Poll: Best conservative movies in the past 25 years

posted at 6:40 pm on January 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

We have a great thread running on this topic, but no real resolution on ranking best movies with conservative themes from the last 25 years. Sounds like a great application for a poll, so here it is. I took my original suggestions and added those from the comments that had at least one or two statements of support. To make it as fair as possible, I’ve arranged them in alphabetical order — so be sure to read all the way through when you cast your votes.

You can select as many or as few as you like. I’ll announce the top 10 movies, as voted on by Hot Air readers, on tomorrow’s Ed Morrissey Show, complete (I hope) with video clips. Feel free to continue the debate in both threads, and tune in tomorrow for the results!

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the empire was identified economically as the trade federation. (etc.)

eh on January 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Yeah, twenty years later we learn all that stuff (or rather you did; I would have, if I’d been able to stay awake through Ep. 1 & 2, or force myself to go to Ep. 3). But in Ep. 4, it was evil big government vs. benevolent local government, with nary a mention of the “Trade Federation”.

And if they HAD mentioned the Trade Federation (as opposed to the Empire) dissolving the senate, and ‘sweeping away’ the “last remnants of the old Republic”, we’d have assumed that the name was just an Orwellian concoction, like “People’s Republic of China” — not an organization promoting interplanetary economic freedom.

I stand by my original opinion. The original Star Wars promoted conservative principles, whether it was meant to or not.

RegularJoe on January 16, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I stand by my original opinion. The original Star Wars promoted conservative principles, whether it was meant to or not.

RegularJoe on January 16, 2009 at 4:38 PM

the artist’s intention is all there is.

eh on January 16, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Dude! Where’s Apocalypto!?!?!

abobo on January 16, 2009 at 4:49 PM

and “fight for your cause” is not a theme exclusive to conservatism.

like snake307 said, pretty much any movie any conservative liked enough to watch all the way through for any reason can make it on the list using “fight for your cause” as a benchmark. every well-formed movie script has a protagonist, a conflict and a resolution. might as well say that new che movie with benecio del torro is a conservative movie, especially given that it doesn’t matter whether the film maker meant it to be or not.

eh on January 16, 2009 at 4:53 PM

I voted for Red Dawn (natch), United 93, and The Incredibles, written and directed by the brilliant Brad Bird.

The DVD of Incredibles has an interview with Bird in which he shows storyboards of early versions of the script. In an early draft, Helen Parr — formerly superheroine Elastigirl, and married to the undercover Mr. Incredible — has a confrontation in a backyard barbecue when a snooty professional neighbor makes snide remarks about Parr’s choice to be a stay-at-home mother. That didn’t make the final cut, but the pro-nuclear family message of the film shone through, perhaps one of the last times in these cynical and P.C. times.

I was disappointed that Ratatouille — also from Bird — was not on the list. Here’s what I wrote about it back in June 2007:

[W]hat’s most remarkable about Ratatouille is the way that Brad Bird fuses entertainment and social statement in such a seamless way. Bird gets in short but sharp digs at mindless merchandising (which I believe could have been at least partially inspired by Pixar’s near-divorce from Disney) and, shockingly, the entire concept of the professional critic – a risky thing for a filmmaker to do since he is so dependent on their approval. Most impressive of all is the way Bird deals with the overall theme of what President Bush has referred to as “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” It is my opinion is that if you aren’t too young to comprehend the lessons in scenes in which Remy’s father, family and friends beg him to leave the restaurant, return to the colony, and just accept that they are all “just” rats, you will marvel that they are delivered like a parental tap on the shoulder, not an Aaron Sorkinesque punch in the nose.

Let me interject at this point that I am a black man. When I saw the scene in which Remy’s father takes him to an exterminator’s storefront window showing killed rats hanging like trophies, it reminded me of the way that race hustlers use imagery of lynched black men from centuries ago, sending the message that “this always lurks in your future.” I rejected that idea many years ago, and hope the election of Obama (which I didn’t want to happen) inspires more black people to reject such ingrained negativism.

L.N. Smithee on January 16, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Lord of the rings was uber teh ghey.

For the love of Pete!

TheSitRep on January 16, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: I wonder what was going through Custer’s mind when he realized that he’d led his men into a slaughter?
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Sir, Custer was a pussy. You ain’t.

WE WERE SOLDIERS!….Best Movie ever!

christene on January 16, 2009 at 7:50 PM

My take on a great conservative movie is that it needs to do at least one of two things, and preferably both:

1. Strongly defend and present the case for the conservative view on an important subject


2. BEAT THE LIVING SKIT out of some deeply and dearly held progressive sacred cow.

Over half the movies proffered thus far don’t do either one, really.

It’s not a ‘make a list of great movies’ thread.

It’s a ‘make a list of great CONSERVATIVE movies’ thread.

I can think of one film that – from start to finish, totally beat a deeply cherished liberal shibboleth to death and then set it on fire and buried it in a hole in the ground:


If you have to ask what liberal notions got kicked in the teeth by that film, you probably didn’t see it.

manofaiki on January 16, 2009 at 10:45 PM

What about The Three Amigos? Sorry if someone else had mentioned it, I didn’t read all the comments. Kind of ironic when you think about it, since it starred Chevy Chase, but I thought it had a conservative twist to it. Take matters into your own hands, defeat a terrorist from taking over your town, singing bush, etc.

long_cat on January 17, 2009 at 12:57 AM

My top 10 would be:

1)Saving Private Ryan

2)Black Hawk Down

3)Lord of the Rings




7)We Were Soldiers

8)We Were Soldiers

9)Die Hard

10)Cinderella Man

Cr4sh Dummy on January 17, 2009 at 3:37 AM

1. We were Soldiers / Favorite line: “Sir, wanna know what Custer was thinking? Go ask him ”

2. Blackhawk Down / Favorite line : ” wanna know why we do it ? , why we fight ?, it’s because of the man next to you, that’s all it is

Ltmousseman on January 17, 2009 at 8:08 AM

National Treasure I & II! Am I the only Conservative who’s heart swelled at such Patriotism?

Mrs. Happy Housewife on January 17, 2009 at 11:50 AM

The Matrix

Freedom (conservatism) vs. Comfortably Numb (liberalism)

It cannot be any clearer.

Sapwolf on January 17, 2009 at 11:38 PM

Another movie that should be on that list but isn’t:

Tears of the Sun.

How the hell did a movie get made that shows:

1. Muslim rebels seizing control of a country and then engaging in gleeful ethnic/religious genocide of another Christian ethnic group?

2. An American SEAL team acting like heartless, unfeeling brain dead automatons…….i.e. – exactly how liberals think the military always acts – when they leave over 4 dozen people alive at a mission and claim they are going to give helicopter rides out of the country to another 2 dozen (but it turns out they’re lying, it’s only a ploy to get the female doctor to the chopper)…..change their mind about what they are doing when they see the mission wiped out and turn around and take on the responsibility of shepherding the people they just abandoned to safety?

Liberals DUMPED all over this movie. Oh SURE American soldiers would go back for the refugees. You bet. (Eye roll)

Every time I see this movie I have to admire the brass balls Bruce Willis must have to have made it.

manofaiki on January 18, 2009 at 6:36 AM