Lights, Camera, the Pursuit of Happiness Essay

Lights, Camera, the Pursuit of Happiness Essay

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“The American Revolution was a radical revolution, rooted in natural rights and individualism” (Richards). This is not only the life blood of the United States of America, but also the life blood of the conservative narrative. The conservative narrative tells the tale of individual responsibility and action, tales of hope and integrity. More importantly the conservative narrative is based on the very same foundation of the conservative party: “the liberty of the individual and…upon individual responsibility” (O’Rourke). Hollywood is generally characterized as being aligned with and serving the liberal side of politics, and as a side effect, conservative movies are few and far between. But when they emerge from the depths of their production into the light of the American audience they elucidate the staples of Conservatism far better than any Oxford level definition could. Frank Capra’s film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Robert Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump, and Frank Miller’s 300 provide examples of the key principals needed for one to be classified as a conservative.
The spearhead of the conservative belief is a simple one that if individual responsibility. The liberal political mind heaps as much responsibility as possible onto the Government, in an effort to ease the path for up and coming citizens. This is contradictory to the common sense adage of “there is no concept of gain without cost.” Opponents of conservatism may (under the guise of playing Devil’s advocate) bring up the point that Longfellow Deeds did not work for his wealth, but rather inherited it and Forrest Gump made his money because he was the only shrimp boat left after the storm. What these opponents fail to note is the fact that Longfellow Deeds worked hard and became...


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...p. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. By Eric Roth. Perf. Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field, and Mykelti Williamson. Paramount Pictures, 1994.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander. Columbia Pictures Corp. Presents, 1936.
O’Rourke, Peter. "How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism 'R' Us." Free Republic. Web. 17 Oct. 2010.
Richards, Jeffrey. "Frank Capra and the Cinema of Populism." Movies and Methods: an Anthology. Ed. Bill Nichols. Berkeley: University of California, 1976. Print.
Wang, Jennifer Hyland. ""A Struggle of Contending Stories": Race, Gender, and Political Memory in Forrest Gump." Cinema Journal 39.3 (2000): 92-113. Print.
Wilkie, Wendell. "Acceptance Ceremony." Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination. Elwood, Indiana. 17 Aug. 1940. Speech.

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