Thursday, July 3, 2008

Patriotic Films and John Adams

Which films do you find profoundly patriotic? Or, which films convey the concept of patriotism best in your opinion? Tomorrow is the Fourth of July in America but how about non-Americans' love for their respective countries as well?

On a side note, somewhat related: I'm planning to start watching HBO's John Adams series tomorrow, after having recorded the High-Def version of all the episodes this past spring on DVD. Anyone seen this miniseries, and if so, what did you think? It looked quite good, convincingly authentic in detail and from what I hear it is thoroughly well-acted.


Craig Kennedy said...

I find films that are overtly patriotic to be mainly repulsive. I prefer movies that show Americans at their best even as it shows them at their worst. Something like All the Presidents Men.

Alexander Coleman said...

Since you posted that clip of Yankee Doodle Dandy, Craig, I might as well comment on another Cagney film that I think is genuinely touching and patriotic in its own way, that being The Fighting 49th. It's also a pretty solid "Catholic film," for those interested, and it's a war film as well. It features a character arc that would usually fall flat or be rightly labeled corny but Cagney sells the living hell out of it and makes you believe. Has a huge similarity to Angels With Dirty Faces, which starred Cagney as an unscrupulous gangster and Pat O'Brien as a priest trying to make him go right (Fighting 49th keeps this basic dynamic but transports it to a World War I American outfit).

It's funny that you mention All the President's Men, as it was probably the single film I envisioned when I posted this. Subversively patriotic perhaps, but it's very patriotic nonetheless. In this way, I think JFK and Nixon by Oliver Stone are quite patriotic as well (and, since it's the Fourth of July, I'd say Born on the Fourth of July is in its own way as well).

And for a subdued, hurt kind of patriotism, I'm a fan of William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives, though it's a film that really fits more comfortably on Memorial Day.

Regarding John Adams, I saw the first episode (which is all about Adams defending British soldiers against the charge of "murder" in the case of "The Boston Massacre") and liked it a good deal. From what I heard, the miniseries became much stronger after the first one or two episodes so I'm pretty stoked. Going to check out Part II in a little bit, and then try to see the latter five episodes in the next two days. Paul Giamatti and Danny Huston as cousins John and Samuel Adams are particularly effective in this opening episode.

Daniel G. said...

I like my patriotic movies to be loud, violent, and in your face, like Tears of the Sun or We Were Soldiers. Kidding, of course. I'm with you two. Based on Craig's criteria I'll throw in one of my upcoming underrated movies - The Siege.