Essay:20 Greatest Conservative Movies of the Last 20 Years

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I know there is already a similar list on conservapedia. I wanted to make a list that's more update, organized and detailed. Sure, we all know of old westerns and Reagan movies that have conservative themes, but what about movies made in the last few years, a lot of which appeal to my younger generation.

I've put them in alphabetical order.

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1. Air Force One (1997): Harrison Ford plays a neoconservative United States President, evident during his speech upon the capture of Kazakhstan dictator Ivan Radek; "we issued economic sections and hid behind the rhetoric of diplomacy. How dare we. Real peace is not just the absence of conflict it's the presence of justice. And tonight I come too you with a pledge to change America's policy. Never again will I allow our political self-interest to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right. Atrocity and terror are not political weapons. And to those who would use them, your day is over. We will no longer negotiate, we will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It's your turn to be afraid."

On his flight home, a group of communist terrorists hijack Air Force One. They contact the White House staff in Washington, and pledge to execute one hostage every half-hour, including the first family, unless Radek is released from prison. After all negotiations fail, it's up to Harrison Ford to personally take back the flight.

2. An American Carol (2008): It's no masterpiece and would have a hard time making any top 20 list, but must be included here since David Zucker's entire slapstick comedy film is a satire of liberalism. Based on the framework of A Christmas Carol, liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Molone (who has a striking resemblance to Michael Moore) is leading a demonstration to abolish the 4th of July. However, he is visited by the spirits of John F. Kennedy, George S. Patton, and George Washington to convince him to change his views about America. Many Hollywood conservatives come out of the shadows by making appearances in this film, including Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, James Woods, and Jon Voight.

3. Apollo 13 (1995): Arguably Ron Howard's greatest film, Apollo 13 is based on a true story that emphasizes conservative messages of patriotism, family values, leadership, and strength during a time of crisis. Astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Frad Haise (Bill Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) are on their flight for NASA's third lunar landing mission. However, an oxygen tank explodes and threatens the crews lives, and they must find a way to get down to Earth.

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4. Bella (2006): Set in New York City, Bella tells the story of José (Eduardo Verástegui) whose chances of becoming a professional soccer player end after he kills a young girl in an automobile accident. He now works as a chef at his brother's Mexican restaurant. His co-worker Nina (Tammy Blanchard) is impregnated and considers getting an abortion. José decides to marry Nina and convinces her to keep the child. Undoubtedly, José car crash convinced him to take a pro-life position.

5. The Dark Knight (2008): A huge box office success, Batman (Christian Bale)'s tactics against the domestic terrorist, Joker (Heath Ledger) is strikingly similar to the Bush Administration’s (or at least what liberals perceived as the Bush Administration's) policy on the war on terrorism. Batman has electric surveillance across New York City and uses torture to stop the Joker from killing public officials and blowing up hospitals. Sends a message to never give in to terrorists.

6. Dawn of the Dead (2004): I've never seen a movie that make's a stronger case against gun control. They even practice their shooting by killing a zombie Rosie O'Donnell.

7. Equilibrium (2002): A science fiction film set after Word War Three, the global government has forced it's citizens to take a drug, Prozia II, which levels out human emotion and ends creative expression, in order to prevent war, violence, or conflict. When high-ranking law enforcement official John Preston (Christian Bale) accidentally doesn’t take his Prozia, he begins the question his own leaders and works to take down their authoritarian regime.

8. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005): Part courtroom drama, part psychological thriller. Based on a true story, Emily Rose began displaying bizarre behavior, speaking in tongues and destroying religious symbols, her devout catholic family sends Father Richard Moore to drive what they believe to be demons out of her body through exorcism. After her death, Father Moore is put on trail for negligent homicide, where attorney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) must defend him. As the trail goes on, she begins to experience strange occurances that could be the work of demons.

The prosecution argues that Emily needed medical treatment and nothing more. The movie goes into a debate over religion vs. science, and in the end, Father Moore receives no jail time, and religion is proven the answer.

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9. Forrest Gump (1994): Although Tom Hank's character may not have a high I.Q., he always does what is morally right. Forrest chooses to follow a traditional, conservative lifestyle. He joins the military, saves his platoon in Vietnam, attends church, and launches a shrimping operation that makes him a millionaire. While his Alabama high school sweetheart Jenny (Robin Wright Penn) chooses a different path. She joins the anti-war movement and participates in illegal drugs, and becomes suicidal until she joins Forrest's life. It's a movie that shows where simple moral integrity can get you in life.

10. Gran Torino (2008): Although he remains an active filmmaker, Clint Eastwood directs and produces what will likely be his final face time on the big screen. Aside from another Dirty Harry sequel, I couldn't think of a better way to end his acting career. Gun-toting, Korean war veteran Walt Kowalski is upset that his neighborhood has lost its traditional American values and turned multicultural, overflowed with gangs and violence. He takes down a violent gang terrorizing the community, turns a boy into a man, and strengthens his Christian faith. An excellent guy-cry movie.

11. Knocked Up (2007): Filled with profanity and toilet humor, it may seem strange that "Knocked Up" snuck on this list. Joe Carter, director of Web communications at the conservative Family Research Council described it as "a family movie I can't recommend for family."[1] Unemployed, immature and childish 23-year old Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) has a one night stand with serious career woman Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), with the unintended consequence of pregnancy. Alison's mother (Joanna Kerns) says she should get the pregnancy "taken care of", while Ben's best friend Jonah (Jonah Hill) suggests that "I won't say the A-word, but it rhymes with shmashmortion." Alison decides to keep the child, while Ben decides to find a real job, grow up, and become a father.

