A Salute to Old Glory in the Movies
Flag Day, the time to pay respect to the red, white and blue, or what is commonly referred to as Old Glory. Throughout the 100-plus years of cinema, the American flag has been displayed prominently in all genres of film. Here are just a handful of examples.
One of the greatest Generals to ever don a uniform, George S. Patton bled the colors of Old Glory. George C. Scott won a deserved Best Actor Oscar for his amazing portrayal.
Easy Rider (1969)
If your nickname is “Captain America” you better wear the colors proudly. Peter Fonda’s hippie biker did just that in Dennis Hopper’s counterculture masterpiece about the pursuit of freedom along the open road.
When a gang of uncouth American deep-sea drillers are humanity’s only hope to survive a asteroid impact with Earth, Michael Bay is contractually obligated to shoot them walking in formation in front of the stars and stripes.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
The visage of a disillusioned John J. Dunbar (Kevin Costner) carrying a tattered Union Flag into the disappearing frontier is one of many lasting images from a gorgeous, albeit overrated film.
Bye, bye Tricky Dick. We hardly knew ya.
Blow Out (1981)
It doesn’t end well for Philly prostitute Sally Bedina in director Brian De Palma’s taut serial killer/government conspiracy thriller. However, the stars and stripes never looked better.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the exquisite cinematography in the above shot. If you haven’t seen Avalon, do so ASAP. It’s a well-written story worth telling.
Superman II (1980)
“I’m here to fight for truth, justice, and the American way.” Screw foreigners — Superman is all about Old Glory and everything it represents.
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Tom Cruise gives his most dedicated performance playing paralyzed Vietnam vet/anti-war activist Ron Kovic. The film serves as a reminder that the price of freedom often comes at a physical, mental and ideological cost.
Simply put: one of the greatest war movies ever made. If you’re not shedding a tear during this one, you’re barely human. Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman? Awesome.
Forrest Gump (1994)
That nitwit Forrest Gump sure did live an interesting life. Here he bumps shoulders with legendary political activist Abbie Hoffman and his natty red, white and blue shirt.
In what must have been a logistical clusterfuck, Robert Altman juggles multiple storylines among a group of Nashville musicians and residents attending a concert rally leading up to the state’s presidential primary. It’s an impressive exercise in original filmmaking.
The Patriot (2000)
Don’t kill Benjamin Martin’s son and burn down his house because he’ll hunt you down and slit your throat. Especially if you’re a limey prick battling the colonies during the Revolutionary War.
American History X (1998)
Agree or disagree, freedom also includes the right to hate.
The Right Stuff (1983)
The space program and Old Glory go together like picnics and lemonade.
Flags of our Fathers (2006)
An image that defines everything America stands for. Happy Flag Day!