50 Best Conservative Movies (National Review) (2008)

by BabyJoe666 | created - 11 Dec 2010 | updated - 11 Dec 2010 | Public
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1. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 372,621 | Gross: $11.29M

“I think that this is the best movie I ever saw,” said William F. Buckley Jr. upon leaving the theater (according to his column on the film). The tale, set in East Germany in 1984, is one part romantic drama, one part political thriller. It chronicles life under a totalitarian regime as the Stasi secretly monitors the activities of a playwright who is suspected of harboring doubts about Communism. Critics showered the movie with praise and it won an Oscar for best foreign-language film (it’s in German). More Buckley: “The tension mounts to heart-stopping pitch and I felt the impulse to rush out into the street and drag passersby in to watch the story unfold.”

— John J. Miller

2. The Incredibles (2004)

PG | 115 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

90 Metascore

A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.

Director: Brad Bird | Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee

Votes: 681,022 | Gross: $261.44M

This animated film skips pop-culture references and gross jokes in favor of a story that celebrates marriage, courage, responsibility, and high achievement. A family of superheroes — Mr. Incredible, his wife Elastigirl, and their children — are living an anonymous life in the suburbs, thanks to a society that doesn’t appreciate their unique talents. Then it comes to need them. In one scene, son Dash, a super-speedy runner, wants to try out for track. Mom claims it wouldn’t be fair. “Dad says our powers make us special!” Dash objects. “Everyone is special,” Mom demurs, to which Dash mutters, “Which means nobody is.”

— Frederica Mathewes-Greene writes for Beliefnet.com.

3. Metropolitan (1990)

PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

A group of young upper-class Manhattanites are blithely passing through the gala debutante season, when an unusual outsider joins them and stirs them up.

Director: Whit Stillman | Stars: Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman, Taylor Nichols

Votes: 10,605 | Gross: $2.94M

Whit Stillman’s Oscar-nominated debut takes a red-headed outsider into the luxurious drawing rooms and debutante balls of New York’s Upper East Side elite. One character, a committed socialist, falls for the discreet charm of the urban haute bourgeoisie. Another plaintively theorizes the inevitable doom of his class. A reader of Jane Austen wonders what’s wrong with a novel’s having a virtuous heroine. And a roguish defender of standards and detachable collars delivers more sophisticated conservative one-liners than a year’s worth of Yale Party of the Right debates. With mocking affection, gentle irony, and a blizzard of witty dialogue, Stillman manages the impossible: He brings us to see what is admirable and necessary in the customs and conventions of America’s upper class.

— Mark Henrie is the editor of Doomed Bourgeois in Love: Essays on the Films of Whit Stillman.

4. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and other historical events unfold from the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,904,331 | Gross: $330.25M

It won an Oscar for best picture — beating Pulp Fiction, a movie that’s far more expressive of Hollywood’s worldview. Tom Hanks plays the title character, an amiable dunce who is far too smart to embrace the lethal values of the 1960s. The love of his life, wonderfully played by Robin Wright Penn, chooses a different path; she becomes a drug-addled hippie, with disastrous results. Forrest’s IQ may be room temperature, but he serves as an unexpected font of wisdom. Put ’em on a Whitman’s Sampler, but Mama Gump’s famous words about life’s being like a box of chocolates ring true.

— Charlotte Hays is co-author of Somebody Is Going to Die If Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch That Bouquet.

5. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Drama

52 Metascore

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 756,931 | Gross: $210.61M

During the Bush years, Hollywood neglected the heroism of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — but it did release this action film about martial honor, unflinching courage, and the oft-ignored truth that freedom isn’t free. Beneath a layer of egregious non-history — including goblin-like creatures that belong in a fantasy epic — is a stylized story about the ancient battle of Thermopylae and the Spartan defense of the West’s fledgling institutions. It contrasts a small band of Spartans, motivated by their convictions and a commitment to the law, with a Persian horde that is driven forward by whips. In the words recorded by the real-life Herodotus: “Law is their master, which they fear more than your men[, Xerxes,] fear you.”

— Michael Poliakoff, a classicist, is vice president for academic affairs at the University of Colorado.

6. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

72 Metascore

A Pittsburgh weatherman finds himself inexplicably trapped in a small town as he lives the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 595,582 | Gross: $70.91M

This putatively wacky comedy about Bill Murray as an obnoxious weatherman cursed to relive the same day over and over in a small Pennsylvania town, perhaps for eternity, is in fact a sophisticated commentary on the good and true. Theologians and philosophers across the ideological spectrum have embraced it. For the conservative, the moral of the tale is that redemption and meaning are derived not from indulging your “authentic” instincts and drives, but from striving to live up to external and timeless ideals. Murray begins the film as an irony-soaked narcissist, contemptuous of beauty, art, and commitment. His journey of self-discovery leads him to understand that the fads of modernity are no substitute for the permanent things.

— Jonah Goldberg

7. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

PG-13 | 117 min | Biography, Drama

64 Metascore

A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional career.

Director: Gabriele Muccino | Stars: Will Smith, Thandiwe Newton, Jaden Smith, Brian Howe

Votes: 472,703 | Gross: $163.57M

Based on the life of self-made millionaire Chris Gardner (Will Smith), this film provides the perfect antidote to Wall Street and other Hollywood diatribes depicting the world of finance as filled with nothing but greed. After his wife leaves him, Gardner can barely pay the rent. He accepts an unpaid internship at a San Francisco brokerage, with the promise of a real job if he outperforms the other interns and passes his exams. Gardner never succumbs to self-pity, even when he and his young son take refuge in a homeless shelter. They’re black, but there’s no racial undertone or subtext. Gardner is just an incredibly hard-working, ambitious, and smart man who wants to do better for himself and his son.

— Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

8. Juno (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding the unborn child.

Director: Jason Reitman | Stars: Elliot Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Votes: 503,062 | Gross: $143.50M

The best pro-life movies reach beyond the church choirs and influence the wider public. Juno was a critical and commercial success. It didn’t set out to deliver a message on abortion, but much of its audience discovered one anyway. The story revolves around a 16-year-old who finds a home for her unplanned baby. The film has its faults, including a number of crass moments and a pregnant high-school student with an unrealistic level of self-confidence. Yet it also exposes a broken culture in which teen sex is dehumanizing, girls struggle with “choice,” and boys aimlessly try — and sometimes downright fail — to become men. The movie doesn’t glamorize much of anything but leaves audiences with an open-ended chance for redemption.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez

9. Blast from the Past (1999)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

48 Metascore

A naive man comes out into the world after spending 35 years in a nuclear fallout shelter.

Director: Hugh Wilson | Stars: Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek

Votes: 62,274 | Gross: $26.49M

Revolutionary Road is only the latest big-screen portrayal of 1950s America as boring, conformist, repressive, and soul-destroying. A decade ago, Hugh Wilson’s Blast from the Past defied the party line, seeing the values, customs, manners, and even music of the period with nostalgic longing. Brendan Fraser plays an innocent who has grown up in a fallout shelter and doesn’t know the era of Sputnik and Perry Como is over. Alicia Silverstone is a post-feminist woman who learns from him that pre-feminist women had some things going for them. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek as Fraser’s parents are comic gems.

— James Bowman is a movie critic.

10. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

71 Metascore

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 372,879 | Gross: $238.63M

This comedy might not get Russell Kirk’s endorsement as a worthy treatment of the supernatural, but you have to like a movie in which the bad guy (William Atherton at his loathsome best) is a regulation-happy buffoon from the EPA, and the solution to a public menace comes from the private sector. This last fact is the other reason to love Ghostbusters: When Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) gets kicked out of the university lab and ponders pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, a nervous Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) replies: “I don’t know about that. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!”

— Steven F. Hayward is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

PG-13 | 178 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

92 Metascore

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean

Votes: 1,730,588 | Gross: $315.54M

Author J. R. R. Tolkien was deeply conservative, so it’s no surprise that the trilogy of movies based on his masterwork is as well. Largely filmed before 9/11, they seemed perfectly pitched for the post-9/11 world. The debates over what to do about Sauron and Saruman echoed our own disputes over the Iraq War. (Think of Wormtongue as Keith Olbermann.) When Frodo sighs, “I wish none of this had happened,” Gandalf’s response speaks to us, too: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

— Andrew Leigh is a screenwriter and producer in Los Angeles.

12. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 2,418,269 | Gross: $534.86M

This film gives us a portrait of the hero as a man reviled. In his fight against the terrorist Joker, Batman has to devise new means of surveillance, push the limits of the law, and accept the hatred of the press and public. If that sounds reminiscent of a certain former president — whose stubborn integrity kept the nation safe and turned the tide of war — don’t mention it to the mainstream media. Our journalists know that good men are often despised by the mob; it just never seems to occur to them that they might be the mob themselves.

— Andrew Klavan is the author of Empire of Lies.

13. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

Scottish warrior William Wallace leads his countrymen in a rebellion to free his homeland from the tyranny of King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 988,359 | Gross: $75.60M

Forget the travesty this soaring action film makes of the historical record. Braveheart raised its hero, medieval Scottish warrior William Wallace, to the level of myth and won five Oscars, including best director for Mel Gibson, who played Wallace as he led a spirited revolt against English tyranny. Braveheart taught that freedom is not just worth dying for, but also worth killing for, in defense of hearth and homeland. Six years later, amid the ruins of the Twin Towers, Gibson’s message resonated with a generation of American youth who signed up to fight terrorists, instead of inviting them to join a “constructive dialogue.” Liberals have never forgiven Gibson since.

— Arthur Herman is the author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World.

14. A Simple Plan (1998)

R | 121 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

82 Metascore

Three blue-collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash and make a plan to keep their find from the authorities, but it isn't long before complications and mistrust weave their way into the plan.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Brent Briscoe

Votes: 66,902 | Gross: $16.31M

A defining insight of conservatism is that whatever transcendent inspiration there may be to moral principles, there is also the humble fact that morality works. Moral institutions and customs endure because they allow civilization to proceed. Sam Raimi’s gripping A Simple Plan illustrates this truth. Bill Paxton plays a decent family man who lives by the book in every way. But when he’s cajoled into breaking the rules to get rich quick, he falls under the jurisdiction of the law of unintended consequences and discovers that simple morality is not simplistic, and that a seductively simple plan is a siren song if it runs against the grain of what is right.

— Jonah Goldberg

15. Red Dawn (1984)

PG-13 | 114 min | Action, Drama

53 Metascore

It is the dawn of World War III. In the west mountains of America, a group of teenagers band together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.

Director: John Milius | Stars: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen

Votes: 53,546 | Gross: $38.38M

From the safe, familiar environment of a classroom, we watch countless parachutes drop from the sky and into the heart of America. Oh, no: invading Commies! Laugh if you want — many do — but Red Dawn has survived countless more acclaimed films because Father Time has always been our most reliable film critic. The essence of timelessness is more than beauty. It’s also truth, and the truth that America is a place and an idea worth fighting and dying for will not be denied, not under a pile of left-wing critiques or even Red Dawn’s own melodramatic flaws. Released at the midpoint of Reagan’s presidential showdown with the Soviet Union, this story of what was at stake in the Cold War endures.

— John Nolte blogs at BigHollywood.Breitbart.com.

16. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

81 Metascore

During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D'Arcy

Votes: 211,257 | Gross: $93.93M

This naval-adventure film starring Russell Crowe is based on the books of Patrick O’Brian, and here’s what A. O. Scott of the New York Times said in his review: “The Napoleonic wars that followed the French Revolution gave birth, among other things, to British conservatism, and Master and Commander, making no concessions to modern, egalitarian sensibilities, is among the most thoroughly and proudly conservative movies ever made. It imagines the [H.M.S.] Surprise as a coherent society in which stability is underwritten by custom and every man knows his duty and his place. I would not have been surprised to see Edmund Burke’s name in the credits.”

