowpiercer shows how that 2019 film wasn't the first time Bong Joon-Ho criticized capitalism. Snowpiercer is a sci-fi/action movie that takes place on a train that houses the world's population, following global disasters that decimated most of the people on Earth.

RELATED: Essential Films About Revolution

The poor are situated at the back of the train, while the rich experience luxuries in the front carriages. Inevitably, a revolution breaks out, whereby the lower-class passengers fight their way to the front and get to see what the rich have been withholding from them. The train serves as a microcosm for a capitalist society that's gone out of control. The metaphor's blunt, but it works wonders (and it's also just an entertaining, well-paced action movie).

'WALL•E' (2008)

For an animated family movie, WALL•E has a surprising amount of things to say about consumerism and the destruction corporations can do in pursuit of profit. Granted, it's not quite as biting or downbeat as other films that critique capitalism, but the film's plot itself only comes about because of consumerism, corporations, and the connected environmental damage.

Of course, it's a pair of robots who end up saving the human race, and the crisis that sent the human race into space is implied to be solved by the film's optimistic conclusion. Still, it has a lot to say about the worst-case scenario that could happen from too much spending and too much consumption, which is interesting to see in an animated film produced by Disney/Pixar.

'RoboCop' (1987)

RoboCop might be thought of as an action film first and foremost, and it's understandable if that's how it initially stands out. A simple story about a police officer who's left for dead, only to be transformed into an anti-crime literal killing machine, it does satisfy when it comes to brutal, over-the-top action.

However, it's also a surprisingly funny and satirical film . It presents a dystopian world that's been torn apart by greed and crime, with many of the world's problems caused by a giant, villainous corporation. Paul Verhoeven is no stranger to putting satirical elements in his Hollywood films, and RoboCop stands as one of his most biting.

'Sorry to Bother You' (2018)

Sorry to Bother You is a wild, sometimes funny, but also extremely dark and bizarre takedown of capitalism as it functions in modern society. Broadly speaking, it follows a young telemarketer who quickly finds success in his company through his innovative marketing strategies, only for his rise to lead to uncovering a sinister and twisted conspiracy behind the scenes.

It's hard to explain more without spoiling things, but Sorry to Bother You is undoubtedly a wildly unpredictable ride that's worth taking, no matter how unsettled you feel about the places it goes to. It's one of the darkest and most brutal takedowns of modern capitalism and the way it can demean and dehumanize workers, which makes it a powerful and hard-to-forget movie-watching experience.

NEXT: 'Emily the Criminal' Filters Its Critique of Capitalism Through a Character Study

These Are the Best Movies About Capitalism

Many great films have explored economic systems, delving into the effects of capitalism with humor, horror, and everything in between.

Cinema can be a tool for political change and the betterment of society . Since its inception, the cinematic medium has reflected the real world and criticized the political and social institutions that govern us. But how does cinema, a visual medium, tackle something as abstract and invisible as capitalism? Many filmmakers have focused on the pitfalls and shortcomings of the economic system by showing how corporate greed affects the average person, how consumerism and individualism affects our mental health, and how inequality can brew societal unrest .

The following are some great movies that deal with capitalism in a critical yet interesting way:

9 Modern Times (1936)

Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times is not only one of the most important films in history, it is also one of the most biting critiques of early industrial capitalism ever made. Chaplin brings back his famous Little Tramp in this comedic masterpiece, and puts him to work at a factory where the boss is constantly trying to improve workers' efficiency. In a scene that inspired thousands of imitators (including I Love Lucy 's iconic chocolate sequence ), Chaplin is seen standing in front of an assembly line, when suddenly the pace of the machine accelerates and the confused worker cannot keep up with it, so he goes crazy and ends up in prison. Relying on his trademark gestural acting, Chaplin enacts a simple yet effective critique of capitalist productivity and the obsession for profit. The actor/director doesn't have to utter a single coherent word to create a tale that many workers can relate to, even today, as inequality has only gotten worse and capitalism continues to prioritize money over the life and health of workers.

In 1989, Modern Times was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

8 The Godfather 1 and 2 (1972 & 1974)

The Godfather is not the first film to come to mind when thinking about capitalism. Indeed, Francis Ford Coppola 's gangster film deals explicitly with issues like loyalty, family and violence, but the director himself has claimed how The Godfather is also a metaphor for corruption in capitalism. In a letter to Marlon Brando , who had recently turned down his Oscar for The Godfather, Coppola tries to convince the actor to return for the sequel by saying that the story of the Corleone clan was meant to show how "the Mafia is only a metaphor for America and capitalism, which will do anything to protect and perpetuate itself. (I will do this anyway, if you’re not in the film…but if you were in it, it would be better, and you would help me with your ideas as I work on the script.)" The Godfather criticizes the American Dream by showing how people who make themselves out of nothing end up clinging onto their wealth by all means because they know how hard poverty can be in the capitalist system. The Godfather is revered by most film lovers, for good reason-- it is a beautifully shot, masterfully acted and an intelligent tale about the pitfalls of capitalist America.

Related: These Are 5 Actors Who Made Late-Career Comeback

7 Norma Rae (1979)

Norma Rae is a drama directed by Martin Ritt and based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton. Sally Field stars as Norma Rae, a North Carolina woman who follows in her family footsteps and gets a job in a local textile factory. However, the pay is meager for the long, arduous hours, and many of her coworkers' health becomes compromised due to poor working conditions. After hearing a speech by a labor activist, Norma becomes involved in trade unionism and tries to rally her coworkers, which angers her family, fiancé, and, of course, her employers. Norma Rae is a heart-wrenching tale of solidarity, honor, and bravery, showing workers coming together for the greater good. In a time when women were gaining independence and entering the capitalist workforce, the film shows an ordinary woman taking a stand and demanding her freedom at home and at work. The film is led by a fantastic and energetic Sally Field, who received the Best Actress Prize at both Cannes and the Oscars for the role.

6 They Live (1988)

John Carpenter's They Live is a science-fiction film about an unnamed drifter who sees hidden messages in mass media when he puts on a special pair of glasses. The billboards around him say things like OBEY, CONFORM, and CONSUME, and he soon starts to learn about a global conspiracy by an alien ruling class to manipulate people into consuming and being content with capitalism. In his ranking of Carpenter's best films , Artie Ghosh of MovieWeb writes that the film is "undoubtedly silly, ripe with plot holes and unimaginative visual effects, but has been reclaimed by a group of fans who praise its anti-capitalist message..." They Live is a funny and somewhat light critique of consumerism and neoliberalism, which are usually treated as very serious topics. It shows the growing discontent among Americans, including Carpenter himself, with the policies of austerity that president Ronald Reagan implemented during the 80s. It's a great cult film that was ahead of its time.

5 American Psycho (2000)

Mary Harron's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho examines the psychological toll that capitalism puts on all of us. Starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a yuppie New York City investment banker who moonlights as a serial killer preying on homeless people. There are many films dealing with the figure of the yuppie like Wall Street , but none is as good as American Psycho. With great performances by Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, and Reese Witherspoon, the film uses deliciously dark comedy to dissect the noxious incentives that capitalism gives us. It explores how this system makes people into heartless drones, always looking for ways to improve our lot in life, with no regard for the well-being of others. While it exaggerates the world of finance, this hyperbole helps elucidate how capitalist systems affect human psychology and creates amoral people who only care about themselves. Capitalist Individualism is taken to its most horrific extreme.

4 The Queen of Versailles (2012)

Directed by Lauren Greenfield, The Queen of Versailles is an excellent documentary about the extravagance and decadence of late capitalism. The film depicts Jackie and David Siegel, billionaire owners of Westgate Resorts, as they build their dream home, Versailles, the largest and most expensive home in the United States. When the financial crisis happens, the whole family must readjust to a new economic reality. Drawing on tropes of reality TV shows like The Real Housewives franchise with an intelligent documentarian’s observational approach, the film makes the viewer sympathize with the subjects while still allowing for a bit of schadenfreude at the demise of the one percent. The Queen of Versailles is an incisive critique of inequality and a window into one of the most important moments in the history of American capitalism. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post called it "the single best film on The Great Recession."

3 The Big Short (2015)

After the 2008 financial crisis, working and middle-class people were left wondering what the hell had even happened. Millions of houses foreclosed, thousands of savings accounts were depleted, and billions of taxpayers' dollars were used to save banks. Adam Mckay's The Big Short is a great film for anyone who wants to understand the crisis, and capitalism at large, as it features cameos by celebrities like Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez who break the fourth wall and explain economic theory using accessible language. The film follows an investment banker, played by Steve Carell, who foresees the housing bubble bursting and bets money on the stock market's demise. Apart from showing the dangers of unregulated capitalism and the finance sector's unfettered greed, T he Big Short is also carried by its comedy, performances, and a compelling tale of intrigue.

