Several creators have reported on Best Movies About America. We wrote about 14 of the best ones.
From Sam Mendes, starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley
American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Wes Bentley and Chris Cooper, the film revolves around Lester Burnham, a middle-aged magazine writer who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela. The film also focuses on the growing estrangement between Lester and his wife, Carolyn, and the disintegration of their marriage. Along the way, the lives of the Burnham family and those around them are slowly unraveled to reveal the beauty and the dark secrets that lie beneath the surface. American Beauty was a critical and commercial success, earning a total of $356.3 million worldwide and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Spacey, Best Director for Mendes and Best Original Screenplay for Ball.
From Sergio Leone, starring Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams
Once Upon a Time in America is a 1984 crime epic directed by Sergio Leone. The film follows the life of Jewish gangsters in New York City from the early 1900s to the late 1960s. It follows the life of Noodles (Robert De Niro) from his adolescence to an older man as he struggles with his relationships with his friends and family. The movie follows the rise and fall of Noodles and his gang, and the chaotic events that take their toll on Noodles and his loved ones. Along the way, he battles mobsters, deals with corruption and power, falls in and out of love, and ultimately finds redemption. Throughout the movie, Noodles reflects on the choices he made in his life and seeks absolution.
From Stanley Kubrick, starring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin
Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, and R. Lee Ermey. The film is set during the Vietnam War and follows two Marines, Private Joker and Private Pyle, as they go through basic training, endure combat in the jungle, and struggle to survive the psychological toll of war. Through its exploration of the physical and psychological effects of war, Full Metal Jacket conveys a powerful message about the devastating consequences of violence and conflict.
From Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds, Martin Stringer
There Will Be Blood is a 2007 American drama film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. The film tells the story of an oil prospector and his struggle for wealth and power in early 20th century California. The film follows the life of Daniel Plainview, from his humble beginnings as a prospector to his ruthless pursuit of oil and power. Along the way, he is driven by ambition and a single-minded quest for wealth and power, as well as a hatred of any who get in his way. The film is set against the backdrop of the modernizing of the Western United States during the oil boom of the early 1900s, and is a powerful exploration of themes of power, religion, family, and greed.
From Peter Farrelly, starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco
Green Book is a 2018 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. The film stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as an Italian-American bouncer who becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South. They are guided by The Negro Motorist Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green. Along the way, the two men develop a strong bond and confront racism and bigotry. Ultimately, they discover a newfound respect for each other's talents and values. The film won three Academy Awards in 2019, including Best Picture.
From Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
12 Years a Slave is a 2013 British-American historical drama film based on the 1853 autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northup. The film tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man who is kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup is put to work on plantations in Louisiana for 12 years before successfully gaining his freedom with the help of a Canadian abolitionist. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup, along with an ensemble cast including Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, and Brad Pitt. The movie was a critical and commercial success, earning numerous accolades and earning over $187 million on a budget of $22 million. It received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and won three, including Best Supporting Actress for Nyong'o. The film was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, winning Best Motion Picture – Drama, and four BAFTA Awards, winning Best Film and Outstanding British Film.
From Edward Zwick, starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman
Glory is an American Civil War drama film directed by Edward Zwick, based on the 1989 novel Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein. The story follows the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first all-African American volunteer regiment in the United States to fight in the Civil War. Led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) and Sergeant Major John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman), they fight in several battles, including the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. Through courage, loyalty and friendship, the regiment faces the struggles of being the only black regiment in the Union Army, while striving to gain recognition and respect from their white counterparts. The film stars Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Andre Braugher, and serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
From Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American romantic comedy-drama film that deals with racial prejudice. The film stars Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Cecil Kellaway. The movie tells the story of a wealthy, progressive couple (Tracy and Hepburn), whose daughter, Joanna (Katharine Houghton), brings home her fiancé (Sidney Poitier) to meet her parents. Although the couple initially accepts the news with joy, they soon find themselves struggling to reconcile their progressive values with their views on race and social status. The couple must confront their own prejudices and insecurities as they come to terms with their daughter's choice and the social implications of their decision. In the end, the couple makes a decision that reflects their own personal beliefs and demonstrates their commitment to true equality.
From Arthur Penn, starring Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam
Little Big Man is a 1970 American western comedy-drama film directed by Arthur Penn. It is a comic and tragic story about a white man, Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman), who is raised by a Native American tribe, the Cheyenne. After leaving them and becoming involved in the American Old West, Crabb becomes the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn. The story begins when Jack (Hoffman) is a young boy taken in by the Cheyenne after his parents are killed. He is adopted by the tribe and raised by a warrior named Old Lodge Skins, who teaches him the Cheyenne way of life. He comes of age as the tribe is forced to move westward due to increasing clashes with the white settlers. Jack eventually leaves the Cheyenne and becomes a part of "white" society. He joins General Custer's 7th Cavalry and fights in the Battle of Little Big Horn, where he is the only white survivor. He is then taken prisoner by the Sioux and sees Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull for the first time. When he is released, he returns to white society and begins his "adventures" as a con man, gambler, and gunfighter.
From Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Broadbent
Gangs of New York is a 2002 American epic period drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City. The story is set in 1846 and follows the life of an Irish-American street punk, Amsterdam Vallon, as he seeks revenge against the rival gang leader Bill "The Butcher" Cutting who murdered his father. The two gangs violently battle for control of the neighborhood in a struggle that culminates in the infamous 1863 New York Draft Riots. The film also stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Liam Neeson.
From David Cronenberg, starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt
From Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
From Dennis Hopper, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Antonio Mendoza
From Jacques Audiard, starring John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed