The portrayal of Americans in films has often been a polarizing topic. While some movies depict Americans as heroic and noble figures, others paint a more sinister picture.
This Redditor-inspired list explores films where Americans are depicted as the story's villains, showcasing the complex and often negative impact that American actions and ideologies can have on the rest of the world.
1. Okja (2017)
Okja is an action-adventure film directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ahn Seo-hyun. The film follows the story of a young girl who raises a genetically modified super pig named Okja and forms a bond with the animal.
2. Avatar (2009)
Avatar is a science fiction film directed by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the future, on a distant planet called Pandora, where Americans are mining for a valuable mineral.
Avatar traces the journey of a handicapped ex-Marine tasked with infiltrating an extraterrestrial civilization to gather intelligence on their vulnerabilities. However, his path takes an unexpected turn as he becomes enamored with the alien princess and begins to doubt the purpose of his mission.
3. Valley of the Wolves: Iraq (2006)
Valley of the Wolves: Iraq is a Turkish action-war film directed by Serdar Akar and starring Necati Şaşmaz and Gary Busey. The movie takes place amidst the 2003 Iraq invasion. It revolves around a Turkish special forces operative dispatched to Iraq for a covert assignment. However, he becomes disenchanted with the American presence in the region and ultimately rebels against it.
4. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Full Metal Jacket is a war film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, and Vincent D'Onofrio. The film is set during the Vietnam War and follows the story of Marine recruits going through basic training and then being sent to fight in Vietnam.
5. The Forgiven (2021)
The Forgiven is a historical drama film directed by Roland Joffé and starring Eric Bana and Forrest Whitaker. Taking place in the aftermath of South Africa's apartheid era, the story unfolds around Archbishop Desmond Tutu's role in overseeing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This commission is dedicated to providing closure to the victims of the apartheid regime.
6. Aliens (1986)
Aliens is a science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, and Carrie Henn. The film is a sequel to the 1979 film Alien and follows Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where she first encountered the alien creatures, this time leading a team of marines sent to investigate the loss of contact with a colony established there.
7. The Hunt (2020)
The Hunt is an action thriller directed by Craig Zobel and starring Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, and Ike Barinholtz. The film follows a group of people hunted by wealthy elites as part of a twisted game based on political ideologies going wild.
8. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Born on the Fourth of July is a biographical war drama film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, and Raymond J. Barry.
The film is based on veteran Ron Kovic's autobiography of the same name by Vietnam War and tells the story of Kovic's life, from his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps, his experiences during the Vietnam War, and his activism against the war upon his return.
9. Platoon (1986)
Platoon is a classic American war film directed by Oliver Stone, starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Charlie Sheen. Platoon tells the story of a young soldier's experience in the Vietnam War as he engages in a battle of wills between two sergeants, one good and one evil.
10. Heaven & Earth (1993)
Heaven & Earth is an American biographical war drama directed by Oliver Stone, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Haing S. Ngor, and Joan Chen. The film is based on the memoirs of Le Ly Hayslip, a Vietnamese woman who survived the Vietnam War and told the story of her experiences during the war and her subsequent immigration to the United States.
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