— John J. Miller

17. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

PG | 143 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

75 Metascore

Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

Director: Andrew Adamson | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes

Votes: 378,647 | Gross: $291.71M

The White Witch runs a godless, oppressive, paranoid regime that hates Santa Claus. She’s a cross between Burgermeister Meisterburger and Kim Jong Il. The good guys, meanwhile, recognize that some throats will need cutting: no appeasement, no land-for-peace swaps, no offering the witch a snowmobile if she’ll only put away the wand. Underlying the narrative is the story of Christ’s rescuing man from sin — which is antithetical to the leftist dream of perfected man’s becoming an instrument for earthly utopia. The results of such utopian visions, of course, are frequently like the Witch’s reign: always winter, and never Christmas.

— Tony Woodlief writes for World magazine and blogs at tonywoodlief.com.

18. The Edge (1997)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

An intellectual billionaire and two other men struggle to band together and survive after getting stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with a blood-thirsty Kodiak Bear hunting them down.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Elle Macpherson, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 70,821 | Gross: $27.78M

Screenwriter David Mamet uses a wilderness survival story about friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness to present a few truths rarely seen in movies: Knowledge has its limits, fortitude is a weapon against hardship, and honor can motivate even the shallowest man to great sacrifice. Some have interpreted the film as a Cold War allegory because it features a menacing bear. The main characters (played by Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin) understand that there is neither wisdom nor nobility in waiting for others to save them, and that they must take responsibility for their own lives and souls. Life is unfair, but to challenge life on its own terms is an exhilarating reward, no matter the outcome.

— Michael Long is a director of the White House Writers Group.

19. We Were Soldiers (2002)

R | 138 min | Action, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.

Director: Randall Wallace | Stars: Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliott

Votes: 135,156 | Gross: $78.12M

Most movies about the Vietnam War reflect the derangements of the antiwar Left. This film, based on the memoir by Lt. Col. Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson), offers a lifelike alternative. It focuses on a fight between an outnumbered U.S. Army battalion and three North Vietnamese regiments in the battle of Ia Drang in 1965. Significantly, it treats soldiers not as wretched losers or pathological killers, but as regular citizens. They are men willing to sacrifice everything to do their duty — to their country, to their unit, and to their fellow soldiers. As the movie makes clear, they also had families. Indeed, their last thoughts were usually about their loved ones back home.

— Mackubin Thomas Owens, a Vietnam veteran, is a professor at the Naval War College.

20. Gattaca (1997)

PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

64 Metascore

A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

Director: Andrew Niccol | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal

Votes: 289,877 | Gross: $12.34M

In this science-fiction drama, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) can’t become an astronaut because he’s genetically unenhanced. So he purchases the identity of a disabled athlete (Jude Law), with calamitous results. The movie is a cautionary tale about the progressive fantasy of a eugenically correct world — the road to which is paved by the abortion of Down babies, research into human cloning, and “transhumanist” dreams of fabricating a “post-human species.” Biotechnology is a force for good, but without adherence to the ideal of universal human equality, it opens the door to the soft tyranny of Gattaca and, ultimately, the dystopian nightmare of Brave New World.

— Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

21. Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

R | 130 min | Drama, War

53 Metascore

Hard-nosed, hard-living Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway (Clint Eastwood) clashes with his superiors and his ex-wife as he takes command of a spoiled recon platoon with a bad attitude.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Moses Gunn

Votes: 41,847 | Gross: $42.72M

Clint Eastwood’s foul-mouthed Marine sergeant Tom Highway makes quick work of kicking Communist Cubans out of Grenada. And, boy, does “Gunny” hate Commies. Not only does he kill quite a few, he also refuses a bribe of a Cuban cigar, saying: “Get that contraband stogie out of my face before I shove it so far up you’re a** you’ll have to set fire to your nose to light it.” A welcome glorification of Reagan’s decision to liberate Grenada in 1983, the film also notes how after a tie in Korea and a loss in Vietnam, America can finally celebrate a military victory. Eastwood, the old war horse, walks off into retirement pleased that he’s not “0–1–1 anymore.” Semper Fi. Oo-rah!

— James G. Lakely is managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News at the Heartland Institute.

