Patriotism

Criterion Files

Of the 600+ films in The Criterion Collection, almost 200 are listed as from the United States. While not all of these films are explicitly thematically based  around life in the US, the American selections for the Collection do make up a mosaic of diverse perspectives on life in this country, proving that there is no sustainable solitary understanding of what it means to be an “American,” but there exists instead an array of possibilities for interpreting American identity. What the American films do have in common, though, is provide proof that excellent films have been made in the US for quite some time. So, after exhausting yourself with Independence Day Parades, firecracker-lighting, and Budweiser, settle down with a great American movie. Here are a dozen great titles from the Criterion Collection about “America” and “freedom” in the many senses of those terms.

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James Cagney plays George M. Cohan in the story of the man’s life. It spans from his childhood stardom on the Vaudeville circuit through his wild success, downfall, and comeback – featuring the music that made the man a legend. “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Over There,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and, of course, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

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OAM-Stalag17

Stalag 17 begins with an escape from the tightly controlled Luftwaffe prison camp during the last year of WWII. As the two men snake their way through a tunnel, it’s a little too easy for the Germans to find them and fill them full of bullets. The meaning is clear. There’s a rat amongst our heroes.

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Flag and Fireworks

Even though celebrating Independence Day excites us more than Christmas, we get even more excited when we watch films that remind us of the land that we love.

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