Related: Every Adam McKay Movie, Ranked

2 Sorry To Bother You (2018)

Directed by self-described communist Boots Riley , Sorry to Bother You is an absurdist comedy that pokes fun at the absurdities of capitalism. Lakeith Stanfield stars as Cassius, a man who finds a job at a call center and starts climbing the corporate ladder by using his "white voice" on his calls. But his success quickly strains his relationships with friends and colleagues who are trying to unionize. The movie takes a turn for the surreal when he uncovers a shocking experiment being carried out by the CEO. Sorry To Bother is a magical satire of contemporary dead-end jobs, but it is also an intersectional analysis of capitalism as it includes racial and gender-based considerations in its study of oppression. Boots Riley has also mentioned that he cast Armie Hammer (pre-scandal) as a nice CEO because he wanted to capture the new idea of capitalism. He told Democracy Now that "the new capitalism attempts to say, “There is no capitalism here. What are you talking about?” Sorry To Bother You is a must-watch for anyone looking to understand the world and have a good laugh.

1 Parasite (2019)

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho is one of the best contemporary storytellers regarding capitalism. With Snowpiercer , he created a thrilling tale about the class divide, and his film Okja was a very compelling critique of corporate greed and animal abuse. But his best anti-capitalist manifesto to date has to be Parasite . The film is a half comedy, half thriller that tells the story of a humble Seoul family who schemes their way into working for a wealthy family. The characters pose as highly qualified individuals to get jobs as tutors, maids, and drivers, but things go sour when they uncover a bizarre family secret. Parasite is a poignant and entertaining depiction of class difference in contemporary South Korea, a nation that has seen rapid economic growth in recent years, and combines visually stunning cinematography, a gripping and multi-layered plot, and a sociological dissection of inequality. Perhaps this is why it became the first-ever non-English-language movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and why it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes – the two biggest awards in the film industry.

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30 Best Anti-Capitalist Movies to Watch

30 Best Anti-Capitalist Movies to Watch

The anti-capitalist movement has been swelling in recent years, especially as more workers realize their worth in an economy that continually denies it to them. The sentiment is so strong now that it’s manifested itself in mainstream media—a phenomenon that arguably reached its peak with the knockout win of Parasite in the 2020 Academy Awards. 

There’s been an outpouring of sharp class-conscious content since then, and we’ve gathered the greatest of them in this list. Some are bleak, some are funny, but all are rousing in their social commentaries. Read on to see the best anti-capitalist movies you can watch right now online. 

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30. Microhabitat (2017)

movies that critique capitalism

Miso may be living day to day on her meager earnings as a cleaner, but she is decidedly content. She insists that all she needs to get by are cigarettes, whiskey, and time with her boyfriend, so when a spike in rent and prices invites her to reassess her priorities, she doesn’t budge. Instead of forgoing these luxuries, she gives up her tiny place and couch surfs with her old bandmates. What follows is a reunion of sorts, where darkly humorous epiphanies are had on both ends about adulthood, responsibilities, and what it really means to be happy in an increasingly indifferent, profit-oriented world.  

Microhabitat treads on very grave themes, and the images it conjures can be unsettling. But it is also surprisingly light on its feet, displaying sharp satire and sweet empathy for its unyielding protagonist. Miso is portrayed with a smartness and softness that evades rational judgment, and this endearment makes the story, especially the ending, all the more painfulul, poignant, and impactful.

Watch Now On Tubi Tv

29. Bacurau (2019)

movies that critique capitalism

This incredibly creative and unique movie is set in a fictional small town in the Brazilian Backcountry. It has a realistic first half but things quickly get crazy.

Even in that realistic half, you can clearly tell that something is off about the town of Bacurau. An accident involving a truck carrying coffins turns into an impromptu coffin shop. A dam was built to divert water from people. The village doctor seems to be the least sane person in the village. It’s all wrong.

Bacurau is funny, it’s politically charged, it’s thrilling, and it’s sweet, all at once. It’s that one in a thousand weird movies that actually works, and will inevitably become a classic.

Watch Now On Showtime

28. The Selfish Giant (2013)

movies that critique capitalism

A Ken Loach type of vibe drives The Selfish Giant  to be an interesting mix between anger,  desperation, and the beauty and humor often found in tough circumstances (think I, Daniel Blake but with kids as main characters). This sort of contemporary fable tells the story of two friends who skip school and hustle for work from a local scrap-dealer.  As they get more and more involved with him and his entourage, the grim realities of what once seemed a way out start to cast a shadow over their lives. The script is based on a short story by Oscar Wilde, it’s a beautiful, ultimately sad portrayal of the British underclass.

Watch Now On Kanopy

27. Caché (2005)

movies that critique capitalism

Beginning with a great opening shot of townhouse on a side street in Paris, only ti discovers that the shot is actually from a video sent to Anne and Georges Laurent (Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil). The married couple who live in that house have no idea who sent the video. More videos appear and events unfold. I can’t say much more about this film without ruining it, it’s definitely one of those films better enjoyed if you go into it not knowing a lot. Directed by Michael Haneke who won the Cannes Best Director Award for it.

Watch Now On Amazon

26. First Cow (2020)

movies that critique capitalism

Two misfits, an immigrant and a traveling cook, team up to start an unlikely enterprise in this slow but captivating drama. The story, set in 19th century Pacific Northwest, evolves around the arrival of the first cow to that part of the world. This presents a unique opportunity that the two main characters try to benefit from. 

First Cow is a mix between a Western and a modern-day plot-less indie drama.  It has likable characters, stunning scenery, and a fascinating look into how social outcasts lived back then.

25. Two Days, One Night (2014)

movies that critique capitalism

This movie originally caught my eye for all the attention it got at the Cannes festival, but I assure you, all of the hype is more than warranted. Two Days, One Night takes you on an emotional journey with Sandra, recovering from depression and ready to get back to work, when she discovers that her co-workers, having to choose between receiving a bonus and Sandra keeping her job, hold her fate in their hands. And thus, barely convinced herself and with her husband as her only support, she sets out on an unlikely mission to convince the people to vote against the bonus so that she still has a salary.

This movie will strike a chord for anyone who has encountered depression or even simply tried to understand the abstract concept that it is. Marion Cotillard flawlessly portrays through Sandra the desperate struggle of having to put up a fight despite the utter hopelessness that she finds herself drowning in. At strife with herself, watching her try even though every cell in her body has given up, is gut-wrenching and awe-inspiring at the same time. Before long Sandra’s fight on the lay-off and on her own hopelessness seem to blur together. Whether she wins, is what keeps you hooked to the very end.

24. Triangle Of Sadness (2022)

movies that critique capitalism

Among the sea of class satires released in the last year, Triangle of Sadness is one of the better ones. Directed by Ruben Östlund (The Square, Force Majeure), the film follows an ultra-rich group of people who get stranded on an island after their luxury cruise ship sinks. The social pyramid that has long favored them suddenly turns upside down when a crew member (a glowing Dolly de Leon) effectively runs the group of sheltered castaways.

Triangle of Sadness may not be as sharp as Östlund’s previous work, and it may not add anything particularly new to the saturated discussions of social class, but it remains a darkly humorous and engaging watch, masterfully helmed by a strong script and ensemble.

Watch Now On Hulu

23. Under the Shadow (2016)

movies that critique capitalism

Horror movies have always been creepier to me when they play on our fear of the “unknown” rather than gore. Under The Shadow does exactly that. The story is based around the relationship of a woman, Shideh, and her daughter, Dorsa, under the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war. As widespread bombings shake the ground beneath their feet, the two grapple with a more insidious evil that is faceless and traceless, coming and going only with the wind. The movie’s dread-effect plays strongly on feelings of isolation and helplessness. The scares are slow and it’s obvious the director takes great care in making every single second count and in raising the unpredictableness of the action. Like the bombs, the audience never knows when or how the next apparition will materialize. The former is always on the edge of fear, wondering what is no doubt there, but is yet to be shown on the frame. In terms of significance, Under The Shadow features too many symbolisms to count and will most likely resonate with each person differently. But one thing remains relatively unarguable: this is a wonderful movie.

Watch Now On Netflix

22. Nobody Knows (Dare Mo Shiranai) (2004)

movies that critique capitalism

A very touching film about Japanese children who are abandoned by their mother in their apartment and left on their own. It’s movie that perfectly encapsulates the world of kids and its alignment with this story is both heartbreaking and joyful. Their innocence will make you smile from ear to ear until moments come where you will shed tears. This is a film everyone should have watched, it breaks my heart how little-known it is.

