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What are the best conservative movies of the past 25 years ?
HOTAIR.COM ^ | Jan 15,2009 | Ed Morrisey

Posted on 01/15/2009 6:53:12 PM PST by SeekAndFind

John J. Miller at The Corner asks the question:

What are the best conservative movies of the last 25 years? This cinema epoch begins roughly with the release of Red Dawn in 1984.

I might be happy if I could find 25 bona-fide conservative movies at all in the past 25 years. I’m afraid that most of what Miller will get in response will be of the Red Dawn variety, since the only place safe for conservative themes in Hollywood has been action films. Red Dawn itself had that in spades, but it was also a rather dreadful movie with more scenery-chewing than one might imagine without William Shatner. I watched it again recently and found it rather embarrassing, except for the brief appearance by Powers Booth. “AVENGE MEEEEEEEE!”

There have to be better examples of conservative movies that we can suggest to Miller. I have a few, and will add those suggested in the comments in updates, or at least the ones that make some sense. Here are my starters:

* The Great Raid (2005) - Based on a true story and managed to mostly stick to it, this film also committed the apparently unpardonable sin of telling the truth about the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines and their treatment of POWs. It exemplifies honor, courage, resistance to evil, and risking lives to save others.

* Saving Private Ryan (1998) - For many of the same reasons as The Great Raid, made even more clear by the highly realistic battle scenes, which make clear the sacrifice asked and made.

* Requiem for a Dream (2000) - Harrowing depiction of the destruction of lives from drug addiction, even from prescription drugs. Definitely not for everyone, but brilliant in every aspect of production. In the end, the main characters lose their souls, their freedom, and their minds. Perhaps Ellen Burstyn’s best performance.

* United 93 (2006) - Harrowing and heartrending depiction of the 9/11 flight that didn’t hit its intended target, thanks to the heroism of the passengers on the flight. Facing certain death, they fought back against the Islamist terrorists, becoming the first Americans to do so on that awful day.

* Glory (1989) - The true story of the Massachusetts 54th in the Civil War, which led an ill-starred assault on a fortified position for the Union and suffered massive casualties. The all-black regiment fought for freedom, dignity, and honor, and gave their lives gladly for those causes. Great performances by Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman make this highly compelling.

* Shattered Glass (2003) - The story of the first round of fabrication at The New Republic, with an unexpectedly excellent performance from Hayden Christenson as Stephen Glass, the serial fabulist who succeeded by telling lies about the right people — conservatives. The film does a good job of pointing that fact out.

* Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) - The trilogy should occupy one spot, but it’s an important one. In the fantasy realm, it speaks to true evil and the need to fight it, even to the death. The final battle, in which Aragorn attempts to sacrifice his entire army so that Frodo can complete the quest, has one of the most stirring battle speeches in film history. No one in this film argues for moral equivalency or the idea that Sauron might just be misunderstood.

I know I’m missing a few, so let’s hear from Hot Air readers. Be sure to explain your suggestions in the comments.

Update: The best film you never saw: The Stoning of Soraya M (2008). Read my review here. Unfortunately, it’s never made it into wide release, but it should be required viewing for those interested in human freedom. Made even better by the surprisingly subtle performances of the entire cast.

Update II: The comments section has some great suggestions. Let me add a few that deserve mention:

* The Incredibles (2004) - Can’t believe I missed this one. It focuses on the strength of a family that works together as well as rips the notion that talented people somehow pose a threat to everyone else. And it’s also flat-out fun for all ages.

* Gettysburg (1993) - Excellent, fact-based depiction of the bravery and courage on both sides of this battle.

* 300 (2006) - I’m not normally a big fan of the graphic-novel approach to storytelling, but it works in the story of the Greeks at Thermopylae. Self-sacrifice for a greater good gets a boost from highly stylized filmmaking. Not for all tastes, but for its genre, excellent.

* Braveheart (1995) - Worthy, I think, for its emphasis on resistance to tyranny and defense of homeland against foreign rule. Historical inaccuracies mar this somewhat, especially the disappearance of the bridge from the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Still excellent, though, but The Patriot is hobbled badly by its anti-British smears.

* Juno (2007) - Interesting view of teen pregnancy and the choice to give birth rather than abort. Not really ideological, but it has much more authenticity than most teen dramedies, and really a beautiful little movie.

* Team America: World Police (2004) - A twisted satire of conservative values on defense that winds up being itself a defense of conservative values. Profane as it possibly can get and with one really disturbing scene that got it an NC-17 rating until it was cut, Team America winds up providing one of the best explanations of why we need people willing to fight terrorists and tyrants … which I can’t quote here.

* The Chronicles of Narnia (2005) - I’ve only seen the first movie, which made C. S. Lewis’ allegory on Christianity rather explicit. Good movie.

* Rudy (1993) - Hard work, not feeling sorry for yourself, faith, and love all make for one of the best movies ever — and another one I can’t believe I didn’t recall in the initial post.

* Cinderella Man (2005) - Definitely a worthy entry. James J. Braddock goes back to boxing to rescue his family from poverty, and winds up winning the championship.

* An American Carol (2008) - I thought it was OK, but many others in the comments think it was better.

I’ll keep checking back, but remember that we’re looking at 1984 forward. We’re getting some excellent suggestions for earlier movies, but we want to focus on this particular time period.

Update III: Definitely on the list: Serenity (2005), which attacks Utopianism as the excuse for totalitarianism that it is. Shockingly good sci-fi movie on its own, perhaps the best in the last 25 years, it’s even better as the follow-up to the doomed Firefly television series.

