Skip to comments.What are the best conservative movies of the past 25 years ?
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. Im 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 Burstyns best performance.
* United 93 (2006) - Harrowing and heartrending depiction of the 9/11 flight that didnt 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 its 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 Im missing a few, so lets 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, its 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) - Cant 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 its 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) - Im 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 cant quote here.
* The Chronicles of Narnia (2005) - Ive 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 cant believe I didnt 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.
Ill keep checking back, but remember that were looking at 1984 forward. Were 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, its even better as the follow-up to the doomed Firefly television series.
Update IV: I can see that Ill 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.
Some people would include FORREST GUMP in the list but many other conservatives disagree. I’d like to hear both sides of the issue.
What about “Hanoi Hilton?”
Many Clint Eastwood movies...
Hmmmm. Scroll back one more year to 1983 and catch “Uncommon Valor”. Great movie, IMHO.
Not in the last 25 years, I think.
Call me crazy, but Field of Dreams should be on the list. It honors both baseball AND fathers. Can’t get more true-blue American (and conservative) than that. :-)
I would like to add the following to the list :
Patton ( May be too old to make the 25 year cut )
We Were Soldiers
Black Hawk Down
Life Is Beautiful
and the latest one from Clint Eastwood -— Gran Torino
Also, would anyone want to include Spider Man 1 in the mix ?
End of the Spear
Stand and Deliver (1988)
The Great Escape
A "coming of age" story about the son of a deceased barber, who takes over then sells his father's barbershop, but not before he learns to understand how his father could run the business day after day for his family.
In a future where the genetically engineered are given preference and the natural born are stopped from succeeding at birth, a naturall born man does not accept the fate society has in store for him, and pursues his own dreams.
Pursuit of Happyness
A man tries to better himself against nearly overwhelming odds to provide for his son.
I’d like to include THE MISSION: Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons team up to make a tour de force about human freedom vs. human oppression in South America, as Catholic Church abandons Christian natives to Portuguese slavers because its politically expedient.
THE UNTOUCHABLES seems like a good conservative movie. It celebrates bravery, duty and anti-corruption. Sean Connery was absolutely brilliant in that movie as the incorruptible cop. Needs to be watched again in light of what’s happening in Chicago today.
Kinda says it all.
Idiocracy—Amusing portrayal of the future if we continue down the current pop culture secular trail....
To Sir with Love - 1967
Respect for authority
Grace under fire with race baiting
The Lord of the Rings (all of them)
The Passion of Christ
Those 4 movies drastically outshine all others
in the last 25 years
Gods and Generals....however.....excellent
Tears of the Sun. Navy SEALs take up a larger mission. Take a stand against Genocide and safeguard the last best hope for Freedom amidst inhumanity.
Rambo IV. I’ve always liked Rambo but Rambo IV is icing on the cake. Get rid of the gory battle scenes and it still stands out. Rambo gets Redemption, fights a cause of his own choosing and takes a stand against tyranny.
Would Live Free or Die Hard fit the bill?
Since I've only watched kids movies and 'Postman' in the last 25 years.... "Antz".
OK, would you consider Sylvester Stallone’s — Rocky a conservative movie ?
One of my favorites, and my husband and I quote from Forrest Gump all the time. We even named our puppy Forrest, since we got him when the movie was out and we couldn’t come up with a great name, we decided Forrest would be a great name, and it was. AND that dog “was a runnin’ fool”.
Oh, and I consider the new 3:10 to Yuma a conservative flick.
Blast From the Past (1999)
yes, but it does it in a pretty funny way. granted, not for everyone.
and to repeat something I told someone at a church function years ago (probably during South Park's first or second season): South Park doesn't really bother me. What will bother me is what comes after it. The SP people has a sense of where and when to push the line and for what purpose (they don't always succeed in this, I'll grant you). I'm more worried about the imitators that just want to use foul language and crass routines just because they can.
The Postman was a great film. kevin costner is a pant load but it’s still a great, great 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.
I liked The Postman. I never understood what was so bad about it.
Forrest Gump was a pathetic comedy that was more like a fairy tale.
I wouldn’t consider it conservative either, with the AIDS glorification.
Well yes, but this is supposed to be a list of good movies.
I don’t see the conservative message in Forest Gump.
(Warning, very explicit, but very funny language.)
Here, here for Barbershop... I was just going to include that one.
I found that one amusing.
ROCKY IV is pretty good also.
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