Top American Patriotic & Historical Movies

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Top American Patriotic & Historical Movies

There are many opinions related to the Top 10 Historical & Patriotic Movies of All Time. Many TV shows, feature films, mini-series, movies and documentaries have been made about American history and American patriotism. Some are popular and yet historically inaccurate. Others are historically accurate, but unpopular.

My goal is to create a list of reasonably historically accurate movies with wide popularity and critical acclaim.

This Top 20 Patriotic & Historical Movies List was generated using IMDB.com and the following criteria:

1) Must be set in a specific historical time period.
2) History must be more than a backdrop. It must be an active participant.
3) The story or characters may be fictional, but the overall approach has educational value.
4) At least 10,000 user reviews were submitted to IMDB.com on behalf of the movie.

These Top 20 movies let you experience what life was like at that moment in time. If the movie was set during World War 2, you experience the gunfire and the conflicts between the Axis powers and the Allied powers. If it was set during the Vietnam War, you truly understand what it was like moving through the dense jungle. I have personally seen all but two of these movies.

The list includes 6 Best Actor / Best Actress Oscar winners, 10 Best Director Oscar winners, 9 Best Picture Oscar winners and a Best TV Mini-Series and Director Emmy.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #20) Inherit the Wind (1960)
User Ratings: 8.2 out of 10
Total Votes: 11,487

Based off the 1925 legal case The State of Tennessee v. Scopes, it has been nicknamed the Scopes Monkey Trial. With a cast including: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York, Harry Morgan, Claude Akins and Norman Fell, it is focused on the court room battle between the two attorneys. They argue for and against the teaching of evolution in school.

Released in 1960, it has been nominated for many awards, including: Best Actor (Oscar), Best Cinematography (Oscar), Best Film Editing (Oscar), Best Writing (Oscar) and Best Motion Picture (Golden Globe).


Historical & Patriotic Movie #19) Ben-Hur (1959)
User Ratings: 8.2 out of 10
Total Votes: 63,539

Released in 1959 and starring Charleton Heston, it is a story about a Jewish prince who is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend. He regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. The setting is that of First Century AD in the Roman Empire.

It won 11 Academy Award Oscars, including: Best Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Music and Best Picture.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #18) Gone with the Wind (1939)
User Ratings: 8.2 out of 10
Total Votes: 85,794

Released in 1939, the story takes place in the southern United States of America in the state of Georgia during the American Civil War (1861–1865) and the Reconstruction era (1865–1877) that followed the war. The book that the movie was based on was written by Margaret Mitchell for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. It is about a turbulent love affair between a manipulative woman and man who does not want to commit. It has a cast that includes: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ann Rutherford, George Reeves and Hattie McDaniel.

The movie won 8 Academy Award Oscars, including: Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #17) Platoon (1986)
User Ratings: 8.2 out of 10
Total Votes: 117,921

Released in 1986, it is about a new recruit in the Vietnam War faced with a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war. It has a cast that includes: Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Francesco Quinn, Kevin Dillon, John C. McGinley, Johnny Depp, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe.

It was nominated for 8 Academy Award Oscars and won Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Sound.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #16) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
User Ratings: 8.3 out of 10
Total Votes: 25,388

Released in 1940, it is set during the Great Depression. A Midwest family is forced off their farm and they move to California homeless and jobless. It has a cast that includes: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine.

It was nominated for 7 Academy Award Oscars, and won Best Supporting Actress and Best Director.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #15) Hotel Rwanda (2004)
User Ratings: 8.3 out of 10
Total Votes: 101,038

Released in 2004, it is a true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. It has a cast that includes: Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte.

It was nominated for 3 Academy Award Oscars, including: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Writing.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #14) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
User Ratings: 8.4 out of 10
Total Votes: 35,900

Released in 1939, it is about a naive man who is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn’t back down. The cast includes: James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Claude Rains.

It was nominated for 11 Academy Award Oscars. It won for Best Writing. 1939 was a very competitive year for the Academy Awards. Movies released in 1939 include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Beau Geste, The Cat and the Canary, Destry Rides Again, Gone with the Wind, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Gunga Din, Gulliver’s Travels, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, Stanley and Livingstone, The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #13) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
User Ratings: 8.4 out of 10
Total Votes: 63,367

It was Released in 1957. After settling his differences with a Japanese POW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men’s construction of a railway bridge for their captors – while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it. The cast includes: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins and Sessue Hayakawa.

