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It's A Grand Old Flag (Patriotic Movies)

Bear Up North

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Memorial Day and the July 4th Holiday both provided a boat load of patriotic movies, events, flag-waving, fire-cracker lobbing, etc. And, of course, our country remains somewhat evenly-divided on our continuing role in Irag. Which brings me to the topic of this thread.....ahhhh, those patriotic movies.

Some movies slam you with flag-waving "love it or leave it" patrioism. Others are more subtle. And a few "anti-war" movies are used as cinematic evidence that "real patriots" question a government and their motives. Here's my take on a few reels.....

YANKEE DODDLE DANDY
Just watched it last night (July 4). I watch it every year at this time. It remains more of a character study of George M. Cohan than a slide into absolute patriotism. But, it does have some moments.....especially when he writes the song "Over There", for the boys fighting in WWI. The line "....and we won't be back until it's over, over there....." is haunting, from an American point of view. Seems that for nearly a century the USA has had to be the country to straighten-out world problems.....with our might, with our money, with our influence, and with our soldiers. (James Cagney, normally a tough guy in the flicks, was outstanding as a song & dance Cohan.)

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
A wonderful movie that catches the frustrations of American servicemen returning to their home towns after the end of WWII. The home front has changed in many ways, such as the drug store fountain clerk returns to a drug store owned by a corporate giant, no longer the friendly store he left when he went to war. The symbolism in the final reels.....endless rows of WWII airplanes (bombers) being recycled.....and the just-returned bomber aviator.....both "put out to pasture", no longer needed in a world with a different kind of war (nuclear threat) looming over it.
Best Picture of the Year in the later 1940's.

THE DEER HUNTER
A personal favorite, with very-little actual war scenes. Basic storyline is about a group of steel workers in a small Pennsylvania town.....they work hard, the drink even harder, and they hunt deer. Three (3) of this group are headed for Viet Nam, to participate in a war they strongly believe in. Their experiences in VN change everything for each of them. In the final reel, at a breakfast after the funeral of one (1) of the three (3), they end the movie by singing, "God Bless America". Strangely moving and the movies' anti-war theme kind of slides in toward you from emotional places unexpected.

BAND OF BROTHERS
If you ever question why the USA steps in and helps the rest of the world.....this wonderful mini-series is for you. These soldiers, moving across Europe in 1944 and 1945, epitomized sacrifice for country. A technical masterpiece.

DOCTOR STRANGELOVE
I had to include this movie.....it hits patriotism from a quite different angle. Slim Pickens' final scene, riding a nuke down toward the Russian surface, is as much a flag-waver as any......"this is what I was trained for, and I will finish the job for the good ole' USA...".

Of course, my list has some older movies. The primarily-young Cyburbia crowd will probably "pooh-pooh" my list and plug-in modern stuff, with lots of guns and action and "blow -em up" stuff. You can wear your flag your way, I will wear my flag my way.

America.

Bear
 

Gedunker

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I got to watch about the last 2/3 of GLORY over the weekend. Patriotic, enlightening, and timely, what with Gettysburg's 141st anniversary 1-3 July 2004.

Jimmy Cagney was superb as George M. Cohan in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY and the scene you describe is memorable -- from the sound of the bugle that inspires him, to the wistful look as he watches the troops march past, knowing perhaps that America has arrived on the world stage. Knowing as well what that might exactly mean. BTW: "Over There", slightly modified, was one of my high school fight songs.
 

Bear Up North

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Thread Re-Open

Time to re-open this thread and nominate a couple more flicks to the list of patriotic movies.....

MR. ROBERTS
Henry Fonda, as Mr. Roberts, epitomized those many Americans that wanted very much to be part of the heroic war effort as World War II drew to a close. By 1944 the country knew that it was just a matter of time before the Germans and the Japanese were defeated.....and that intense pride in country was calling those folks.

Instead of seeing battle against a supreme foe he is fighting a battle against the tyranical captain of a non-fighting military supply ship.....James Cagney. The movie combines great acting, a superb story, great comedy, and an emotional finish that knocks your socks off.

PRIDE OF THE YANKEES
I have included this movie on the patriotic list because of its' focus on America's love of baseball and respect for a simple man who can do great things in his chosen profession. An incredible true story (with cinematic enhancements) that makes you wonder why our universe would have a single person so strong that he is called "The Iron Man" and have that same man become so weak that a disease would later me named after him (and his bout with that disease).

Bear
 

JNA

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Bear Up North said:
DOCTOR STRANGELOVE
it hits patriotism from a quite different angle.
A good companion picture would be - FAIL SAFE (1964)


Add to the list -
THE CROSSING (2000)
Washington crossing the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton.
 
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Bear Up North

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JNA said:
A good companion picture would be - FAIL SAFE (1964)
If I remember correctly, DR. STRANGELOVE was released before FAIL SAFE, in about the same time period. Because STRANGELOVE was so good, and so successful, the market for FAIL SAFE just wasn't there.

I said before.....Henry Fonda made a great president in FAIL SAFE. The translator was Larry Hagman.....with great facial expressions as he tried to convey the message that the Soviet Premier was sharing.

Bear: Essence Of Life
 

Bear Up North

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Marching open an old thread......yesterday I watched Yankee Doodle Dandy, for the umpteenth time. Love that movie!

Bear
 

mike gurnee

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I accidentily ran across The Best Years of Our Lives a few years ago. Now I watch it every time it is on...every 6 months or so. But I will watch Yankee Doodle Dandy more frequently. Independence Day is also cool.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Glory is a great movie... I haven't seen that in a long time but it have to go onto my Netflix que soon.

I also enjoyed the Band of Brothers series. I bought it for my dad on DVD for Christmas but had to inspect each disc from start to finish before he got his hands on it. (I think I read somewhere recently that they have just begun work on a Band of Brothers series that takes place in the Pacific theatre).

The HBO series on John Adams was another one that was really good.

And I don't know if I would consider them patriotic exactly, but I love war movies and some of my favorites are Apocolypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, and the Seige of Firebase Gloria.
 

TexanOkie

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The 1972 film adaptation of the musical 1776 is great. Very humorous, but also remembers to take the issues surrounding the musical very serious. The film is a look at the 2nd Continental Congress and the events leading up to the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence. Starring "Mr. Feeny" (William Daniels) as obstinate John Adams, Howard Da Silva as amiable Ben Franklin, and Ken Howard as newlywed Thomas Jefferson.
 

otterpop

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"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" would be my choice of a patriotic movie to watch. Jimmy Stewart is great as the idealistic senator from a western state (appears to be Montana). Despite corruption and dirty tricks by the political machine back in his state, he survives a filibuster to prevail. Jean Arthur is wonderful (I find her voice sexy). Harry Carey does a lot with his small role as the president of the senate.
 

wahday

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How about To Kill a Mockingbird? Again, patriotic from a different angle, but examines the seedy underside of racism in America and suggests "as a nation founded on just principles, we can do better." Yes, it ends as a tragedy for the accused, but that the courtroom is the setting for arguing the case suggests a faith in our system and not a condemnation of it (the condemnation is of the evil side of humanity).
 

Maister

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Bear Up North

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Saluting The Flag

Time to step up and salute our flag, via some great patriotic films. Tomorrow afternoon this Bear will be watching Yankee Doodle Dandy. :)

Bear
 
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