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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

Save for later.

141 posted on 01/15/2009 8:47:11 PM PST by wjcsux (White liberal elites are America's losers with money.)
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To: Ramius

I also liked the scene from the final movie where the riders of Rohan come to break the siege of Minas Tirith, are completely outnumbered with little hope of survival, and still charge headlong into the battle because it is what must be done.

142 posted on 01/15/2009 8:48:00 PM PST by tarawa
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To: SeekAndFind

Red Dawn.

143 posted on 01/15/2009 8:52:23 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (This election gave the drunks the keys to the liquor cabinet!)
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To: Alberta's Child

Good to hear others liked that movie too. I thought I was alone thinking it should have gotten recognition from Hollywood. I meant to mention the “rugged individualism” too. Again—much better than “Dances W/Wolves.”

144 posted on 01/15/2009 8:52:32 PM PST by Fu-fu2
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To: lilylangtree

Are you being sarcastic? Girl borrows money from her Dad so a friend can get an abortion?

145 posted on 01/15/2009 8:56:59 PM PST by sportutegrl
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To: SeekAndFind

No one mentioned “Independence’s Day”. I thought the July 4th speech was one of the best in any movie.

146 posted on 01/15/2009 8:57:11 PM PST by georgiabelle
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To: SeekAndFind

True Lies.

147 posted on 01/15/2009 8:57:20 PM PST by sportutegrl
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To: SeekAndFind
Apollo 13 was great. It showed humans at their problem-solving best. Not a political movie but showing brilliant people improvising and doing what is almost impossible surely goes against the typical leftist anti-achievement mentality.

I liked Hollywood Shuffle, which came out about 20 years ago. Again, not a political movie per se. It depicts a young black man trying to become an actor and finding that Hollywood will only cast him as a slave or a stereotypical gangster/pimp. The actor finally lands a movie role as a pimp character. He quickly becomes ashamed of himself and walks away from that job because it is demeaning and he wants to be a good role model for his young relatives. So Hollywood Shuffle has a good message about self-respect and family. It also makes fun of condescending white liberals.

148 posted on 01/15/2009 9:01:13 PM PST by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tag line.)
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To: Valpal1

I thought FIREFLY was really good, and the movie was outstanding.

149 posted on 01/15/2009 9:08:51 PM PST by odin2008 (EVIL TRUMPHS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING)
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To: georgiabelle
No one mentioned “Independence’s Day”.
I thought the July 4th speech was one of the best in any movie.

I agree.
Even though I'm a through-and-through Okie and "Flyover Country" person,
I worked in West Los Angeles during 1995-2005.

One of the more memorable experiences was going with a couple of
fellow lab-workers to see "Independence Day" at a UCLA-area
And realizing "this is a basically conservative American film"!

OK, I admit I reached this assessment after seeing a cinematic
explosion of The White House (during The Clinton Years) and
seeing the Brit in the Desert shouting that "The Yanks" are going
to fight!

Heck of a film. Even if it's escapist eye-candy.
150 posted on 01/15/2009 9:09:05 PM PST by VOA
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Never mind when Will Smith’s stripper GF says she voted for the other guy which means the President that lead the fight to prevent Human extinction was a Republican.

151 posted on 01/15/2009 9:13:08 PM PST by Pelagius of Asturias
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To: ishmac

I agree, The Lives of Others was a very good film.

152 posted on 01/15/2009 9:13:23 PM PST by devere
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To: Straight Vermonter

Fiddle on the Roof

...a celebration of Faith, Family, Fatherhood and Tradition!

To Life (conservative that is)!

153 posted on 01/15/2009 9:17:29 PM PST by Magallanes (Interesting....)
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To: SeekAndFind


...also, Fiddler on the Roof. It the finest celebration of faith, family and fatherhood, and Tradition!
It doesn’t get more conservative than this.

154 posted on 01/15/2009 9:17:29 PM PST by Magallanes (Interesting....)
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To: JRandomFreeper
Sylvester Stallone’s — Rocky a conservative movie ? Only to the extent that the big capable guy keeps getting beat and keeps trying to be a nice guy because he's got obvious brain trauma. That fairly well sums up the alleged 'conservatives' we have in Congress.

If you ever want to see Stalone in a movie in which he actually acted then watch, if you can find a copy, a very early movie of his called "The lords of Flatbush". A very sad story about some pathetic youths.

155 posted on 01/15/2009 9:18:49 PM PST by calex59
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To: SeekAndFind

Patriot Games
Clear and Present Danger

Indiana Jones series

156 posted on 01/15/2009 9:20:19 PM PST by xander
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To: SeekAndFind

by David McCullough
Shown on HBO
“Liberty will reign in America!”

157 posted on 01/15/2009 9:21:29 PM PST by TheCause (Let the lord of the black land come forth...let justice be done upon him!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I think if you watch Children of Men you will find conservative themes.

And The Island too.

Just watched Gran Torino the other night.
Add that to the list.

158 posted on 01/15/2009 9:25:03 PM PST by Scotswife (GO ISRAEL!!!)
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To: Cheesel; GreyMountainReagan; donna; seowulf; Pelagius of Asturias; wally_bert; stainlessbanner; ...
If you can, please rent "St. Ralph". If any of you rent it and find it not worth the coin, ping me and tell me why. It is just an inspirational and FUNNY movie. Especially for Catholics.

I also like "The Cowboys" however it is outside of the 25 year limit.

Others that come to mind are Kevin Costner's best movie, "Fandango".


"Big Red One"

"Breaker Morant"

"Das Boot"


"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"

"A big Hand For a Little Lady"

"In Harm's Way"

and one of my favorites of all time..."Spencer's Mountain".

Most of these are outside the 25 year limit, but St. Ralph and Spencer's Mountain are nice bookends.

159 posted on 01/15/2009 9:25:37 PM PST by erman
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To: SeekAndFind

There’s an interesting list of the best American movies in Bill Bennett’s new book — “American Patriot’s Almanac” I believe is the title.

160 posted on 01/15/2009 9:29:16 PM PST by MayflowerMadam (I feel much better since I gave up hope.)
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