Watch Now On Amazon Amc Plus

21. High Hopes (1988)

movies that critique capitalism

Mike Leigh’s films have always touched on class politics, but seldom as directly as in this lowkey portrait of Thatcher-era London. Cyril and Shirley are a sweet working-class couple at a crossroads in their relationship. Their lifestyle is contrasted with Cyril’s sister and her husband who exist in a more comfortable middle-class setting, and then paralleled again with an upper-class couple living next door from Cyril’s mother. 

Even at this early stage of his career Leigh gracefully entwines these stories to create a moving and coherent narrative. ‘High Hopes’ as a title might be largely sarcastic, but the film is full-hearted and occasionally even optimistic as it strides its snarky way through the grim facades of 80s London.

Watch Now On Criterion Channel

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movies that critique capitalism

Sort by Popularity - Most Popular Movies and TV Shows tagged with keyword "critique-of-capitalism"

1. Alien (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounter a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Tom Skerritt , John Hurt , Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 893,189 | Gross: $78.90M

2. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford , Rutger Hauer , Sean Young , Edward James Olmos

Votes: 779,670 | Gross: $32.87M

3. Aliens (1986)

R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Decades after surviving the Nostromo incident, Ellen Ripley is sent out to re-establish contact with a terraforming colony, but finds herself battling the Alien Queen and her offspring.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Michael Biehn , Carrie Henn , Paul Reiser

Votes: 725,626 | Gross: $85.16M

4. Margin Call (2011)

R | 107 min | Drama, Thriller

Follows the key people at an investment bank over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.

Director: J.C. Chandor | Stars: Zachary Quinto , Stanley Tucci , Kevin Spacey , Paul Bettany

Votes: 136,005 | Gross: $5.35M

5. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

PG-13 | 107 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen , Ethan Coen | Stars: George Clooney , John Turturro , Tim Blake Nelson , John Goodman

Votes: 317,612 | Gross: $45.51M

6. The Dictator (2012)

R | 83 min | Comedy

The heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.

Director: Larry Charles | Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen , Anna Faris , John C. Reilly , Ben Kingsley

Votes: 314,672 | Gross: $59.65M

7. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working-class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm , Alfred Abel , Gustav Fröhlich , Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 176,648 | Gross: $1.24M

8. Alien³ (1992)

R | 114 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Returning from LV-426, Ellen Ripley crash-lands on the maximum-security prison Fiorina 161, where she discovers that she has unwittingly brought along an unwelcome visitor.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Charles S. Dutton , Charles Dance , Paul McGann

Votes: 304,969 | Gross: $55.47M

9. Alien: Resurrection (1997)

R | 109 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Two centuries after her death, a powerful human/alien hybrid clone of Ellen Ripley aids a crew of space pirates in stopping the aliens from reaching Earth.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Winona Ryder , Dominique Pinon , Ron Perlman

Votes: 251,899 | Gross: $47.75M

10. Wall Street (1987)

R | 126 min | Crime, Drama

An impatient young stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless, greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Charlie Sheen , Michael Douglas , Tamara Tunie , Franklin Cover

Votes: 158,684 | Gross: $43.85M

11. Raising Arizona (1987)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Crime

When a childless couple--an ex-con and an ex-cop--decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.

Directors: Joel Coen , Ethan Coen | Stars: Nicolas Cage , Holly Hunter , Trey Wilson , John Goodman

Votes: 142,353 | Gross: $22.85M

12. Any Given Sunday (1999)

R | 162 min | Drama, Sport

A behind-the-scenes look at the life-and-death struggles of modern-day gladiators and those who lead them.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Al Pacino , Dennis Quaid , Cameron Diaz , James Woods

Votes: 122,061 | Gross: $75.53M

13. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

PG | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.

Directors: Joel Coen , Ethan Coen | Stars: Tim Robbins , Paul Newman , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Charles Durning

Votes: 82,392 | Gross: $2.87M

14. The Coca-Cola Kid (1985)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama

Ex-marine turned Coca-Cola marketing guru Becker is on a mission to boost sales in Australia when he discovers a dry spot in the Outback, where everyone is guzzling homegrown brew - and not a drop of his company's cola.

Director: Dusan Makavejev | Stars: Eric Roberts , Greta Scacchi , Bill Kerr , Chris Haywood

Votes: 3,283

15. Made in Dagenham (2010)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, History

A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.

Director: Nigel Cole | Stars: Sally Hawkins , Bob Hoskins , Andrea Riseborough , Jaime Winstone

Votes: 15,652 | Gross: $1.09M

16. Talk Radio (1988)

R | 110 min | Drama, Thriller

A rude, contemptuous talk show host becomes overwhelmed by the hatred that surrounds his program just before it goes national.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Eric Bogosian , Ellen Greene , Leslie Hope , John C. McGinley

Votes: 14,006 | Gross: $3.47M

17. Sicko (2007)

PG-13 | 123 min | Documentary, Drama

A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories including shotgun deaths.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore , Tucker Albrizzi , Tony Benn , George W. Bush

Votes: 75,949 | Gross: $24.54M

18. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

R | 127 min | Documentary, Crime, History

An examination of the social costs of corporate interests pursuing profits at the expense of the public good.

Director: Michael Moore | Stars: Michael Moore , William Black , Jimmy Carter , Elijah Cummings

Votes: 43,141 | Gross: $14.36M

19. Titanic (1943)

TV-PG | 85 min | Action, Drama, History

Third Reich's Nazi propaganda epic about a heroic fictional German officer on board of the RMS Titanic. On its maiden voyage in April 1912, the supposedly unsinkable ship hits an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and starts to go down.

Directors: Herbert Selpin , Werner Klingler | Stars: Sybille Schmitz , Hans Nielsen , Kirsten Heiberg , Ernst Fritz Fürbringer

Votes: 1,644

20. Face (I) (1997)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

In the face of demise in his values, a socialist in England decides to form a gang and rob banks for a living.

Director: Antonia Bird | Stars: Robert Carlyle , Ray Winstone , Steve Sweeney , Gerry Conlon

Votes: 4,611

21. The Time Machine (1978 TV Movie)

99 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

A scientist builds a machine that will enable him to travel back and forth in time, but when he puts it in motion, he gets more than he bargained for.

Director: Henning Schellerup | Stars: John Beck , Priscilla Barnes , Andrew Duggan , Rosemary DeCamp

22. The Bank (2001)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

The Bank is a thriller about banking, corruption and alchemy.

Director: Robert Connolly | Stars: David Wenham , Anthony LaPaglia , Sibylla Budd , Steve Rodgers

Votes: 2,901

23. Tomorrow (2015)

G | 118 min | Documentary

The world's climate is changing. Instead of showing the worst that can happen, this documentary focuses on the people suggesting solutions and their actions.

Directors: Cyril Dion , Mélanie Laurent | Stars: Anthony Barnosky , Olivier De Schutter , Cyril Dion , Emmanuel Druon

Votes: 3,491 | Gross: $0.04M

24. Capital (2012)

R | 114 min | Drama

The newly appointed CEO of a giant European investment bank works to hold on to his power when an American hedge fund company tries to buy out his company.

Director: Costa-Gavras | Stars: Gad Elmaleh , Gabriel Byrne , Liya Kebede , Natacha Régnier

Votes: 5,466 | Gross: $0.10M

25. En Mutlu Oldugum Yer (2010)

95 min | Adventure, Romance

Elif and Kemal's paths cross at an office party held on a hot summer night in Istanbul. When Elif tells that she saw the open sea for the first time in the coastal town where she spent her ... See full summary  »

Director: Kagan Erturan | Stars: Nihat Altinkaya , Ezgi Asaroglu , Sivga Gerez , Hakan Vardar

26. Merci patron! (2016)

84 min | Documentary

A family fired by a company owned by LVMH (Group owned by French billionaire, Bernard Arnault) seeks reparation from their previous employer with the help of the movie director.

Director: François Ruffin | Stars: François Ruffin , Bernard Arnault , Marie-Hélène Bourlard , François Chérèque

Votes: 1,067

27. Dust Up (2012)

Unrated | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A former vigilante who has embraced his peaceful nature comes to the aid of a young mother in trouble with a cannibalistic drug lord.

Director: Ward Roberts | Stars: Amber Benson , Jeremiah Birkett , Aaron Gaffey , Devin Barry

28. Power Trip (2003)

Unrated | 86 min | Documentary

Corruption, assassination and street rioting surround the story of the award-winning film, Power Trip, which follows an American multi-national trying to solve the electricity crisis in ... See full summary  »

Director: Paul Devlin | Stars: Dennis Bakke , Piers Lewis , Butch Mederos , Bill O'Reilly

Votes: 220 | Gross: $0.04M

29. Mardi Gras: Made in China (2005)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary

This examination of cultural and economic globalization follows the life-cycle of Mardi Gras beads from a small factory in Fuzhou, China, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and to art galleries in New York City.

