World Trade Center (2006)

Even though it’s easy to look to military films for patriotic senses of duty, it’s even more incredible to see civilians and those serving as firefighters and police officers answer the call when they’re needed. There’s no doubt of the effect that 9/11 had on the entire country, and here’s a film that celebrates the heroism of those who made a difference in a crucial moment of devastation. -CA

United 93 (2006)

September 11th, 2001, was a day of great tragedy, but it was also a day of true heroism. Director Paul Greengrass’ film celebrates the actions of both the passengers and the crew on-board flight 93, and it does so without an ounce of sensationalism. -RH

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The “American dream” is an ideal that emboldens our citizens and draws foreigners to our shores every waking day, and it’s been happening since our inception. This true story looks at the perseverance and determination of one man who struggles and succeeds to make a better life for himself and his son. -RH

Charlie Wilson’s War (2006)

I was just thinking the other day, and what I thought was that our democracy republic is the worst form of government except for all the others. (Go ahead, you can quote me.) Mike Nichols’ film highlights the true story of a US Congressman who worked by any means necessary to stop the Soviet war machine and help end the Cold War. It’s a lively and cheer-worthy portrait of our government in action that not even our subsequent inaction regarding Afghanistan can diminish. -RH

Shooter (2007)

This action flick about an ex-soldier living a life of solitude and manliness in the mountains sees him drawn into a conspiracy by corrupt government agents. Sounds anti-American I know, but his 2nd Amendment right to bear arms allows him to fight back and preserve the integrity of the American way against corruption. -RH

The Kingdom (2007)

Peter Berg’s look at a terrorist attack against Americans on Saudi Arabian soil is a brilliant and tense action film, but it also highlights America’s determination and honor in its quest for justice against those that wrong us. FBI agents work hand in hand with their Saudi counterparts to find those responsible, and together they find the strength to succeed. -RH

Iron Man (2008)

Sure the bad guy at the end of this comic book adventure is an old, white capitalist, but few summer blockbusters celebrate that very same capitalist attitude as enthusiastically as this one. Tony Stark is a man who’s made wealthy by the American military complex, and the film is not shy about showing that as a positive when he uses his know-how and abilities to fight terrorist enemies in the Middle East. (In the sequel he gives the thumbs up to personal liberty by giving the middle finger to government regulation.) -RH

Hancock (2008)

Peter Berg’s offbeat superhero film has issues in its third act, but there’s no denying it has something to say about America. Bear with me here… it’s metaphor time. Hancock is a powerful force who often finds himself the only protection between innocent civilians and those who would do them harm. Sure he’s clumsy and leaves a wake of destruction wherever he goes, but he’s also pure of heart and honorably intentioned. He may not always do good, but at least he’s always trying to. -RH

The Hurt Locker (2009)

Even if his actions are un-realistic (bomb expert and long-range sharp shooter?) and strict protocol isn’t enforced at all, Sergeant First Class William James is a force that risks his life (alongside his EOD team) every single day. He’s essentially Captain America without the shield and with a more useful super power. It’s the only boots on the ground Iraq War film, it shows the US military kicking ass, taking names, helping the Iraqi citizenry, and it does it with depth. -CA

The Messenger (2009)

There are few films in the current era as frustrating or heartbreaking as this one, a movie that shows the impossible job of notifying family members when a loved one has been killed in combat. It makes a commentary on the true cost of war and does so by displaying earnest portrayals of emotional loss. It shows two specific members of the service doing a difficult duty, but it also speaks highly of the sacrifice members of the military make in the service of their country. -CA

What do you think? What movies get you bleeding red, white, and blue?


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