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-   -   Hollywood films where the Americans lose (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=880212)

Nansbread1 08-10-2019 02:50 PM

Hollywood films where the Americans lose
 
In almost all films the American heroes or Humans (when pitted against aliens ) win the battles. Usually the Russians or Brits are the baddies who invariably lose in the storyline.

I can name only 2 films where the opposite is true.

Avatar (where the residents of the planet prevail against the Earthlings/Americans)

Mile 22 (where the Russians prevail in the plot)

Any other such films to add to the list.

Lucas Jackson 08-10-2019 03:04 PM

Reported

Nansbread1 08-10-2019 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson (Post 21798762)
Reported

Seriously, for what?

Velocity 08-10-2019 03:14 PM

Black Hawk Down kind of straddles the fence: The movie was about a battle that could be described as a Pyrrhic victory or maybe outright defeat for the Americans in Mogadishu. 18 Americans killed, 75 wounded, and it was a disaster for the Clinton administration. Since the movie is based on real life, though, I don't know if this is what you are looking for. I am assuming you mean entirely fictional, not-real, movies.

Flander 08-10-2019 03:15 PM

Yeah, wrong forum homie. I imagine that American films will convey victory as a patriotic bias. There must be foreign films that show Americans losing.

leahcim 08-10-2019 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flander (Post 21798782)
There must be foreign films that show Americans losing.

I understand it to be a common feature of North Korean films.

bibliophage 08-10-2019 04:10 PM

In The Great Escape, almost all the escapees are killed or recaptured. Charles Bronson, playing a Pole, and James Coburn, playing an Australian, are among the few who made it to safety. James Garner and Steve McQueen played Americans, but both were recaptured.

engineer_comp_geek 08-10-2019 04:22 PM

Moderator Action

Moving thread from GQ to Cafe Society.

mbh 08-10-2019 04:34 PM

The Battle of Little Big Horn has been quite popular with Hollywood.


from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultur...mstrong_Custer
Quote:

Custer's Last Fight (a.k.a. Custer's Last Raid) (1912) - with Francis Ford as Custer.
General Custer at Little Big Horn (a.k.a. Custer of Big Horn) (1926) - with John Beck as Custer.
Custer's Last Stand (1936) - with Frank McGlynn as Custer.
The Plainsman (1936) - with John Miljan as Custer.
They Died with Their Boots On (1941) - with Errol Flynn as Custer.
Bugles in the Afternoon (1952) - with Sheb Wooley as Custer.
Sitting Bull (1954) - with Douglas Kennedy as Custer.
Tonka (a.k.a. A Horse Named Comanche) (1958) - with Britt Lomond as Custer.
The Great Sioux Massacre (1965) - with Philip Carey as Custer. The film depicts Custer as a bastion of tolerance whose efforts to secure fair treatment for the Indians leads to several confrontations with corrupt government officials.
Custer of the West (1967) - Robert Shaw depicts Custer as an Indian sympathizer, having disagreements with his superiors about fighting the Indians, but duty-bound as an officer of the U.S. Cavalry to enforce orders given to him.
The Legend of Custer (1968) - with Wayne Maunder as Custer.
Little Big Man (1970) - The film depicts Custer, played by Richard Mulligan, as a ruthless megalomaniac who massacres Indians in this revisionist Western.
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Untold Story (1990) - with Wayne Maunder as Custer.
Son of the Morning Star (1991) - with Gary Cole as Custer.
Crazy Horse (1996) - with Peter Horton as Custer.

mbh 08-10-2019 04:39 PM

Pearl Harbor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack...opular_culture
Quote:

Remember Pearl Harbor (1942) A Republic Pictures B-movie, starring Don "Red" Barry, one of the first motion pictures to respond to the events.[3]

Air Force, a 1943 propaganda film depicting the fate of the crew of the Mary-Ann, one of the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers that flew into Hickam Field during the attack.

December 7th: The Movie, directed by John Ford for the U.S. Navy in 1943, is a film that recreates the attacks of the Japanese forces. Footage from this Hollywood recreation has been mistakenly used as "actual attack footage", first by two different documentaries released in 1991 to mark the 50th anniversary of the attack, and again by television network CNN during an entertainment news report in 2001.[4][5]

From Here to Eternity (1953), an adaptation of the James Jones novel set in Hawaii on the eve of the attack.

In Harm's Way (1965), director Otto Preminger's adaptation of the James Bassett novel, which opens on December 6, 1941, in Hawaii, and depicts the attack from the point of view of the men of a ship able to leave the harbor.

