Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Best movies to learn power dynamics

PreviousPage 6 of 6

Winter is here in Oz.  So I'm introducing my Mrs to some classic movies.  Here's a nice one.  Townspeople hire a gunfighter but then want to get rid of him and he's playing it for himself (and playing for another man's wife).  Basically an agent of chaos with a hidden agenda.  Brynner built his career on movies with racial subtexts and its set just after the civil ware so plenty of social tensions here.   Of course its a western so plenty of testosterone and a bit OTT at times got mixed reviews.

IMO the acting and script are good.  E.g. to give you the flavour this is the gunfighter talking about his boss:

"A town that hires a gunfighter is always a henhouse with just one rooster. A few fat capons; a few clipped wings. What happens when a man with a gun walks in? That's play, Mrs. Adams – fun. When the fun is over I'll pull the trigger."

Oh dear and you can see by the title screen its not about a nice guy.


Lucio Buffalmano and John Freeman have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman

Quick thought, and it goes back to the post from Transitioned above:

A great movie to learn power dynamics is Mad Max.


My favourite heroes are anti-heroes. Such as Mad Max. They are real people. They struggle with good and evil and have both inside of them.

We've been brainwashed by movies to think that it's all black and white. It isn't.

Mad Max is like: "I'll save my own skin. If I can save yours I'll do it. But I'm not in this gig to save you. I'll do it only if necessary and/or beneficial to me (win-win)."

These are heroes who have accepted their own dark side: their own aggression, their own selfishness, etc. Their animal nature how I view it.

They accepted that "too be good you have to be bad".

I'll take my job as an example: the reality of my job is that we sometimes have to hold children, stick a needle in them, put them in a psychiatric hospital against their will, take the child away from the parents, denounce the parents to child services/police, etc.

Does not sound like we're really heroes as portrayed in TV series and movies right?

I wrote only the negative on purpose. The truth is that in order to be benevolent we sometimes have to do harm. If you're not ok with this you cannot be a nurse or a doctor or EMT, etc.

So when we do these things we have to do a bit of harm to do a lot of good. We would be harmful (evil) when we'd do a lot of harm for a little of good of course.


Lucio Buffalmano, Jack and Power Duck have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJackPower Duck

Hello TPM Community,

One of the best books on politics I ever read: Dune by Frank Herbert. Reading Dune as a teenager it taught me what religion and politics are about.

The first movie (1984) is great as it shows the rising of Paul Atreides from privileged aristocrat to ruthless guerilla leader Muad'Dib. There are the plots, the betrayals, the alliances. It has it all and I don't want to spoil it for you.

The new movie (2021) is also great. As a fan of the first one it took me some time to appreciate it. I now do.

And who's the highest machiavellian of them all: Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. I think in machiavellianism in movies the highest machs of all times there is Michael Corleone and Baron Vladimir Haroknnen. There is also Piter de Vries, master ploter, mentat for the baron.

Here are the 3 scenes where he appears.


We discover the Baron

Rabban: Lord Baron.

Baron: Rabban.

Rabban: The last of our ships have left Arrakis. It’s done.

Baron: Very good.

Rabban: Uncle, how did we let this happen? How can the Emperor take everything we’ve built and give it to that Duke? How?

Piter: Don’t be too sure, it’s an act of love.

Rabban: What does he mean?

Baron: When is a gift not a gift? The Atreides Voice is rising and the Emperor is a jealous man. A dangerous, jealous man

My Dune

Baron: What is the Emperor’s message?

Reverend Mother: He will strengthen your hand.

Baron: With his Sardaukar army…

Reverend Mother: It must never be known.

Baron: There’s no satellites over Arrakis. The Atreides would die in the dark.

Reverend Mother: On that matter. Duke Leto Atreides means nothing to our order. But his wife is under our protection, and by extension, her son. Allow them the dignity of exile.

Baron: House Harkonnen would never dream of violating the sanctity of your order. I give you my word. We would not harm them.

Piter: If the Duke’s son lives–

Baron: No Atreides will live.

Piter: My Lord, you gave your word to the witch. And she sees too much.

Baron: I said I would not harm them. And I shall not. But Arrakis is Arrakis, and the desert takes the weak. My desert. My Arrakis. My dune.

Rewarding the traitor

Baron: The traitor?

Baron: What do you want?

Yueh: I jammed their comms and lowered their shields.

Yueh: I gave you Duke and his family.

Baron: The bargain to the letter. And what was I to do for you?

Yueh: Deliver my wife from her agony.

Baron: Yes.

Baron: I said I’d set her free, that you could join her.

Baron: So join her.

A masterpiece.

Jack has reacted to this post.


Listening to “the wisdom of psychopaths” I now think that the anti-heroes are the “good psychopaths” he talks about in the book.


PreviousPage 6 of 6
Scroll to Top