This is “Recommended Viewing”, section 14.5 from the book 21st Century American Government and Politics (v. 1.0).
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Apollo 13 (1995). A jeopardized NASA moon mission saved by bureaucratic ingenuity.
Catch-22 (1970). Joseph Heller’s classic tale of army bureaucracy gone awry.
A Certain Kind of Death (2003). A remarkable documentary showing the bureaucrats of the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office efficiently and effectively at work.
Dr. Strangelove (1964). The ultimate dark comedy: how a bureaucracy unravels after a demented general named Jack D. Ripper sends jets to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union.
The Right Stuff (1983). An elegy for the passing of the era of the lone hero of the desert test pilot and its succession by politics-bedazzled and publicity-minded astronautics.
Top Gun (1986). Probably the most famous hit movie as military recruiting poster. Tom Cruise plays a wild-living American who settles down and grows up to be a navy pilot.
Welfare (1975). The great fly-on-the-wall documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s inspection of the welfare system and how it affects well-meaning civil servants and welfare recipients alike.
Well-Founded Fear (2000). A brilliantly revealing documentary showing how Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officers interview people seeking political asylum to the United States and decide their fate.