Director: David Redmon | Star: Roger Wong

30. Laissez-faire (2015)

80 min | Documentary, History, War

A historical and ideological perspective through which to identify the fundamental problems of the economic mechanism on which Western societies that have influenced the daily life of populations all over the world are based.

Director: Ruggero Arenella | Stars: Stefano Accomo , Giovanni Agnelli , Jaime Roldós Aguilera , Salvador Allende

31. Break Free: Two People. Two Years. One Dream (2019)

120 min | Documentary, Adventure

When Lena and Ulli start the engine of their old Land Rover, Lady Terés, they have a plan: to drive from Hamburg to South Africa in six months. What they don't know yet is that they won't ... See full summary  »

Director: Lena Wendt | Stars: Ulrich Stirnat , Lena Wendt , Fufu , Ziza

32. Cheap 'n' Easy Meditative Efficiency (2022)

16 min | Short, Mystery, Sci-Fi

In a world where people are kept updated with biological implants that make going to work pleasurable. One man is fined for being late to work, and begins to question the perfect nature of his existence.

Director: Joshua Morrison | Stars: John Henry Westhead , Marquez Gonzalo Dellamore , Malin Frank , Gezim Gojnovci

33. Laboratory Greece (2019)

165 min | Documentary

A journey through Greece and Europe's past and recent history: from the Second World War to the current crisis. It is a historical documentary, a look into many stories.

Director: Jacopo Brogi | Stars: Filippo Abbate , Konrad Adenauer , Salvador Allende , Rania Antonopoulos

34. Robinson in Space (1997)

82 min | Documentary

Robinson is commissioned to investigate the unspecified "problem of England." The narrator describes his seven excursions, with the unseen Robinson, around the country. They mainly ... See full summary  »

Director: Patrick Keiller | Star: Paul Scofield

35. Climate of Change (2010)

TV-G | 86 min | Documentary

A documentary focused on the efforts of everyday people all over the world who are making a difference in the fight against global warming.

Director: Brian Hill | Star: Tilda Swinton

36. Corey White's Roadmap to Paradise (2018)

Documentary, Comedy, News

Comedian Corey White tries to solve the biggest problems facing everyday Australians by thinking outside of the box.

Stars: Corey White , Jason Agius , Davey Thompson , Erin Shay

37. Capitalism Hits the Fan (2009)

57 min | Documentary

Richard D Wolfe Economist on the 2008 Economic debacle

Director: Sut Jhally | Star: Richard D. Wolff

38. Cry of the Forgotten Land (1995 Video)

25 min | Documentary, Short

New Guinea, second largest island on earth, is home to over 100,000 species found nowhere else on earth, and to ancient human cultures, including the Moi people. The future of the Moi's ... See full summary  »

Director: Ian Mackenzie

39. Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy (2002– ) Episode: The Battle of Ideas (2002)

Documentary, History

Director: William Cran | Stars: David Ogden Stiers , Kenneth Baker , Gary Becker , Tony Benn

40. Artifact (2013) Episode: CruxEnigma (2017)

Action, Adventure, Drama

In a Stroy by Allan Linder , a fallen Astronaut searches the unknown for a way home. What he finds will change the future of humanity forever.

41. Moyers & Company (2012–2015) Episode: Taming Capitalism Run Wild (2013)

TV-G | 57 min | News, Talk-Show

Even as President Obama's talking points champion the middle class and condemn how our economy caters to the very rich, the truth behind modern American capitalism is a story of continued ... See full summary  »

Stars: Rosa DeLauro , Saru Jayaraman , Bill Moyers , Richard D. Wolff

42. Moyers & Company (2012–2015) Episode: What Has Capitalism Done for Us Lately? (2013)

Avarice, Banks, and Capitalism: The ABCs of Economic Inequality.

Stars: Sheila Bair , Bill Moyers , Richard D. Wolff

43. Moyers & Company (2012–2015) Episode: The Pope, Poverty and Poetry (2013)

TV-G | 59 min | News, Talk-Show

In just a few months, Pope Francis, the first in history to take the name of the patron saint of the poor, has proven to be one of the most outspoken pontiffs in recent history, especially ... See full summary  »

Stars: Thomas Cahill , Philip Levine , Bill Moyers

44. Artifact (2013) Episode: Dissimulation (2015)

A Captain searching for an Artifact on a desolate planet, exposes the truths of his mission.

Director: Alexander Raye Pimentel

45. Gary and His Demons (2018–2023) Episode: Guy on the Tiger (2018)

TV-MA | Animation, Action, Comedy

Gary forms a bond with a tiger after it saves him from a demon but when the tiger starts exhibiting demonic behavior, Gary is faced with a difficult choice.

Directors: Mark Little , Lou Solis | Stars: Mark Little , Kyle Dooley , David Berni , Julie Lemieux

46. Adam Ruins Everything (2015–2019) Episode: Adam Ruins Games (2019)

TV-14 | 24 min | Documentary, Animation, Comedy

Adam faces a demonic storekeeper while also explaining why video games aren't causing more violence, the anti-capitalist origin of the board game Monopoly, how Olympic athletes are being exploited, and how the Olympics bring mass poverty.

Director: Tim Wilkime | Stars: Adam Conover , Kam Alyse , Kimberly Brooks , Hayden Crawford

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movies that critique capitalism

Screen Rant

Sorry to bother you & 9 other anti-capitalist satires.

Movies are meant to entertain, but they can also serve as pointed social commentaries too. What films perfectly satire the absurdity of capitalism?

The ups and downs of a capitalist society have been at the forefront of the news lately in light of the GameStop short squeeze. A billionaire hedge fund manager cried on live television after having his own stock trick used against him. While mainstream movies tend to avoid making a political statement, some filmmakers have used cinema to critique a society that contains both multi-billionaires and homeless people.

RELATED:  Sorry To Bother You: The 10 Wildest Scenes, Ranked

One of the most recent quintessential anti-capitalist satires is Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You , which tackles organized labor, corporate greed, and exploitative business practices. But it's not the only film to make pointed commentary on the flawed economic system most of the world subscribes to, a bunch of other directors have lambasted capitalism in movie form, too.

Sorry To Bother You (2018)

Boots Riley was a prominent communist activist before writing and directing Sorry to Bother You as a scathing takedown of capitalism. Lakeith Stanfield stars as a telemarketer who climbs the corporate ladder by using his “white voice” on the phone.

The movie takes a couple of wild turns as his co-workers organize a strike and he uncovers a shocking experiment being carried out by an eccentric CEO.

They Live (1988)

Roddy Piper stars in John Carpenter’s cult classic They Live as a drifter who finds a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the world as it really is: a bleak, black-and-white dystopia. All the billboards say, “OBEY,” and “CONFORM,” and “CONSUME.”

In addition, the wealthy 1% is really made up of a bunch of aliens who have invaded Earth and brainwashed the 99% with subliminal messages in the media.

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

Martin Scorsese’s biopic of stockbroker Jordan Belfort split critics down the middle, with some feeling it revels in Belfort’s life of excess and others believing its absurd drug-fueled antics are a sharp satirical indictment of the mega-rich.

RELATED:  The Wolf Of Wall Street: 5 Reasons It's A Great Satire (& 5 Why It Glorifies Jordan Belfort's Lifestyle)

The final shot of the slack-jawed audience watching Belfort’s seminar acknowledges the ever-consuming public’s role in perpetuating the capitalist machine that creates such Wall Street con men.

Trading Places (1983)

Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy star in  Trading Places  as an upper-class commodity broker and a lower-class street hustler, respectively, who decide to walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

Each of them gets to see how the other half lives, and there’s a lot of comic material in a privileged, sheltered rich guy learning the harsh realities of life on the street.

God Bless America (2011)

Following his initial career as a stand-up comic, Bobcat Goldthwait made a name for himself as a filmmaker with a string of pitch-black comedies. One of his movies, God Bless America , sees a middle-aged man and a teenage girl bonding over their disillusionment with post-9/11 American culture.

They decide to do something pretty drastic about it: take up arms and go on a killing spree. It’s like Falling Down with the violence and dark humor dialed way up.

Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

George A. Romero pioneered the modern zombie movie with Night of the Living Dead and established the undead as a perfect vehicle for social commentary in its allegories of racism and Cold War-era paranoia.

RELATED:  Dawn Of The Dead: 5 Reasons It's The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever Made (& Its 5 Closest Contenders)

The director continued to give his zombie stories a satirical edge in the sequel, Dawn of the Dead , which sees a band of survivors hiding out from the flesh-eaters in a mall. Malls are a symbol of capitalism, and the hordes of zombies traipsing en masse into the mall don’t look too dissimilar to how the living flock to the mall in real life.

