The Cinematic Constitution of the United States of America

The Cinematic Consitution of the United States of America

We the Film Channel of CraveOnline, in order to provide you a more perfect 4th of July weekend, establish our opinions, insure your domestic distractions, do provide for the common reader, and promote the general filmgoer by securing the blessings from our editor, to ordain and establish this Cinematic Constitution of the United States of America.

Huh? Let's be like a modern movie audience and skip the introduction and go right to the sequel: the constitutional amendments. There are 27 of them. A few of them are brandied about constantly. Some we had to brush up on for purposes of this article. So what is the Cinematic Constitution of the United States of America? Well, we looked at all 27 amendments to the US constitution and came up with a list of 27 films that represented each amendment well. Were there rules? Simple ones: the film had to be set in America, past, present or future. And at least one major scene or plot point could directly be attributed to rights insured by an amendment.

Some of these were easy. Some were hard to choose just one. Some exposed the current division between political parties. But a few were also just really difficult (you try to come up with a movie that best represents going to work in January as opposed to March). And while certainly some of these films would make their way onto a list of our favorites, this exercise also exposed a gaping crater of particular stories in American film (we have only one film about the American woman's fight for the right to vote?) or a glaring omission to the types of films that Hollywood makes (only films pertaining to "women's issues" or "black voices" had representative directors from their gender or race). 

But, hold on, hold on fellow Freedom Lover. America is a work in progress. It's rare, but the fact that the original Bill of Rights from the American Constitution can have added amendments is a very powerful tool. That's something worth celebrating. To us, that's the most impressive feat of American history: continued progression (and admissions to wrongs). It might take a while (there was an amendment that took 202 years to pass!), but Americans must believe in their ability to adapt.

Okay, we'll dismount from our high horse and unroll our scroll of American films that best represent each amendment. Firstly, we'd like to mention that we were a little surprised about how well the 21st century was represented for these older amendments. Perhaps some are so common that they don't have to call attention to being about anything big, they're just an instrument for aiding the story. Some are very much in the forefront and about big issues. Some ridicule, some blindly trumpet greatness, but not many are hugely patriotic because many of the amendments are admissions of incorrect governance. Somehow Forrest Gump didn't show up. But John Carpenter did. Oh yes, it's that sort of list.

So please, peruse our constitution. As always, this is a public forum and as your rights are insured, we're open to comments. The floor is yours. 

Slideshow: The Cinematic Constitution of the United States of America


Brian Formo is a featured contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @BrianEmilFormo.