It was nominated for 8 Academy Award Oscars and won 7, including: Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Music and Best Picture.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #12) Braveheart (1995)
User Ratings: 8.4 out of 10
Total Votes: 261,044

Released in 1995, it is about William Wallace, a commoner, who unites the 13th Century Scots in their battle to overthrow English rule. The cast includes: Mel Gibson, Sean Lawlor, James Cosmo, Brian Cox and Sophie Marceau.

Nominated for 10 Academy Award Oscars, it won 5 including: Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Picture.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #11) Gladiator (2000)
User Ratings: 8.4 out of 10
Total Votes: 306,146

Released in 2000, it is about a Roman general who is betrayed and his family murdered by a corrupt prince. He comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. It has a cast that includes: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi and Djimon Hounsou.

It was nominated for 12 Academy Award Oscars and won 5, including: Best Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Effects and Best Picture.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #10) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
User Ratings: 8.5 out of 10
Total Votes: 88,839

Released in 1962, the story is about Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, who defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. The cast includes: Gregory Peck, Frank Overton, Brock Peters, Robert Duvall and Richard Hale II.

It was nominated for 8 Academy Award Oscars and won 3: Best Actor, Best Art Direction and Best Writing.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #9) Saving Private Ryan (1998)
User Ratings: 8.5 out of 10
Total Votes: 293,163

Released in 1998, a group of US soldiers go behind enemy lines after the Normandy Landings to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. The cast includes: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Matt Damon, Ted Danson and Paul Giamatti.

It was nominated for 11 Academy Award Oscars and won 5, including: Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Effects.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #8) Paths of Glory (1957)
User Ratings: 8.6 out of 10
Total Votes: 48,974

It was released in 1957. When soldiers in World War 1 refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superiors decide to make an example of them. The cast includes: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou and George Macready.

It was nominated for the BAFTA Best Film Award.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #7) Citizen Kane (1941)
User Ratings: 8.6 out of 10
Total Votes: 147,166

Released in 1941, the story is a commentary on the life of Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. The cast includes: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead, Nat King Cole and Alan Ladd.

It was nominated for 9 Academy Award Oscars and won 1 for Best Writing.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #6) Apocalypse Now (1979)
User Ratings: 8.6 out of 10
Total Votes: 186,691

It was released in 1979. During the on-going Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Green Beret who has set himself up as a God among a local tribe. The cast includes: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper and Scott Glenn.

It was nominated for 8 Academy Award Oscars and won 2 for Best Cinematography and Best Sound.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #5) Forrest Gump (1994)
User Ratings: 8.7 out of 10
Total Votes: 334,222

It was released in 1994. Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him. The cast includes: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson and Sally Field.

It was nominated for 13 Academy Award Oscars and won 6 including: Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #4) Generation Kill (2008)
User Ratings: 8.8 out of 10
Total Votes: 11,624

Released in 2008, it is about a Rolling Stone reporter embedded with The 1st Recon Marines who chronicles his experiences during the first wave of the American-led assault on Baghdad in 2003. The cast includes: Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone and Lee Tergesen.

It was nominated for 11 Emmys and won 3 for Sound and Special Effects.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #3) Casablanca (1942)
User Ratings: 8.8 out of 10
Total Votes: 179,784

It was released in 1942. Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War 2: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. The cast includes: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Peter Lorre.

It was nominated for 8 Academy Award Oscars and won 3 for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #2) Schindler’s List (1993)
User Ratings: 8.9 out of 10
Total Votes: 302,278

It was released in 1993. In Poland during World War 2, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis. The cast includes: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes.

It was nominated for 12 Academy Award Oscars and won 7 including: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Picture.


Historical & Patriotic Movie #1) Band of Brothers (2001)
User Ratings: 9.6 out of 10
Total Votes: 80,296

Released in 2001 as a TV mini-series on HBO, this movie is the hands-down winner by a mile. With over 80,000 votes, it received a user ranking of 9.6 out of 10. It was also nominated for and won numerous awards, including: Emmy for Outstanding Directing, Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries and Golden Globe for Best TV Miniseries.

The story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day. The cast includes: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor, Donnie Wahlberg and Peter Youngblood Hills.

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