22. Brazil (1985)

R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 194,660 | Gross: $9.93M

Vividly depicting the miserable results of elitist utopian schemes, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil portrays a darkly comic dystopia of malfunctioning high-tech equipment and the dreary living conditions common to all totalitarian regimes. Everything in the society is built to serve government plans rather than people. The film is visually arresting and inventive, with especially evocative use of shots that put the audience in a subservient position, just like the people in the film. Terrorist bombings, national-security scares, universal police surveillance, bureaucratic arrogance, a callous elite, perversion of science, and government use of torture evoke the worst aspects of the modern megastate.

— S. T. Karnick blogs at stkarnick.com.

23. United 93 (2006)

R | 111 min | Action, Drama, History

90 Metascore

A real-time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: David Alan Basche, Olivia Thirlby, Liza Colón-Zayas, J.J. Johnson

Votes: 102,840 | Gross: $31.57M

Minutes after terrorists struck on 9/11, Americans launched their first counterattack in the War on Terror. Director Paul Greengrass pays tribute to the passengers of United 93 by refusing to turn their story into a wimpy Hollywood melodrama. Instead, United 93 unfolds as a real-time docudrama. Just as significantly, Greengrass provides a clear depiction of our enemies. United 93 opens as four Muslim terrorists pray in a hotel room. Several hours later, the hijackers’ frenzied shrieks to Allah mingle with the prayerful supplications of United 93’s passengers as they crash through the cockpit door and strike a blow against those who would terrorize our country.

— Andrew Coffin is director of the Reagan Ranch and vice president of Young America’s Foundation.

24. Team America: World Police (2004)

R | 98 min | Action, Comedy

64 Metascore

Popular Broadway actor Gary Johnston is recruited by the elite counter-terrorism organization Team America: World Police. As the world begins to crumble around him, he must battle with terrorists, celebrities and falling in love.

Director: Trey Parker | Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Elle Russ, Kristen Miller

Votes: 164,185 | Gross: $32.77M

This marionette movie from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone is hard to categorize as conservative. It’s amazingly vulgar and depicts Americans as wildly overzealous in fighting terror. Yet the film’s utter disgust with air-headed, left-wing celebrity activism remains unmatched in popular culture. As the heroes move to stop a WMD apocalypse, they clash with Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and a host of others, whom they take out with gunfire, sword, and martial arts before saving the day. The movie, like South Park itself, reveals Parker and Stone as the two-headed George Grosz of American satire.

— Brian C. Anderson is editor of City Journal and author of South Park Conservatives.

25. Gran Torino (2008)

R | 116 min | Drama

72 Metascore

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, Thao Lor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley, Ahney Her

Votes: 741,667 | Gross: $148.10M

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in the ultimate family movie unsuitable for the family. He plays Walt Kowalski, a caricature of an old-school, dying-breed, Polish-American racist male, replete with post-traumatic stress disorder from having served in the Korean War. Kowalski comes to realize that his exotic Hmong neighbors embody traditional social values more than his own disaster of a Caucasian nuclear family. Dirty Harry blows away political correctness, takes on the bad guys, and turns a boy into a man in the process. He even encourages the cultural assimilation of immigrants. It feels so good, you knew the Academy would ignore it.

— Andrew Breitbart is the proprietor of BigHollywood.Breitbart.com.

26. Air Force One (1997)

R | 124 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

61 Metascore

Communist Radicals hijack Air Force One with The U.S. President and his family on board. The Vice President negotiates from Washington D.C., while the President, a Veteran, fights to rescue the hostages on board.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson

Votes: 187,577 | Gross: $172.96M

27. Amazing Grace (2006)

PG | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The idealist William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Romola Garai

Votes: 24,445 | Gross: $21.21M

28. An American Carol (2008)

PG-13 | 83 min | Comedy, Fantasy

20 Metascore

An anti-American filmmaker who's out to abolish the July Fourth holiday is visited by three ghosts who try to change his perception of the country.

Director: David Zucker | Stars: Kevin P. Farley, Kelsey Grammer, Leslie Nielsen, Trace Adkins

Votes: 9,669 | Gross: $7.00M

29. Barcelona (1994)

PG-13 | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

74 Metascore

An American working in Barcelona, having sworn off beautiful women, is forced to be host to his playboy cousin in this witty comedy of good intentions and mixed signals.