Killing Them Softly (2012)

When some guys rob a mafia poker game, the criminal underworld’s internal economy starts to crumble and a badass enforcer, played by Brad Pitt, is brought in to get the money back using whatever brutal means necessary.

Writer-director Andrew Dominik used the implosion of the criminal economy as a satirical metaphor for the Great Recession, the effects of which were still being felt when the movie hit theaters in 2012.

American Psycho (2000)

Adapted from the wildly controversial novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho deals with the effect that the capitalist mindset has on people’s mental health as a corporate high-flyer is driven to commit gruesome murders that may or may not actually be occurring.

Christian Bale gave one of his all-time greatest performances in the lead role of vain serial killer Patrick Bateman, while Reese Witherspoon and Willem Dafoe provide strong support.

Office Space (1999)

Mike Judge hysterically captured the frustrations of doing a mundane nine-to-five office job in his initially underappreciated satire Office Space . Ron Livingston stars as Peter, a bored office drone who’s sick of his boss lording his power over him, and decides one day to just stop going into work.

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Ahead of mass redundancies, Peter teams up with a couple of his coworkers to con the company out of a little money, and they end up accidentally stealing a lot more than they intended.

Parasite (2019)

All of Bong Joon-ho’s movies are about the class divide, but arguably his greatest indictment of economic inequality and the distribution of wealth is Parasite , the first ever non-English-language movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

It tells the darkly comic story of the Kim family, who con their way into jobs with the rich Park family one by one, only to discover some dark secrets that change everything.

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21 of the Best Movies About Capitalism and American Labor

Movies are filled with stories of labor striking back..

In a country that’s no less hostile to workers than it has ever been, it’s surprising that we have a holiday dedicated to the achievements of the labor movement and trade unions. (Though it’s highly debated whether Labor Day is really a holiday for the working class.) Many movies do a pretty damn good job at laying out the conflicts borne of capitalism, speaking to themes in American labor. Interestingly enough, some of the most significant and popular films centered around labor ( Norma Rae , Silkwood , Bread and Roses , Matewan , and more) are entirely unavailable for streaming. Do with that what you will.

Harlan County, USA (1976)

About: Mine work and strike-busting in the deep south.

We talk a lot about the “white working-class” in terms of elections, but that’s most typically just a means to set white and Black voters against each other. Here, Barbara Kopple explodes all of our myths about the things that might concern a mineworker (predominantly, but not exclusively white) in the deep south.

Filmed as it was happening, the film documents what became known as the “Brookside Strike” against the owners of the Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, Kentucky. Kopple’s original intent was to create a film about efforts to unseat the wildly corrupt leader of the United Mine Workers of America union at the time, W.A. Boyle, who seemed to many to be in the pockets of the mine owners (he was later convicted of conspiracy in the murders of a reformist opponent’s entire family). That explosive story, though, turned out to be a side-note of the brutal, bloody, violent opposition faced by the striking mine-workers and their families.

These mine-workers, though, were no pushovers when it came to their rights and mine safety; nor were their wives and mothers. Modern politicians would be quick to call them socialists, but I doubt they’d do it within striking distance of their fierce opposition.

9 to 5 (1980)

About: Women in the white-collar workforce.

There are themes here that resonate with anyone who’s ever worked in a corporate office, but this movie is specifically about women in the working world. Back in 1980, Women were just beginning to make progress in gaining leadership positions. Forty years later, there’s been less progress than you might expect.

Despite being a majority of the workforce and being generally overeducated compared to their male counterparts, women continue to lag behind. There are a few different ways to crunch the numbers, but the number of Fortune 500 companies without male CEOs is somewhere around 8%, which is an all-time high .

Here, the struggle of competent women in the workforce is illustrated in a wild, fantasy farce: Three workers (Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin) at Consolidated Companies are all struggling to earn the respect that’s easily attained by their male co-workers, when one believes that she’s accidentally poisoned the boss, a sexist, egotistical, hypocritical bigot played by Dabney Coleman. Hiding him away to cover up the crime, the three wind up taking over the company and running things as though they’re just relaying orders. The movie also deals with the ways women are often set against each other by male bosses. Parton’s related theme album, 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs , includes several protest songs related to the history of the labor movement.

Where to stream: HBO Max

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

About: Mine labor.

Though set in a fictional Welsh village, John Ford’s Oscar winner deals with the real history of coal mining in the Rhondda Valley area of South Wales, a region that was the primary source of fuel of the British Navy for generations. As demand for the local dry steam coal grew in the 19th century, working conditions worsened and a region’s valuable natural resource became a cause for exploitation of local workers. It’s estimated that, region-wide, the mines saw a death about every six hours.

The multi-generational story of a hard-working mining family, How Green Was My Valley was a blockbuster novel about the struggles of workers against the large mine owners demanding more for less, culminating in a massive strike. The truncated (but gorgeous) Hollywood version plays up the sentimental aspects of the book and plays down the labor angle, but doesn’t do away with it entirely. The movie speaks to the labor troubles of miners then and now, but also to that of Hollywood in the 20th century.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Nothing But a Man (1964)

About: Class and racial struggle among railroad workers.

Nothing But a Man lives at the intersection of racism and classism, and is an acclaimed film that featured an almost entirely Black cast in an era when that was a sure-fire way to get your film ignored by distributors.

Ivan Dixon stars as Duff Anderson, a Black railroad worker who forms a relationship with a school teacher (and prominent preacher’s daughter) while on a work assignment in a small town near Birmingham, Alabama. His co-workers discourage the relationship because of the wide gap between their social classes, as does the young woman’s father. At first seen as one of the “good ones” by his white employers for his steadfast and competent work, Duff’s insistence on maintaining a base level of dignity soon sees him branded a troublemaker. Already limited job opportunities become more scarce, and the chances to form a stable family become further limited.

It’s very much a story about the struggles of Black Americans in the labor market, but the problem of balancing financial necessity with basic human dignity is one that unites anyone everyone.

Where to stream: Flix Fling

Trash Dance (2012)

About: The beauty of sanitation work.

One of the biggest struggles faced by American workers is a lack of respect for many forms of labor. We certainly don’t afford much respect to waste collectors. Trash Dance , in its own way, is a rather glorious celebration of the skills and personalities of the sanitation workers of AFSCME Local 1624 in Texas, as filmmaker and choreographer Allison Orr organizes a massive garbage-truck dance performance, finding the beauty in trash and in the workers who help to keep our world sanitary.

Where to stream: The Roku Channel, Tubi, Vudu, Pluto, Plex

The Pajama Game (1957)

About: Women and labor organizing in the textile industry.

You might not think of Doris Day as a labor agitator...and you probably still won’t after The Pajama Game . The icon, though, plays union leader Babe Williams, organizing for raises for her fellow employees in a Cedar Rapids pajama factory. The real trouble comes when the factory superintendent falls for her, and vice versa, complicating her efforts and his, as well.

At the risk of spoiling things: Babe comes out on top and uncovers corruption among management. Hers is probably not a means of labor organizing that’s easy to replicate outside of a musical, but it’s a fun movie that gives a friendly nod to the idea that factory workers, especially ones talented enough to sing on the job, deserve to be paid what they’re worth.

Where to stream: Prime Video, Tubi

Newsies (1992)

About: A newsboy strike that crosses turfs.

U nion-hating Walt Disney must’ve rolled over in his grave when his company produced Newsies , a movie based on the NYC Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, a wildly improbable moment in the history of American labor organizing.

The newsies were at the center of paper distribution of the era, and boroughs and street corners were fought over in turf wars. Somehow, the poor and largely uneducated newsboys from all over the city and from various ethnic backgrounds came together for a two-week (frequently violent) strike against the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Circulation of the major papers was more than halved, and the owners finally caved to the major demands of the newsboys. Both the original movie and a filmed version of the (pretty great) stage musical version are available for streaming on Disney.

Where to stream: Disney+

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

About: Class division among telemarketers.

Boots Riley’s satire stars LaKeith Stanfield as a Black telemarketer who realizes, at first to his horror, that he can increase his sales dramatically by adopting a white-sounding accent. From there, a common theme develops: promoted and rewarded for his sales prowess, he’s encouraged to turn his back on his former peers. E ven as he moves up the line and discovers some of the company’s darkest secrets, he’s still understandably reluctant to give up his new standard of living. Positioned as a strikebreaker when his old friends try to build a union, he’s forced to finally choose.

Where to stream: Netflix, Hulu

Matewan (1987)

About: A f ull-scale battle for miners’ rights.

The history of American labor is littered with stories of private armies hired to break strikes and intimidate laborers—it’s how the Pinkertons made their names. Director John Sayles’ Matewan dramatizes the true story of what became known as the Battle of Matewan in West Virginia coal country in 1920; part of a series of ignored conflicts between miners and bosses that ran for about a decade.

