Hollywood may be known for its leftist bent, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some great conservative-leaning movies made over the years.
Great films bucked the typical Tinseltown storytelling trends — and instead celebrated the power of the individual, a love of freedom, a distrust of authoritarianism, and a patriotism for the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Check out these 10 great films — then tell us if we’ve left anything off this list that you feel deserves to be here. (Use the email at the bottom of this piece!)
“Braveheart,” 1995 — This is “a story about love and about life everlasting,” screenwriter Randall Wallace told LifeZette. So influential is the Mel Gibson-directed “Braveheart” that Wallace wrote a book entitled, “Living the Braveheart Life,” which examined the power of the film and the direct impact he’s seen it have on viewers over the years.
Following the life of William Wallace (Gibson), “Braveheart” is the story of Scotland’s fight for independence from England. If ever there was a movie to capture the heart and power of freedom, this is it. Wallace and friends often pontificate in the film about a man’s right to his own land and life. They are men who believe their right to freedom is God-given — and they are willing to fight to the death for it.
“Fight and you may die; run, and you’ll live … at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance — just one chance — to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” screams Wallace as he readies his troops for battle in one of the film’s best scenes.
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Even the most socialist of liberals would be hard-pressed not to feel moved in the closing chapter of the movie, as Wallace refuses to betray his beliefs and give into the crown. His cry of “Freedom!” is truly one of cinema’s most unforgettable, and conservative, moments.
“Gran Torino,” 2008 — Clint Eastwood focused his camera on an unusual hero for this 2008 hit. Most limousine liberals of Hollywood would have scoffed at the politically incorrect nature of “Torino” and its simple messages of family, friendship, and hard work.
But Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) is a man who says what’s on his mind, even when it’s unfavorable or politically incorrect. He’s a quick wit and weathered man with little care for what society deems appropriate. Despite his outer exterior, he’s also a man who pays respect to those who deserve it. He also gives a young boy in his neighborhood who is being tempted by gangs the chance to learn a thing or two about hard work and living an honest life.
“Torino” presented the perfect conservative hero. Kowalski is a character that exists all over America, but one coastal liberals would never know. He’s the war veteran who knows how to crack a joke and a beer, who fixes everything around his house without help, who may even fix his neighbor’s things, and who works harder than any others. He’s a man of practical knowledge and practical wisdom. He’s not afraid to use violence when necessary and never afraid to speak his mind.
“Torino” was a movie that celebrated the values of many average Americans: hard work, perseverance, individuality, freedom of expression, justice. It also presented gang violence in a way few Hollywood projects do: Instead of celebrating the lost young men tormenting a neighborhood, “Torino” showed through its writing the characters who should be celebrated — those who do right in the face of wrong, those who work hard and earn what they have, and those who still hold onto values that are crumbling among many of our neighbors.
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” 1939 — This film is as relevant today as it was when first released. James Stewart plays a regular “Joe” appointed to a vacancy in the Senate.
He faces unexpected corruption, but never backs down in the face of a political machine that has left the average American behind. The film is a testament to the power an individual can have in the American political system if that person just stands up and fight.
This movie should be required viewing for all of today’s American voters.
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“Red Dawn,” 1984 — From conservative writer/director John Milius, “Red Dawn” is an ’80s classic about the hypothetical invasion of the United States by Russian forces. A band of kids from the Midwest are the only rebellion around to fight as the structures of modern society crumble — and they dub themselves the Wolverines.
“Red Dawn” is a movie with a hard lesson most studios wouldn’t dare insert in a blockbuster today: Freedom isn’t always free, but it’s worth defending.
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“Die Hard,” 1988 — The film that made Bruce Willis a movie star is not just one of best action movies ever created, but also a wonderful testament to the individual. When New York City detective John McClane visits his estranged wife in L.A. and a group of terrorists take their building hostage, he becomes the story’s reluctant hero.
He doesn’t fight for glory or fame. He does it because there’s no one else around to do it. He does it for family and because the bureaucrats outside prove their worthlessness in record time. “Die Hard” is as American as apple pie, and it’s an entertaining, politically incorrect film that pays tribute to the everyman who succeeds in the face of criminals and bumbling government agents.
“American Sniper,” 2014 — This film should be required viewing for suit-wearing politicians in charge of our military. Centered around the life of late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, “Sniper” is a thoughtful salute to military veterans and their service. It’s a film that celebrates the soldier without ever celebrating war. It reminds us of the virtue of the men and women who wear the uniform — something that is often forgotten as bureaucrats work daily to politicize everything about the military.
“United 93,” 2006 — This movie is a reminder of the power of the human spirit. It’s an incredibly hard-to-watch film about a tragic event that somehow manages to send a message of positivity. When Flight 93 is hijacked on 9/11 by Islamic terrorists, civilians take it upon themselves to fight back. They saved an untold amount of lives.
The true story showed radical Islamic terrorism for what it is — and presented the idea that the every man and woman could fight back and defend their lives, family, country. It’s a powerful film that deserves to be watched, especially to keep the memory of these heroic souls alive.
“13 Hours,” 2016 — This is a silent indictment of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s actions connected to the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks. It was also, however, a great and authentic film that highlighted the capabilities and goodness of the men and women abroad who have worn or do wear the American military uniform.
As D.C. drops the ball and leaves them in a near-impossible situation, the real-life heroes of Benghazi fight to save civilians and fight another day when an American compound comes under attack.
The filmmaking is not downright thrilling. But this is an important film to see for anyone who thinks military men and women deserve more credit than D.C. bureaucrats.
“Patriots Day,” 2016 – This was a bit of a daring venture. Amid movements such as Black Lives Matter, star Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg chose to make a film that saluted police officers — rather than condemn them.
Focusing on the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, “Patriots Day” didn’t just show radical Islamic terrorism for what it is — evil — but it also worked as a refreshing highlight of first responders and their unmatched work in the face of homebound crises. It was a pro-police movie that came out when it wasn’t in fashion to say anything pro-police.
“Dirty Harry,” 1971 — As films of the ’60s and ’70s celebrated and examined the perpetrators of crime, “Dirty Harry” represented a harsh response. Harry Callahan (played by Clint Eastwood, of course) was a detective with a black-and-white view of right and wrong that didn’t fit in with many liberal movements in filmmaking at the time.
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It would be nearly impossible to get a “Dirty Harry” financed today. Harry Callahan had no sympathy for those who hurt innocent people, he spat in the face of bureaucrats and those who slow down justice, and he celebrated and treasured the thing that helped him do his job — his .44 Magnum.
Write to us at [email protected] with your own picks.