Storm Over the Pacific, also known as Hawai Middouei daikaikusen: Taiheiyo no arashi (Hawaii-Midway Battle of the Sea and Sky: Storm in the Pacific Ocean) and I Bombed Pearl Harbor (1961), produced by the Japanese studio Toho Company and starring Toshiro Mifune, tells the story of Japanese airmen who served in the Pearl Harbor Raid and the Battle of Midway. An edited version dubbed into English as I Bombed Pearl Harbor was given U.S. release in 1961.[3]

The Time Tunnel, TV series; Season 1, Episode 4: The Day the Sky Fell In (1966).[6]
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), a Japan-U.S. coproduction about the attack is "meticulous"[7] in its approach to dissecting the situation leading up to the bombing. It depicts the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor from both American and Japanese points of view, with scrupulous attention to historical fact, including the U.S. use of Magic cryptanalysis.

Pearl (1978), a TV miniseries, written by Stirling Silliphant, about events leading up to the attack.

The Waltons TV series; Season 7, Episode 10: Day Of Infamy, aired on the 37th anniversary of the bombing on December 7, 1978.

Voyagers! TV series; “Sneak Attack”, season 1, episode 14, original airdate February 13, 1983. The time travelers arrive at Pearl Harbor on December 7 and save the life of General Douglas MacArthur (who was actually in the Philippines at the time).

The Winds of War, a novel by American writer Herman Wouk, was written between 1963 and 1971. The novel finishes in December 1941 with the aftermath of the attack. The TV miniseries based on the book was produced by Dan Curtis, airing in 1984. It starred Robert Mitchum and Ali MacGraw, with Ralph Bellamy as President Roosevelt.

Pearl Harbor (2001), directed by Michael Bay, a love story set amidst the lead up to the attack and its aftermath.

mbh 08-10-2019 04:47 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Bull_Run

Quote:

The battle forms the climax of the film Class of '61. It also appears in the first episode of the second season of the mini-series North and South, in the second episode of the first season of the mini-series How the West Was Won and in the first episode of the mini-series The Blue and the Gray.

Asuka 08-10-2019 05:07 PM

Maximum Overdrive

In the epilogue it's revealed that the virus causing all of the machines to rebel against humans (only seen from the American perspective) was coming from a UFO which is destroyed by a Soviet weather satellite and restores order to the world.

Lucas Jackson 08-10-2019 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nansbread1 (Post 21798777)
Seriously, for what?

Possible wrong forum.

P-man 08-10-2019 06:15 PM

The Alamo. Not only did the Americans lose, one of them was played by John Wayne.

silenus 08-10-2019 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbh (Post 21798862)
The Battle of Little Big Horn has been quite popular with Hollywood.


from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultur...mstrong_Custer

Americans won this one, nest-ce pa?

dropzone 08-10-2019 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nansbread1 (Post 21798777)
Seriously, for what?

Your anti-American bias. Why do you hate America? ;)

Ethilrist 08-10-2019 07:59 PM

Tomorrow Never Dies. The American info mogul is defeated by the British agent.

Kropotkin 08-10-2019 08:10 PM

The Quiet American, 2002, an underrated and under-appreciated film, portrays Americans in Vietnam as “losers,” that is, evildoers. Many of the above mentioned films, e.g. those about Custer and the Alamo, are more of the “we lost the battle but we won the war!” type, and so I’d suggest not really “Americans as losers” films

Little Nemo 08-10-2019 08:16 PM

Wake Island was a movie about an American defeat. Of course, it was depicted as a heroic last stand but the Japanese clearly won the battle. And it was made in 1942, when the battle was still recent news.

Colibri 08-10-2019 08:40 PM

In the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers the pod people take over, contrary to the 1956 original.

Defensive Indifference 08-10-2019 08:49 PM

No one really wins in Dr. Strangelove

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kropotkin (Post 21799245)
The Quiet American, 2002, an underrated and under-appreciated film, portrays Americans in Vietnam as “losers,” that is, evildoers.

That is a really good movie!

Asuka 08-10-2019 09:00 PM

Day After Tomorrow

Most of the population of the United States has to flee to Mexico as refugees after a devastating ecological disaster makes everything north of Florida a frozen wasteland (and yes they make as many ironic immigrant jokes they can)

Isosleepy 08-10-2019 10:34 PM

The third man. It’s a 1949 movie so I hope spoilers are ok:

There are only 2 Americans in the movie. One gets dead and the other doesn’t get the girl.

Isosleepy 08-10-2019 10:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bibliophage (Post 21798839)
In The Great Escape, almost all the escapees are killed or recaptured. Charles Bronson, playing a Pole, and James Coburn, playing an Australian, are among the few who made it to safety. James Garner and Steve McQueen played Americans, but both were recaptured.

But the Americans win by featuring in an escape they did not in fact participate in. At all. Screwed over are the two Norwegians and one Dutchman who actually were the three successful escapees.

burpo the wonder mutt 08-10-2019 10:40 PM

"A Bridge Too Far" (1977)

terentii 08-10-2019 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21799251)
Wake Island was a movie about an American defeat. Of course, it was depicted as a heroic last stand but the Japanese clearly won the battle. And it was made in 1942, when the battle was still recent news.

