Movies have often been potent vehicles for propaganda and advocacy since the early days of the motion picture industry.
Although fictional movies continue to claim the lion's share of moviegoers' dollars, documentary films have surged in popularity in recent years, due in part to the success of advocacy films by Michael Moore and other activist directors, and due also in part to greater affordability of digital filmmaking equipment and new means of distribution, such as DVD and the Internet.
- Birth of a Nation
- Modern Times, directed by (and starring) Charlie Chaplin
- The Great Dictator, also directed by and starring Chaplin
- The Manchurian Candidate (movie 2004)
- The Thin Blue Line, directed by Erroll Morris
- Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore
- Triumph of the Will, directed by Leni Riefenstahl
- Control Room
- The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara, directed by Erroll Morris
- The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill Clinton
- No End in Sight (movie 2007)
- Fahrenheit 9/11 (movie 2004), directed by Michael Moore
- Mine Your Own Business by Phelim McAleer
- Super Size Me (movie 2004), directed by Morgan Spurlock
- Uncovered: The War on Iraq, directed by Robert Greenwald
- Michael Moore Hates America (movie 2004), directed by Michael Wilson
- Outfoxed, Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism, directed and produced by Robert Greenwald
- Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, produced by Carlton Sherwood
- Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price by Robert Greenwald
- Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Drives Some People Crazy by Ron Galloway
- Clayton R. Koppes and Gregory D. Black, Hollywood Goes to War: How Politics, Profits and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990), ISBN 0-520-07161-1. Koppes and Black offer a fascinating examination of the relationship between the Roosevelt administration and Hollywood filmmakers, showing how propaganda influenced movies such as Little Tokyo, USA, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, Mr. Lucky, Mrs. Miniver and Casablanca.
- Gina McIntyre, "Documentary Films," Hollywood Reporter, June 29, 2004.