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12. Other People's Money (1991): Nearly all-Hollywood movies portray Wall Street as cold, evil, villainous, and unsympathetic. However, "Other People's Money" shows both sides of the spectrum. Part romantic comedy, part economics textbook brought to screen, corporate raider Lawrence Garfield (Danny DeVito), A.K.A. Larry the Liquidator, has his eyes on a corporate takeover of the dieing New England Wire & Cable Company. The company's President Andrew Jorgenson (Gregory Peck), is determined to keep his business, and sends his daughter, attorney Kate Sullivan (Penelope Ann Miller) to save the company. Kate and Larry fall in love, while they are adversaries.

The decision of the corporate buyout comes at the shareholder's meeting. Jorgenson gives a typical class warfare speech, attacking Wall Street and the rich. Garfield responds

"You know, at one time there must have been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best godd-mn buggy whip you ever saw. Now, how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business, and this business is dead. Let's have the intelligence, let's have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance and invest in something with a future." [2]

A timeless movie based on the Broadway play, the screenplay could have easily been written in 1925 or 2010. Never the less, we could use Larry the Liquidator's advice today.

13. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006): In the Declaration of Independence, life and liberty are granted, while happiness is something you have to pursue. The Pursuit of Happyness tells the true story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith), a smart but struggling salesman. After his wife leaves him and financial troubles, he decides to take an unpaid internship at Dean Witter, hoping to work his way up to becoming a stockbroker after a six-month training program. Despite facing homelessness, harassment from the IRS, and having to take care of his son, he never asks for help from the government, and is determined to make it to the top.

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14. Shattered Glass (2003): Based on the true story of Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen), a reporter in the late 90's for the liberal magazine The New Republic, lies and distorts news stories to make them entertaining. He begins by submitting an article about the Conservative Political Action Conference, in which he fabricated stories of drinking and sexual mischief. Then, after he writes a colorful but suspicious story on a superstar web hacker, a group from a small online news site begin to question his journalistic integrity.

15. Signs (2002): M. Night Shyamalan's last good film, Signs tells the story of Graham Hess (Mel Gibson), a former Episcopal priest who lost his faith after the death of his wife Colleen in a car accident. He now lives with his two children and brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), a former baseball player, who's Colleen's dieing words were to "swing away." Graham doesn’t believe it means anything, and takes the secular view, "the nerve endings in her brain were firing as she died, and some random memory of us at one of your baseball games popped into her head. There is no one watching out for us Merrill. We're all on our own."

A mysterious 500-foot crop circle appears on their Pennsylvania farm. While they first speculate that it's just a prank, soon crop circles and UFO's are appearing all over the world. As extraterrestrials invade their house, Merrill uses his trophy baseball bat to fight the alien, and just by chance knocks water on it, which kills them. Graham realizes that "swing away" meant something, and the movie ends with him preparing for church, wearing his clerical garb, with his Christian faith restored.

16. A Simple Plan (1998): This movie is quite depressing, but still keeps you on the edge of your seat. In rural Minnesota, Hank (Bill Paxton), his not-so-bright brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton), and Lou (Brent Briscoe) find $4,400,000 in a bag in the woods next to a crashed plane. Hank, a happy middle class accountant with a pregnant wife, wants to turn the money to the authorities, while Jacob and Lou want to steal it. "It’s the American dream," Lou says to Paxton. Paxton replies, "You don’t find the American dream, you work for it." Their plan turns out to be anything but simple, and shows that it's better to just do the right thing.

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17. Thank You for Smoking (2006): Adapted from the novel by Christopher Buckley, the conservative/libertarian themed, totally politically incorrect comedy Thank You for Smoking is about Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, who must appear on television talk shows defending cigarettes. Meanwhile, liberal Vermont Senator Ortolan Finisterre (William H. Macy), portrayed as a weasel, is launching legislation to have the government put a poison symbol on all cigarette packages in the United States. Naylor responds during Finisterre's subcommittee hearing, "It's called education, it doesn’t come off the side of a cigarette cart, it comes from our teachers, and more importantly our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of the dangers of the world, including cigarettes, so one day when they get older they can choose for themselves." It's assumed that the bill goes down in defeat, but what's Senator Finisterre's next move? Digitally remove cigarettes from classic films.

18. True Lies (1994): Hollywood movies always downplay Muslim terrorism, while vilify Christians, southerners and capitalists. However, in True Lies Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, a secret agent pretending to be a computer salesman for his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter. When a group of Palestinian terrorists maintain nuclear warheads, Helen accidentally gets involved. She asks "Have you ever killed anyone?" Arnold responds, "Yeah, but they were all bad."

19. United 93 (2006): If this movie had been fiction, it would still be considered conservative. Released on the five-year anniversary on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, United 93 tells the events that took place onboard the fourth hijacked plane. The passengers realized they had no other option but to take back the flight, launching America's first counter-terrorist attack.

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20. We Were Soldiers (2002): In 1965, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), is training his troops to be sent to war. After shipping off, outnumbered on foreign soil, they experience three days of terror and violence. Colonel Moore is given the opportunity to leave, but never abandons his men. On the final day Captain Ed W. "Too Tall" Freeman (Greg Kinnear) kills the Vietnamese division and American troops break through enemy lines. While most war movies show soldiers as all the same, this film does an excellent job at identifying each member of the armed services as an individual. A well-made tribute that shows the heroism missed in most Vietnam era movies.

-Chippeterson

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