Politics has always been an area of interest for movies but over the years the biopic political movie has grown ever popular.

And this week sees The Iron Lady hit the big screen as Meryl Streep takes on the role of Margaret Thatcher in the Phyllida Lloyd directed project.

So we take a look back in recent history to see which actors have take on some of the most famous politicians.

- Nixon

Anthony Hopkins took on the role of Richard M. Nixon back in 1995 when he teamed up with filmmaker Oliver Stone.

This movie is like a Shakespearean tragedy meets Citizen Kane but it is a powerful performance from Hopkins.

While there are many standout scenes in the film it is Hopkins' rant that will really stay with you.

This is an engaging watch from start to finish as you see this man really fall from grace.

For his central performance Hopkins was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar

- Frost/Nixon

In 2008 Nixon returned to the big screen, this time in the hands of Ron Howard, in a movie that focused on the 1977 television interviews between journalist David Frost and Nixon.

Frank Langella takes on the role of the former President this time around while Michael Sheen plays Frost.

This really is a thrilling drama and these two going head to head in the interview scenes really are the most exciting and tension filled of the whole movie.

Langella is simply superb in the film as he is this looming and intimidating figure - he was rightly nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars.

- Downfall

In 2004 it was Adolf Hitler and the Nazis under the spotlight as director Oliver Hirschbiegel depicted the last ten days of the Nazi regime.

There is a really claustrophobic and tense feel to the movie as Hitler is held up in a bunker in the final days of his life.

Bruno Ganz is simply superb as Hitler in what is a rather chilling and often creepy performance.

Downfall is an incredibly brave movie and it was met well by the critics upon it's release - going on to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Picture at the Oscars.

- W

Back with Oliver Stone and he tackled the political biopic once again back in 2008 with W.

The movie depicted the life and presidency of George W. Bush and saw Josh Brolin take on the central role.

Brolin clearly has done his homework when it comes to portraying Bush as he gives a very convincing performance as the former President.

It's an interesting insight into a man who has had a huge impact on the world we live in today without ever overly critical.

- The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady sees Streep reunite with her Mamma Mia director Phyllida Lloyd in  project that takes her away from comedy roles for the first time in a while.

The movie follows the rise of Thatcher to Prime Minister and the sacrifices and battles she made and had during that time.

Streep is now odds on favourite to win Best Actress Oscar for this captivating performance as the only female PM this country has ever voted for.

- J Edgar

But The Iron Lady is not the only political biopic doing the rounds this Oscar season as J.Edgar has also been in the awards mix over the last few weeks.

The movie sees the return to the director's chair for Clint Eastwood as he teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio, who takes on the central role as Hoover.

As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered.

But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.

DiCaprio has already picked up a Best Actor Golden Globe nod and should be in the mix come Oscar time.

The Iron Lady is released 6th January

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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