Top 5: Patriotic Films
List by Anthony Cleveland and Aaron Haughton
There are a number of reasons that make America one of the greatest countries in the world -- our belief in freedom, love and liberty, the individual, currency and prosperity, inalienable rights, and the pursuit of happiness (whatever that means), just being a few. To celebrate America's birthday, we're counting down our top 5 films that embody America, making us feel damn proud to be Americans.
- 5. Malcolm X
This film displays religious freedom, standing up against the power, freedom of speech, and courage to change your views to admit you were wrong-- that's as American as it gets, for me.
- 4. American Pop
This is a generational music story that spans through American history. It's similar to Forest Gump where he intersects with famous figures, only here it's a family through 4 generations. The film also meditates on where we came from as Americans and where the next generation will take us.
- 3. To Hell And Back
This is the Audie Murphy story. Here's the short version: Audie decides to join the military to support his mother and siblings, but because of his small size he's denied by every branch, except the army. Audie is the only American to earn EVERY medal our government can bestow a serviceman, which is still true today. He returned home a hero and even starred as himself in the film based on his autobiography of the same name.
- 2. Red Dawn
All this is a patriotic masturbatory fantasy, and I love it! It's exactly what us 'mericans would do if them Ruskies came to take our guns, which is as plausible as ever nowadays. WOLVERINES!!!
- 1. Glory
This was one of the first rated-R films I ever saw. And, if memory serves, I was about 3, and it kicked off my fascination with history. That young, you don't know what race is -- all I saw was the uniforms and soldiers stepping up to carry the flag after the flag carrier fell, one after the other. Not too much older, I learned what slavery was and why these men fought this war.
Bonus: The Sandlot has the greatest nostalgia summer/fourth of July scenes of all time.
- 5. Independence Day
Okay, so blowing up the White House isn't the most patriotic thing, but it is pretty badass. Independence Day makes me hopeful for a better America. I love that there's a global disaster, this planetary threat, that causes the world to join together to fend off the true illegal aliens...actual fucking aliens. Also, Bill Pullman's speech:
- 4. Rocky IV
I actually think all the Rocky films are patriotic and quintessentially American, but I'd be remise to not include IV here. It's not my favorite Rocky film, but it does have an epic America v.s. Russia showdown. Fuck yea! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
- 3. Stripes
Because I know if I'm down on my luck, Uncle Bill--err, Sam-- will always be there for me. Like Independence Day, it also comes loaded with a kick ass, pointedly American monologue:
- 2. Hacksaw Ridge
Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of a man who is willing to stand up for his beliefs no matter what, even if it means certain death. Andrew Garfield gives a tremendous performance as Desmond Doss, a young American who joins the WWII war effort against Japan as an Army medic, refusing to pick up a weapon and willing to go into war unarmed. In the end, he ends up not only surviving, but rescuing a number of wounded soldiers as well. It's hard to believe that this came from a true story, but that's what makes the film so goddamned inspiring.
- 1. The Great Dictator
It was extremely ballsy for Charlie Chaplin to make a film about Hitler in early 1940. In fact, he was strongly encouraged from those closest to him to not tackle the film. This was prior to America's involvement in WWII, but Chaplin, being a humanitarian, just couldn't turn a blind idea to the atrocities in Europe, whether America was involved or not. I've included a lot of speeches, but the speech in The Great Dictator is the most vital, especially today. In this speech, Chaplin challenges an emerging monstrous force by looking directly into the camera, saying what everyone was thinking, but were unwilling to actively speak out. Fun fact: Hitler had booked a print of this film a number of times before his demise. I wonder what he thought of the film...
What do you think? What films make you feel patriotic? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!