There’s no denying that Americans love movies. Today’s multibillion-dollar entertainment industry was created from scratch almost entirely by entrepreneurial Americans with a passion for storytelling. Unfortunately, Hollywood, just like most major corporations, has gradually embraced the woke, anti-American ideologies of our culture, resulting in an increase of content that normalizes godless values that many of us can’t get behind. For those looking for a return to good old-fashioned storytelling (minus the political indoctrination), here’s a list of five movies that we can all appreciate.

5. Little Women (2019)

One of several cinematic adaptations of American author Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women (2019) stands out for its exceptional characterization of an everyday family during the American Civil War. Exploring topics such as traditional values, friendship, marriage and death through the eyes of four sisters, this film’s real strength is in the realism and emotion with which it portrays its lead protagonists. Deeply impactful and surprisingly memorable, Little Women is not to be missed.

4. Ben-Hur (1959)

Derived from the hugely popular novel by Union Army officer Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur is an unmissable staple in American cinema. Although modern audiences will have to overlook some of its more outdated aspects (primarily the three hour and forty-four minute runtime), this biblical epic is just as thrilling as when it premiered in 1959. The film’s iconic chariot race scene and Charlton Heston’s excellent performance as the title character helped Ben-Hur win an unprecedented eleven Academy Awards and should be more than enough to thoroughly entertain present-day viewers.

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3. It’s a Wonderful Life

Selected by the American Film Institute as the most inspiring film of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life is undoubtedly one of America’s favorite films. Cherished by millions, this heartwarming story of George Bailey (portrayed by the legendary Jimmy Stewart) and his opportunity to see what the world would look like if he hadn’t been born is remembered for the simple truth that, “No man is a failure who has friends.” While deftly communicating this message, acclaimed director Frank Capra also celebrates many traditional, American principles, including love of God and family. Considering the enduring nature of the ideas at the heart of It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s no surprise that time has only expanded its popularity. Until you’ve watched it at least once, you’re simply missing out.

2. The Fellowship of the Ring

The first installment of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the story of Frodo Baggins’ epic quest to destroy the Dark Lord’s Ring of power forever changed American cinema. What sets The Fellowship and the rest of the trilogy apart from other films in the same genre is its emphasis, not on stereotypical heroes who possess supernatural abilities, but on ordinary, everyday people who “keep the darkness at bay,” by their “small acts of kindness and love.” These kinds of heroes are far more relatable to us, and thereby have obtained the adoration of film critics, casual viewers, and, of course, the trilogy’s massive fanbase. Beyond the wizards and the armies and the battles, it’s the story of resilient hope and courage, even in the face of great darkness, that keeps us coming back to these movies.

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1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

One of the most loved and critically praised films in cinema history, this timeless classic is a must-watch for any American. The unforgettable tale of Jeff Smith (Jimmy Stewart), the endearingly naïve and idealistic senator who is unfairly pitted against the might of a corrupt political body, is a quintessential underdog story that has rightfully earned its place as one of the greatest American films. Despite initial accusations of anti-Americanism due to the movie’s less-than-flattering portrayal of the U.S. Senate, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington actually celebrates the United States in a way that is refreshingly patriotic and heartwarming. For anyone hoping to enjoy the rare Hollywood masterpiece that promotes – rather than tears down – American values, this is the perfect option. 

Jakob Fay works at the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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