Update IV: I can see that I’ll not get much other work done today. Two more worthy of consideration, both true stories:

* Amistad (1997) - Recounts the true story of how John Quincy Adams defended captured Africans for their rebellion on board a slave ship, and how he won their freedom.

* Amazing Grace (2006) - A biography of William Wilberforce, who led the fight in Great Britain to end the slave trade.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: conservative; gettysburg; movies; ronmaxwell
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To: SeekAndFind

Harry Potter deals with good vs evil. HP also promotes the notion that the government & politicians don’t get it right & people need to take a stand.

101 posted on 01/15/2009 7:57:12 PM PST by pooh fan ("Strong, the pull of the Dark Side is". Yoda)
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To: SeekAndFind

Master and Commander?

102 posted on 01/15/2009 7:59:05 PM PST by PotatoHeadMick
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To: Born Conservative
Let me chime in with "The Aviator." Successful white male individualist succeeds all the white fighting arrogant politicians, a competitor (Juan Trippe) in bed with said politicians, while calling out the parlor pink hypocrisy of his own girlfriend.

I am sure "The Incredibles" has already been mentioned.

103 posted on 01/15/2009 8:01:08 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: PotatoHeadMick

Great film. Not really a Conservative flick.

104 posted on 01/15/2009 8:01:19 PM PST by Pelagius of Asturias
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To: SeekAndFind

Ground Hog Day. The underlying story of service bringing joy and happiness is found when you start thinking of other people’s well being really had spiritual undertones.

105 posted on 01/15/2009 8:01:26 PM PST by ODDITHER
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To: SeekAndFind

LOTR is the most OVERRATED film saga ever made. A bunch of effeminate dwarves walking, and walking, and walking to find a stupid ring.

106 posted on 01/15/2009 8:02:31 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: stainlessbanner

Interesting list. A few of NR’s picks seem a bit odd, though.

I was only 12 when I saw Deer Hunter, so I may have missed a lot, but it didn’t strike me as a conservative film. Carnal Knowledge I only know by reputation, but I wouldn’t have thought of it as a conservative standard bearer, either. Maybe I need to add a couple of rentals to my Netflix queue in the near future, eh?

One I’d add to the NR list, even though it was done by and starred a die-hard liberal actor: Jeremiah Johnson. Living free and on one’s own terms to me goes to the very essence of conservatism.

107 posted on 01/15/2009 8:02:41 PM PST by DemforBush (Sarah Sarah Sarah!)
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To: Clemenza
The "Return of the King" vs "Return of the Jedi" scene in "Clerks 2" is so funny!
108 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:00 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: stainlessbanner

Yes, it’s the new Clint Eastwood movie. I went last weekend with my wife and 16 year old son, and we all loved it. Worth the ticket price (and I don’t say that too often).

109 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:08 PM PST by Born Conservative (Bohicaville:
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To: SeekAndFind

I liked Quigley Down Under. Honor and personal integrity. Family relationships and redemption. Perseverance and commitment. Personal growth and healing.

110 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:26 PM PST by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I would submit “Are We There Yet?” Not a great, great film. Cliched in many ways, but it features a guy who has to man up to be a father and husband figure, and there are some genuinely funny moments in it.

111 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:30 PM PST by swatbuznik
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To: SeekAndFind

Husband works to fall in love with his wife again, rather than divorce her (among other great values).

112 posted on 01/15/2009 8:07:37 PM PST by zlala (Giving money to government is like giving drugs to addicts.)
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Good choice!

113 posted on 01/15/2009 8:09:12 PM PST by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable rights.)
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To: Question_Assumptions

I only saw it dubbed in japanese on a JAL flt. Looked like it had conservative themes but I cannot verify it:)

114 posted on 01/15/2009 8:10:42 PM PST by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable rights.)
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To: 2banana

“Many Clint Eastwood movies”

Nothing he has directed recently. After a one-two punch from Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby I have entirely given up watching movies directed by Eastwood. I consider him a nihilist.

115 posted on 01/15/2009 8:12:49 PM PST by devere
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To: Straight Vermonter
I was definitely on Randall's side in that argument. I found it funny that he had many of the same thoughts as I did.

I sat through the entire LOTR trilogy in one night. Would have rather gone through a reverse circumcision.

116 posted on 01/15/2009 8:13:02 PM PST by Clemenza (Red is the Color of Virility, Blue is the Color of Impotence)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Island. This was a sort of metaphor for anti-abortion. It centers around a multi-billion dollar cloning industry in which people are led to believe that the ‘donors’ are simply lumps of flesh, but the lie is exposed that these lumps of flesh are actually real, live human beings who are being killed for matters of convenience.

117 posted on 01/15/2009 8:14:00 PM PST by pjd
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To: chevydude26

I was actually surprised by the positive themes I saw in Dark Knight for such a mainstream hollywood production.

118 posted on 01/15/2009 8:16:54 PM PST by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain inalienable rights.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I liked “Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day Lewis. I thought it showed how “America” was formed early on from the blending of cultures. And it showed Indians—oops Native Americans—could be “bad guys.” It was out the same year as “Dances with Wolves” and I thought it was a much better movie but did not get any recognition from Hollywood at Oscar time so it must have had a conservative message! Terrific soundtrack too...

119 posted on 01/15/2009 8:17:43 PM PST by Fu-fu2
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To: devere

Flags of our Fathers was a tremendous film. I rate it Conservative.

120 posted on 01/15/2009 8:19:57 PM PST by Pelagius of Asturias
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