Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, America!: The American Flag on the Big Screen II

Independence Day, or The Fourth of July, is tomorrow here in the States. In case you didn't know, we're generally a patriotic bunch. One of the things we do to show our patriotism is find a spot to stick an American flag in many, many movies. Here are a few of those shots.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

The Martian

Easy Rider

The Purge: Election Year

Punisher: War Zone

Toy Story 2


Fight Club

Spider-Man 3

Malcolm X

Apollo 13

Small Soldiers

The Revenant


DOA: Dead or Alive

In the Line of Fire



Yankee Doodle Dandy

Magic Mike

Red Dawn

Team America: World Police


Rocky IV

Forrest Gump




  1. Well, that's not too surprising. After all, America has dominated filmmaking for a very long time. In fact, America's control over the film industry arguably goes back to the very beginning of film itself. It was after all Thomas Edison who marketed the kinetescope, filed lawsuits against anyone who tried to improve filmmaking technology, and then teamed up with other filmmakers to form "The Trust." In those days, if you wanted to make a film, you were only legally allowed to do so if you purchased your equipment from the Trust, and they weren't afraid to file lawsuits against people they hated.

    Then of course fast forward a few years later. The French Film industry would have been dominant before World War I. After, however, they were bankrupted by the war, leaving room for America to step in. Then of course in the 1920's we see the beginnings of the Studio System, in which the major studios had a Monopoly that allowed them to own their own theaters. At the time, many of them also used a practice known as block booking, which meant that if one of their theaters wanted to buy a popular film with huge stars, they'd also be forced to purchase and screen a bunch of lower-quality films.

    Of course, the Studio Era came to an end in the 1960's. That hasn't stopped American film from being extremely influential on every other country in the world. In fact, a lot of major aesthetic movements, such as the French Advant Garde, German Expressionism, Soviet Montage, Italian Neo-Realism, and to a lesser extent the French New Wave, were all made (at least partially) in response to the influence of American films.

    1. All true!!! Love educational comments. Thanks, John!

  2. Nice! :-) I haven't seen Idiocracy. Do you recommend it?

    1. If you're OK with movies with a lot of vulgarity, go for it.

      (I had fun watching an edited version of it on, I think, Comedy Central, with all the bad language edited out. It's an interesting experience.)

    2. Haven't seen that one, myself. Came across the pic while doing research for this post. I do want to see it, though.

  3. I'm one of those weirdos who, when he watches old cavalry westerns, tries to count the number of stars on the flag to see if it's historically accurate.

    1. I think most movie buffs have something that they're anal about. I'll do that with the US Army uniform since I was once a soldier. I'm sure there are other things I just can't think of right now.

  4. Haven't seen all of these but a nice collection. Love how you've found shots with a multitude of different positionings of the flag. I was a bit surprised not to see at least one shot from a 50's military western...there was always a shot of the flag flying over the fort somewhere in every single one of them!!! Be that as it may a super group.

    A few random thoughts:

    The only thing missing from that photo from Yankee Doodle Dandy is a flag hanging from the front of the stage. Talk about awash in patriotism!

    Geez Easy Rider is a terrible movie.

    Armageddon is likewise a crappy film but that's a very flattering picture of Bruce Willis.

    My favorite is that still from Lincoln, what a beautifully composed shot.

    1. Haven't seen all of these, myself. A few of them I came across while doing research for this post. Yankee Doodle Dandy and Easy Rider are two of those. I should have seen both by now, especially Easy Rider since I've been intending to for 20 years. Need to go ahead and do it.

      Armageddon is horrible, but that's a great pic of Willis.

      That Lincoln shot is gorgeous.

    2. FYI I noticed Yankee Doodle Dandy is showing on TCM tonight at 10:45PM in case you wanted to fill that particular viewing gap.

      It was Cagney's favorite of his films and I can see why since he was a hoofer at heart. That's what he started out doing before he sort of fell into acting between dancing gigs. I think it always showed in his fleetness of foot and agile grace on screen.

      As for me, YDD has never been one that I've held any particular affection for preferring White Heat, The Roaring Twenties, Torrid Zone, The Strawberry Blonde, Love Me or Leave Me and several other of his films to it. It isn't a bad film but lays on the corn thick and fast, it's an essential if you're a Cagney fan though.

      As for Easy Rider I'll just let my previous comment stand.

    3. Unfortunately, I don't do cable, so no TCM for me. I will see it, though. I do love White Heat, The Roaring Twenties, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Public Enemy.