Admit It, You Miss World War II. Especially Because You Weren't There

You too catch some of the old flicks on AMC. It’s somehow where the Great Depression and World War II look like America’s most exuberant years. Crammed with enormous tests and equally enormous victories by enormously resilient Americans. Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamar, Greer Garson right along with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. All somehow struggling through poverty, Pearl Harbor, Normandy and Okinawa with both guts and glory.

Compared with today’s more fractured America, we look pretty damn good back then. I know because I was there. If you’ll indulge me, let me offer a package of AMC hits which, if you watch them between now and the election, may give you a hint of what made us stand more shoulder to shoulder than toe to toe. Ten classics which — even for Hollywood — authentically capture who and why we were:

* The Grapes of Wrath – Henry Fonda personifies surviving the Depression
* They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Jane Fonda lets us see into the despair of the times
* Road To Perdition – Tom Hanks shares a dark view of how hard Hard Times were
* Casablanca – Humphrey Bogart is the classic silent American who didn’t want this war
* Wake Island – William Bendix as GI Joe suddenly in a war we didn’t expct
* Bataan ~ Tyrone Power vs the Japanese
* Young Lions – War-is-hell in Europe too
* Patton – the quintessential WWII general captured by George C Scott
* The Best Years of our Life – Post-war America & Fredric March trying to get their bearings
* It’s A Wonderful Life – Jimmy Stewart’s first post-war look at what makes us Americans

Films that can introduce you to your country… in ways that help make up for the fact you weren’t there to see your parents at their best. Then you’ll be better ready to vote.

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