It’s a reminder of the bloody lengths to which mine owners, in particular, have gone to keep wages low and safety provisions few. It doesn’t shy away from a darker, unavoidable theme in American labor history: the ways in which racism has been employed by white laborers and owners to advance their own causes. The film begins with a bloody attack on Black miners brought in to cross a picket line.

Where to stream: Currently, nowhere. There is, though, a Criterion Blu-ray; it occasionally shows up on that streaming service.

Modern Times (1936)

About: Soul-crushing automation.

The paradox of automation has always been that “labor-saving” innovations almost never benefit those doing the actual labor. T hat’s perhaps most disturbingly illustrated by the cotton gin, an advancement that saw conditions worsen dramatically for enslaved Americans of the 19th century.

Here, Charlie Chaplin, a star whose sympathies with the labor movement would eventually get him kicked out of the country, plays his Little Tramp character in a satiric dark comedy that imagines mechanization as a phantasmagoria. M emorable clips don’t capture the movie’s wild swings: a Communist demonstration, a cocaine-fueled jailbreak, bricks thrown at police strike-breakers, and more . By the end, Chaplin makes clear that the “modern” factory is a nightmare for its workers.

Where to stream: HBO Max, The Criterion Channel, Kanopy

Roger & Me (1989)

About: Autoworkers looking for answers.

Michael Moore’s reputation as a provocateur has waned quite a bit over the years, but Roger & Me remains his opus and an important moment in American labor history. Specifically, it represents one of those rare occasions when someone is able to cut through multi-billion dollar corporate messaging to point out how cruel and ridiculous they can be. Here, it was General Motors and Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan.

The filmmaker interviews locals and plant workers, and seeks to get in touch with GM chairman Roger B. Smith after a number of employees express disdain for the company’s leader. There were criticisms at the time, and questions have remained as to whether all of Moore’s tactics here were entirely above board, but the point remains: with the stroke of a pen, a company was willing to all but destroy a community just to save a few dollars.

This was the first feature documentary in American history to have received a broad theatrical release, and dozens of filmmakers boycotted the Oscars over the Academy’s failure to nominate it in the documentary category.

Support the Girls (2018)

About: R e staurant workers uniting .

Mumblecore master Andrew Bujalski wrote and directed this impressively loud movie about a group of women who work at a fictional restaurant that is definitely not Hooters (here it’s called “Double Whammies”). Regina Hall leads the movie as Lisa Conroy, the general manager who’s become accustomed to walking the line between the restaurant’s staff, of whom she’s fiercely protective, and the boss that’s always threatening to fire her. As conditions worsen, a camaraderie develops between the women workers that’s inspiring, even if the movie doesn’t offer any easy solutions.

Where to stream: Prime Video, Tubi, Kanopy, Redbox, Pluto, Plex

The Killing Floor (1984)

About: Early attempts at a multi-racial meatpackers’ union.

Bill Duke directed this movie that started as a PBS TV movie before moving on to the broader festival circuit . It’s s et among the meatpackers of Chicago in the lead up to the devastating white supremacist violence of 1919. In the film, two Black sharecroppers come to the city seeking jobs in the stockyards vacated by white soldiers who’d left for World War I. Frank Custer (Damien Leake) is encouraged by his co-workers to join the Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America Union, which sets him at odds with various and overlapping interests based in race, ethnicity, and class.

The movie dramatizes the struggle to gain recognition for the idea that workers of different backgrounds have more in common with each other than they do with the capital class.

Where to stream: The Criterion Channel, Kanopy, Film Movement Plus

Norma Rae (1979)

About: One woman brings a textile plant to a halt.

Sally Field (who won an Oscar) plays the title’s Norma Rae Webster, based on the real-life union organizer Crystal Lee Sutton. A factory worker in North Carolina is fired for running off a union sign on the company printer, leading to the climactic, indelible moment when she brings the factory to a complete standstill. That’s the scene everyone knows, but Field’s performance here is fabulous in a story that’s about the power that an ordinary person can have when they’ve had enough.

Where to stream: Believe it or not...nowhere.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

About: Capitalism crushes real-estate salesmen.

An impressive and dark exploration of American-style capitalism, writer David Mamet’s film visits a corporate real estate office populated by an all-star cast (Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, and more .). To motivate the salesmen, they’re informed that only the very top closers among them will get to keep their jobs at the week’s end. It doesn’t matter how they convince their marks to buy into real estate, and it certainly doesn’t matter if they can afford it. Friendships and peer relationships are seen as less than worthless.

With vicious precision, the movie illustrates the ways in which capitalism forces workers to not only turn on each other, but to fleece customers to make money for who ever’s sitting at the top.

Where to stream: Kanopy, Pluto, Shout TV

Outland (1981)

About: Exploited miners on the moon.

Sean Connery stars in this space western about mines on the moon (a moon of Jupiter, to be precise). He plays a federal marshal assigned to maintain order and, incidentally, help to quell any labor disputes. An increasing number of disturbances lead Connery to look more deeply into conditions in the mines and the means that are being used to keep workers working. As a slightly goofy science fiction movie, it takes itself seriously and displays a fair bit of passion for its central themes involving the exploitation of workers.

Cesar Chavez (2014)

About: Agricultural labor and the birth of the UFW.

One of the most significant figures in American labor history (and, by extension, American history), Cesar Chavez (played here by Michael Peña) gets only cursory mentions in American history textbooks. Director Diego Luna’s biopic follows Chavez’s efforts to organize California farmworkers, many of them temporary workers from Mexico, over a period of decades, and eventually helping to found the United Farm Workers union. The movie falls back on too many of the tropes of the biopic genre to fully connect, but it does serve as an occasionally rousing introduction to an American who deserves to be much better known and understood.

Where to stream: Starz

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

About: Department store employees organize.

Wealthy tycoon John P. Merrick (Charles Coburn) goes undercover (sound familiar?) at one of his New York City department stores to root out labor agitators, barely passing the basic skills test required of the most entry-level workers. He meets his match in store clerk Mary Jones (Jean Arthur) who, along with her recently fired boyfriend, are among those in the store fighting on the DL for better conditions, and planning an upcoming strike. It’s mostly a charming romp with some impressively pro-labor sentiments, even if it ends on a somewhat compromised note.

Where to stream: The Roku Channel, Plex, Flix Fling

Salt of the Earth (1954)

About: Mexican-American women taking the lead in a mining strike.

Based on the real-life 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico, Salt of the Earth was blacklisted even before it was released, being the product of multiple filmmakers who’d been shunned during the Communist hunts of the era. If that hadn’t been enough, it s themes would almost have certainly have kept it off of screens: starring a blend of professional actors and New Mexico locals, Salt of the Earth focuses on the Mexican-American mine workers striking for conditions equal to those of their white counterparts. More than that, the film’s lead is Esperanza Quintero (Rosaura Revueltas), the wife of a mine worker who takes up a picket sign in his place.

That a pro-union movie about the women in the families of Mexican-American ever got made by Hollywood filmmakers remains remarkable. I t’s more than just a curiosity, though. The film was immediately critically acclaimed, even if not widely viewed.

Where to stream: Paramount+, Epix, Tubi, Kanopy, Pluto, Plex, Flix

Live Nudi e Girls Unite!

About: Sex workers of the world unite.

Sex work is work, but that doesn’t mean that workers in the industry don’t face unique challenges in fighting for wages or improved conditions. In the late 1990s, the staff at the Lusty Lady, a San Francisco peep show, were faced with arbitrary wage policies, racism, and lacked even the most basic job perks while dealing with problem customers without management support. When the staff threatened a strike, management wouldn’t even concede that what the women did could be considered a real job; as though it was something done for fun with the bonus of a few tips. So they got organized, resulting in a truly groundbreaking moment in labor history, even if sex workers still struggle for recognition. Filmmaker Julia Query worked at the club and brings a sharp insider’s perspective to the story.

Parasite (2019)

About: Domestic workers strike back.

It’s worth including a South Korean black comedy in this list of movies about American labor : Korean filmmakers, including Bong Joon-ho , are practiced in making movies that criticize capitalism, and t he best of them are far better than American filmmakers at doing it . S uffice it to say that the story of a poor family who scheme to infiltrate the household of a gullible wealthy family is as impressive a critique of late-stage capitalism (and the ways in which it demands that we eat each other alive) as you’re likely to find.

Where to stream: Hulu, Kanopy

‘Eat the Rich’: The 10 best anti-capitalist movies

'Eat the Rich': The 10 best anti-capitalist movies

Let’s (satirically) propose that every parasite who earns over £75,000 a year should be put into a bubbling hot tub with high walls. We’ll give them champagne (actually prosecco), then slowly pipe in a playlist that includes the likes of Muse, Mumford and Sons and Elbow and see them awkwardly dance as the temperature slowly increases, unknowingly boiling to the tune of ‘One Day Like This’. Then, the meaty broth will be mixed into a warming stew created by Gino D’Acampo, and the exquisite meal will be sent to struggling families across the country.

Sure, the vision is a little sadistic, and we’re not sure the likes of Rishi Sunak, Piers Morgan and Andrew Tate would taste that nice at all, but don’t blame us for conjuring it up, blame French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich,” Rousseau’s political slogan read. The phrase was popularised during the French Revolution of the late 18th century, providing a rallying cry for the proletariat. 

Many centuries later and the slogan associated with class conflict and anti-capitalism has re-emerged, with ‘Eat the Rich’ movies becoming particularly prevalent in 2019 with the release of mainstream hits Joker , Ready or Not , Knives Out and the Palme d’Or and ‘Best Picture’ winner Parasite . The trend has continued with the recent release of movies like Triangle of Sadness , The Menu , and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery . This broth of socialist cinema suggests that the appetite for rich-eating movies is only growing.

Looking at movies that deconstruct the greed of modern capitalism, as well as satirical films that playfully call for social change, tuck in your napkin and take a look at the ten best ‘Eat the Rich’ movies below. 

The 10 best anti-capitalist movies:

10. bacurau (kleber mendonça filho, juliano dornelles, 2019).

Brazilian filmmakers Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho bring this strange tale of unhinged violence erupting from a small fictional village to the forefront of the contemporary Western genre. As sinister acts of violence and intimidation from foreign tourists terrorise an isolated Brazilian community, the film tells the story of the residents who begin to mobilise and defend their town and culture. 

A clear allegory to anti-capitalism, Bacurau draws from historical and sociopolitical concerns about the current Brazilian landscape to illustrate the conflict between the country’s working and upper classes. And he does it in a stark style.

Bacurau – Official U.S. Trailer

9. Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)

A smash-and-grab filmmaker of the 1960s, Jean-Luc Godard ended his significant decade-long reign in arthouse cinema almost as quickly as he’d started it, creating one of his finest films in the form of 1967’s Weekend . Colourful and politically charged, the director’s quirky flick followed a Parisian couple who leave on a weekend trip across the French countryside to collect an inheritance, only to witness the greed and over-consumption of the bourgeoisie. 

Whilst crammed with innovative cinematic techniques, the film is best known for its eccentric take on modern capitalism, using surrealism to pick apart its absurdity and expose its disparity. The whole thing is a fitting comic farce.

Week-End / Week-end (1967) - Trailer French

8. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2018)

Hirokazu Koreeda thrilled critics in 2018 with his Palme d’Or-winning drama Shoplifters , starring Sakura Ando, Lily Franky and Jyo Kairi. The story follows Osamu (Franky) and ‘adopted’ son Shota (Kairi), who come across an abandoned child whilst on their way home from a successful shoplifting session. This chance encounter sparks a fateful series of events.

The film is a Dickensian drama about finding hope in poverty that questions the immorality of modern capitalism. A charming crowd-pleaser on the surface, Koreeda’s film is also an ode to the warm generosity inherent in humanity that works opposingly to the heartless sociopolitical structures of contemporary life.  

Shoplifters - Official Trailer

7. The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972)

A favourite of fellow ‘Eat the Rich’ satirist Ruben Östlund, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie from the director and surrealist Luis Buñuel, is a classic of 1970s filmmaking. The first of three movies on this list where food takes a starring role, Buñuel’s film tells the story of six middle-class people whose dinner is consistently interrupted in increasingly bizarre and dreamlike ways. 

With Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig and Bulle Ogier, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie is a classic parody of the absurdity of modern life. Staying with the characters as their middle-class lives are slowly dissected, Buñuel makes for a surprisingly entertaining watch. 


6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Sydney Pollack, 1969)

Based on the remarkable real-life ‘thrill’ of the ‘last person standing dance marathon’, Sydney Pollack’s Oscar-nominated drama They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is a thoroughly enjoyable and politically important film. Following the lives of several contestants as they each vie for success in the gruelling competition that sees the winner walk away with $1,500 in silver dollars. 

With the facade of an entertaining event, this bleak allegorical film set in depression-era LA saw Jane Fonda lead the mighty ensemble cast to nine Oscar nominations, including ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actress’. A provocative piece of cinema, Pollack exposes the barbaric nature of contemporary capitalism.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? 1969 Trailer | Jane Fonda | Michael Sarrazin

5. La Grande Bouffe (Marco Ferreri, 1973)

Released just one year after Luis Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, La Grande Bouffe is the second film on our list that takes the concept of ‘Eat the Rich’ far too literally. Telling the story of a group of men who retreat to a villa in the French countryside and vow to eat themselves to death, Marco Ferreri’s film is a pretty direct satire of consumerism and the ceaseless greed of the bourgeoisie. 

Nominated for a Palme d’Or at the time, La Grande Bouffe walked away from the Cannes Film Festival with a FIPRESCI Prize, as well as a cinematic legacy of being one of the greatest social satires of all time. It remains as stylish as it is uncompromising.

Le Grande Bouffe  - Newly restored & back in cinemas. Official UK trailer

4. Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Östlund, 2022)

The latest movie from the jester of contemporary cinema , Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness tells the story of a luxury yacht packed with super-rich guests who each fall victim to their own hubris. Starring Harris Dickinson, Woody Harrelson, and the late Charlbi Dean, Triangle of Sadness may be the director’s most playful piece of cinema, utilising several unique tools to tell his rampantly enjoyable story. 

Successfully lampooning the folly of contemporary culture with wit, drama and plenty of bombastic chaos, Östlund’s film is a worthy addition to his glittering filmography. He has certainly established himself as a director who doesn’t pull any punches.

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS - Official Trailer - In Theaters October 7

3. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)

No doubt one of the most influential actors and filmmakers of early Hollywood cinema, the silent era star Charlie Chaplin had a prophetic outlook on the distant future. His masterpiece, 1936’s Modern Times, demonstrates this attitude perfectly, telling the story of a man who struggles to adapt to the modern innovations of industrial society alongside a young, homeless woman. Familiarly hilarious, it’s the anti-capitalist sentiment of Modern Times that makes the movie so unforgettable. 

Being forced into an industrial production line, Chaplin’s tramp becomes another cog in the capitalist machine before the screenwriter and director turns the system on its head and uses it as a playground for absurd humour and profound insight. 

Charlie Chaplin - Modern Times (Trailer)

2. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)

We’ve talked a lot about the role of food and gorging one’s face on this list, with Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe and Luis Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie being two movies that deconstruct modern capitalism with a squirt of whipped cream. Peter Greenaway’s satire The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover may be the best of such movies, however, taking the ‘Eat the Rich’ slogan to new levels of literality. 

Taking place at Le Hollandais gourmet restaurant, a venue that is regularly filled with decadence and gluttony, Greenaway’s story tells the tale of the cook, a thief, his wife and her lover who turn the placid eatery chaotic. Excellently breaking down the structures of power that keep the rich in control and the working class compliant, Greenaway’s superb ‘Eat the Rich’ satire is too often swept under the rug. 

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover - Trailer

1. Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, 2019) 

The first foreign film ever to win ‘Best Picture’, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is truly a contemporary classic, harnessing the attention of audiences and critics across the world with its thrilling core concept and execution. Though its central story is certainly gripping, the real power of Joon-ho’s tale is in its sociopolitical pertinence, exploiting a group of characters who parasitically live off each other in a toxic symbiotic relationship. 

Sparking a modern interest in South Korean drama, no doubt the success of Parasite in 2019 would lead to Netflix’s monumentally successful series Squid Game released in 2021. Dabbling with themes of class warfare and the disruption of the social order, Bong Joon-ho deals with several urgent topics with a compelling approach to drama and a subtle layering of subtext. It’s a fascinating ride of moral ambiguity.

Parasite [Official Trailer] – In Theaters October 11, 2019

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Movies that critique Capitalism

movies that critique capitalism

I'm looking for movies that comment and critique on the structural inadequacies of capitalism

not just a movie that says: 'There are a few bad apples' - something that kind of encapsulates the anti-capitalism movement

I was just curious to see how movies as a medium tackles this

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Would this one technically count as capitalist? I know it’s about class but (sorry if this is a dumb question; I’m not an expert on capitalism) would every movie about class count as a movie about capitalism?

Fight Club has some elements of this

Which is actually slightly debatable considering the most anti-capitalist character in the movie is the villain

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Parasite (2019)

Nomadland (2020) - not the most scathing critique but relevant to the topic.