Director: Whit Stillman | Stars: Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, Tushka Bergen, Mira Sorvino

Votes: 6,029 | Gross: $7.27M

30. Bella (2006)

PG-13 | 91 min | Drama, Romance

47 Metascore

A chef with a mysterious past spends the day with a waitress who needs a friend.

Director: Alejandro Monteverde | Stars: Eduardo Verástegui, Tammy Blanchard, Manny Perez, Angélica Aragón

Votes: 10,597 | Gross: $8.11M

31. Cinderella Man (2005)

PG-13 | 144 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

The story of James J. Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko, Paul Giamatti

Votes: 181,290 | Gross: $61.65M

32. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

46 Metascore

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Campbell Scott

Votes: 123,978 | Gross: $75.07M

33. Hamburger Hill (1987)

R | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

A very realistic interpretation of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

Director: John Irvin | Stars: Anthony Barrile, Michael Boatman, Don Cheadle, Michael Dolan

Votes: 24,693 | Gross: $13.84M

34. The Hanoi Hilton (1987)

R | 125 min | Drama, War

32 Metascore

A drama focusing on the suffering, torture, and brutal treatment the American P.O.W.s had to deal with daily while in North Vietnam's Hoa Lo Prison, the most infamous P.O.W. camp in Hanoi. ... See full summary »

Director: Lionel Chetwynd | Stars: Michael Moriarty, Paul Le Mat, John Edwin Shaw, Ken Wright

Votes: 1,043 | Gross: $0.76M

35. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

PG | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

58 Metascore

In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine Captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the U.S. Is he trying to defect or to start a war?

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill

Votes: 188,149 | Gross: $122.01M

36. The Island (2005)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

50 Metascore

A man living in a futuristic sterile colony begins to question his circumscribed existence when his friend is chosen to go to the Island, the last uncontaminated place on earth.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 307,673 | Gross: $35.82M

37. Knocked Up (2007)

R | 129 min | Comedy, Romance

85 Metascore

For fun-loving party animal Ben Stone, the last thing he ever expected was for his one-night stand to show up on his doorstep eight weeks later to tell him she's pregnant with his child.

Director: Judd Apatow | Stars: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann

Votes: 358,853 | Gross: $148.73M

38. The Last Days of Disco (1998)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

76 Metascore

Story of two female Manhattan book editors fresh out of college, both finding love and themselves while frequenting the local disco.

Director: Whit Stillman | Stars: Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Chris Eigeman, Mackenzie Astin

Votes: 12,799 | Gross: $2.99M

39. The Lost City (2005)

R | 144 min | Drama, Romance

47 Metascore

A wealthy Havana club owner and his family are torn apart by the violent sociopolitical upheaval brought about by the transition from the dictatorial regime of Batista to the Marxist revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1950s Cuba.

Director: Andy Garcia | Stars: Andy Garcia, Inés Sastre, Bill Murray, Alfredo Armenteros

Votes: 9,403 | Gross: $2.48M

40. Miracle (2004)

PG | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

The true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Soviet squad.

Director: Gavin O'Connor | Stars: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Nathan West, Noah Emmerich

Votes: 51,714 | Gross: $64.38M

41. The Patriot (2000)

R | 165 min | Action, Drama, History

63 Metascore

Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs

Votes: 262,570 | Gross: $113.33M

42. Rocky Balboa (2006)

PG | 102 min | Action, Drama, Sport

63 Metascore

Thirty years after the ring of the first bell, Rocky Balboa comes out of retirement and dons his gloves for his final fight against the reigning heavyweight champ Mason 'The Line' Dixon.

Director: Sylvester Stallone | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Tarver, Milo Ventimiglia, Burt Young

Votes: 209,526 | Gross: $70.27M

43. Serenity (2005)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

The crew of the ship Serenity try to evade an assassin sent to recapture telepath River.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alan Tudyk

Votes: 289,108 | Gross: $25.51M

44. Stand and Deliver (1988)

PG | 103 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout-prone students to learn calculus.

Director: Ramón Menéndez | Stars: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan, Virginia Paris

Votes: 19,315 | Gross: $13.99M

45. Tears of the Sun (2003)

R | 121 min | Action, Drama, Thriller