After watching Sorry To Bother You I looked up who directed it. It explained the strong anti capitalist angle of the movie. A breath taking movie for sure.

Man, Sorry to Bother You messed me up. Go into that one prepared.

The Big Short - Adam McKay 2015

Came for Margot Robbie in a bubble bath, stayed for…I don’t actually remember much besides the bubble bath. Although Ryan Gosling was hilarious!

"Thank You For Smoking" is about a certain structure of capitalism, a cynical look at how major businesses hide truth and harm from the public through handsomely paid lobbyists to keep profits up.

Nightcrawler has themes that critique the capitalistic nature of trauma porn in news media

Even beyond the specific news angle, it's a perversion of the "guy starts from nothing but works hard and makes it" narrative, where instead he "makes it" by not only working hard but being the most unethical and most exploitative. A perfect example.

Spring break

Office space

A Christmas Carol

Empire records

Rent (watch the proshot professionally posted on yt, not the movie)

How to succeed in business without really trying

The platform

The Laundromat (2019). Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas (plus other famous names). When a loved one dies in an accident, the insurance company won’t pay out. Follow Meryl down the rabbit hole of dodgy offshore companies to find out why.

Or for something more light, The Muppets! Evil capitalist buys up the Muppet studio to drill for oil. It even got criticized in real life for bringing anti-capitalist propaganda into a children’s film (because some people are just plain idiots).

Came here to recommend Laundromat! I think it’s pretty informative as well as being engaging

Robocop (1987)

(lesser so) It's a Wonderful Life

Robocop / Total Recall / Starship Troopers are a very effective trilogy!

There Will Be Blood

The Founder

American Psycho

Blue Collar

I’ve never seen it, but Dead Pigs, the film that got the director Birds of Prey, does this.

i feel like Sorry We Missed You encapsulates the way predatory employers can grind down entire families very well. It did not portray any anti capitalist theory such as marxism, but it was absolutely a structural critique.

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Seven anti-capitalist films to watch after ‘Squid Game’

The south korean television show has captivated audiences around the world. here’s what to watch next., roisin tapponi, 22 oct 2021.

movies that critique capitalism

'Fish Tank, Kassander Film Company; 'Squid Game', Netflix; 'Below Dreams', Garrett Bradley; Michael Dziedzic

In the past month, polite conversation has shifted from avid questions about the weather to “have you seen Squid Game ?” In the same way that Love Island hooked us in its earlier days, the South Korean TV show has created a collective cultural experience. It has captivated viewers across 90 countries, and surpassed Bridgerton as Netflix’s most-watched show . 

The plot of Squid Game is fairly straightforward. Essentially, there are 456 players, who are all deep in debt. They play a series of children’s games for a prize of £28m. If they lose a game they die – and the prize pot increases. The popularity of the series adds to the rapidly-growing influence of South Korea in global pop culture, following the 2019 Oscar-winning film Parasite and the international dominance of K-pop boy band BTS. As a result, Netflix plans to spend £364m on developing South Korean films and shows this year alone, in order to meet increasing demand for South Korean content across the international market.

As a piece of entertainment producing enormous profit for a Silicon Valley corporation, Squid Game can hardly be called ‘anti-capitalist’ itself. But the content of the show is an anti-capitalist comment . In Squid Game , the only escape from the desperation of poverty is money; the bored rich play literal games with the lives of the poor and dignity does not exist, even in death, for those with no capital. The series itself was created by Hwang Dong-hyuk during the 2008 global financial crisis, a period of intense economic insecurity. The long-lasting impact of the crisis was exacerbated by politicians such as Donald Trump, who Dong-hyuk cites as the source of ‘inspiration’ for the VIP characters . Trump ran his country with the impetus of a reality TV show – in a ‘democratic’ society, we are led to believe that free will exists in a rigged game. 

With its allegorical depictions of today’s neoliberal, capitalist society, it’s no surprise the series has resonated so deeply, across a global audience. And it’s not alone. As the divide between the have and the have-nots deepens , we are seeing more cultural work that examines the capitalist system that operates in much of the world with a critical eye (even if it can be argued this is merely to keep us feeling we’re doing anti-capitalist work without actually engaging in challenging the system).  Squid Game exists in a network of allegorical films and TV shows that critically address a viciously capitalist system – as we live it. Here’s a few to check out next.

The Inheritance (2020) dir. Ephraim Asili

In this debut feature-length essay film, Ephraim Asili historicises his time spent with a Black Marxist collective in West Philadelphia, MOVE Organisation, and the Black Arts Movement. Weaving together oral histories and archival material, the film reconstructs a commune where a community of young, Black artists and activists form a radical cultural and political collective.

Sorry We Missed You (2019) dir. Ken Loach

It is impossible to talk about anti-capitalism and cinema without mentioning British independent filmmaker Ken Loach. His latest – and reportedly, last – film follows a family who have been battling debt since the 2008 financial crash in Newcastle upon Tyne. With a nuanced and didactic approach, Loach depicts the lives of a working-class family who struggle to wrestle back financial independence, only for their relationships to disintegrate under the extreme struggle and stress of living in increasing and unavoidable poverty.

Below Dreams (2014) dir. Garrett Bradley

In 2020, filmmaker Garrett Bradley gave us the powerful and tear-jerking documentary Time , which follows Fox Rich who spent two decades campaigning for the release of her husband from the corrupt US prison system. Since receiving high critical acclaim, Bradley has made a Netflix documentary about tennis star Naomi Osaka, alongside a resurgence of interest in her earlier films. One of these is Below Dreams , a feature-length drama in which three young people move to New Orleans and try to build a life in the city’s crumbling economic reality. Whether they succeed or not, is down to the morals and ethics of the viewer.

Aquarius (2016) dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho

A tour de force in storytelling, filmmaking auteur Kleber Mendonça Filho has long been concerned with socio-political realities in rural and impoverished urban areas of Brazil. In Aquarius , one of his lesser known dramas, we follow the life of Clara, a 65-year-old widow and retired music journalist, as she resists forced occupation from her home. Clara is the last resident of the Aquarius estate, and refuses to sell her apartment to a construction company that wants to kick her out, in order to turn the building into a redevelopment project. A critical look at gentrification in Brazil and released at the apex of the country’s political crisis, the film generated a lot of controversy and protests from its own cast and crew against Brazil’s coup upon its screening at Cannes Film Festival.

IWOW: I Walk on Water (2020) dir. Khalik Allah

From the director of Black Mother (2018), Allah takes us on a surreal trip through everyday life in East Harlem, an area in New York City housing a vast number of first, second and third generation immigrants. The film is mostly told through the eyes and words of Frenchie, a 60-something homeless Haitian man with whom Allah has a longtime friendship. In a series of dreamlike sequences, Allah takes us on a tour of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, and the people who are largely invisible to the state but the heartbeat of a historic and culturally iconic neighbourhood.

Fish Tank (2009) dir. Andrea Arnold

Ahead of her new release Cow (2021), it is worth reflecting on the consistently powerful body of work made by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold. Fish Tank is certainly a highlight, and was hugely influential both in social realist cinema and for many young women who exist on the margins of society. Set in an East London council estate, the film is a humanising and frank depiction of a young woman, Mia, messed around by the false promises and bureaucratic nightmares of the welfare state. Mia dreams of becoming a hip-hop dancer, and struggles to fulfil her dreams amidst a never-ending series of daily obstacles that come her way as a young woman trapped by the system. 

Antz (1998) dir. Eric Darnell

An unlikely inclusion, unless you have seen the Marxist commentaries comparing Antz to a Communist utopia. The film opens with Z, who condemns his fellow ants for their compliance in maintaining the colony structure. This is not an ‘over-intellectualising’ reading of the children’s animated film – literally, Z calls his comrades “mindless zombies capitulating to an oppressive system.” Full-blown war soon occurs, as the ants rebel against their highly militaristic, authoritarian society. Z convinces another militant ant to “influence the termite’s political processes through campaign contributions.” Yes, this is the same ant movie you innocently watched as a child in an Odeon cinema all those years ago.

Where to find vibes this month

Hélène selam rose kleih, the gulabi gang is a sisterhood fighting against domestic violence in india, avani thakkar, sorry for the fomo but here's what gal-dem members are up to…, gal-dem staff, people ‘like’ harry styles always win at the grammys, riann phillip, love in london is filmabdi’s positive propaganda for modern day romance, kemi alemoru, nanny uses west african mythology to demolish the american dream, matene toure, ‘no bears’ looks at how the control over women’s bodies traps us all, looking back at burning an illusion, the uk’s second-ever black film, memuna konteh, pam grier on grit, becoming an action woman and taking back power, become a member, we need 6,000 members to continue our ground-breaking work join us today to actively support marginalised communities and independent journalism., sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

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