Corregidor with John Wayne, and Bataan with Robert Taylor (both 1943). The Purple Heart with Dana Andrews (1944).

With regard to the Battle of Little Big Horn, it should be noted that Native Americans were not considered US citizens at the time, nor would they be until 1924 (and then only those born in the United States).

Colibri 08-10-2019 10:57 PM

Platoon. At the end the US base being defended by the platoon is overrun by the Vietnamese.

Horatio Hellpop 08-11-2019 12:45 AM

A Fish Called Wanda. I may be remembering this wrong, but it comes down to a fight between Kevin Kline and John Cleese, right?

DWMarch 08-11-2019 01:32 AM

The Cabin in the Woods. I won't say any more except to say that the Americans do not win... nor do the Japanese, nor does anyone else.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 21798779)
Black Hawk Down kind of straddles the fence: The movie was about a battle that could be described as a Pyrrhic victory or maybe outright defeat for the Americans in Mogadishu. 18 Americans killed, 75 wounded, and it was a disaster for the Clinton administration. Since the movie is based on real life, though, I don't know if this is what you are looking for. I am assuming you mean entirely fictional, not-real, movies.

I know this is the traditional perspective on how The Day of the Rangers went down but considering that the Somalis went back to what was left of their homes with about 4,000 casualties, I'd say it was an absolute curb stomping by the US forces. I have said it before and I will say it again: they didn't lose, they left. As I recall from the book, Super Six Four pilot Michael Durant was returned intact after a general explained to the Somalis that if he was not returned in pristine condition with the quickness, not a single stone would stand upon another stone in Mogadishu. Black Hawk Down tells the story of how these soldiers were caught off guard and under-prepared and still handed the whole city its ass. Hence why the locals don't refer to it as "the day we beat the Rangers".

jz78817 08-11-2019 03:32 AM

The Man in the High Castle (book and Amazon series) is set around the scenario of the aftermath of the Allies losing WWII. The US is divided into the Greater American Reich in the east, and the Japanese Pacific States in the west.

hogarth 08-11-2019 09:52 AM

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid don't do so well against the Bolivian army.

dropzone 08-11-2019 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isosleepy (Post 21799439)
But the Americans win by featuring in an escape they did not in fact participate in. At all.

Not entirely true. There were American s in on the digging but they were transferred before the escape.

Aquadementia 08-11-2019 11:36 AM

E.T. presumably (I surprisingly never actually saw it) escapes government agents.

Not a film but on Babylon 5 Earth is defeated by separatist and a coalition force of aliens.

Jeff Lichtman 08-11-2019 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isosleepy (Post 21799436)
The third man. It’s a 1949 movie so I hope spoilers are ok:

There are only 2 Americans in the movie. One gets dead and the other doesn’t get the girl.

It's not a Hollywood movie, though. It's British.

Little Nemo 08-11-2019 12:11 PM

Avengers: Infinity War if you don't count Endgame.

Slow Moving Vehicle 08-11-2019 12:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kropotkin (Post 21799245)
The Quiet American, 2002, an underrated and under-appreciated film, portrays Americans in Vietnam as “losers,” that is, evildoers. Many of the above mentioned films, e.g. those about Custer and the Alamo, are more of the “we lost the battle but we won the war!” type, and so I’d suggest not really “Americans as losers” films

Quote:

Originally Posted by Defensive Indifference (Post 21799307)
No one really wins in Dr. Strangelove


That is a really good movie!

It's a fantastic (and eerily prophetic) book, as well.

terentii 08-11-2019 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Slow Moving Vehicle (Post 21800106)
It's a fantastic (and eerily prophetic) book, as well.

Red Alert? As I recall, it bore little resemblace to Kubrick's movie.

Two Many Cats 08-11-2019 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bibliophage (Post 21798839)
In The Great Escape, almost all the escapees are killed or recaptured. Charles Bronson, playing a Pole, and James Coburn, playing an Australian, are among the few who made it to safety. James Garner and Steve McQueen played Americans, but both were recaptured.

And all the Brits were killed.

Jackmannii 08-11-2019 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Two Many Cats (Post 21800131)
And all the Brits were killed.

As I recall, there were quite a few Brits who were recaptured and returned to the camp in "The Great Escape".

There are very few Vietnam movies where the Americans are "winners". The only ones I can think of offhand are "The Green Berets", and I suppose the movies where Sylvester Stallone singlehandedly defeats evil postwar Vietnamese.

The trend in Hollywood movies in recent years is to depict Americans as, if not outright losers in international conflicts, Pyrrhic winners.

terentii 08-11-2019 01:24 PM

[QUOTE=Jackmannii;21800141]As I recall, there were quite a few Brits who were recaptured and returned to the camp in "The Great Escape"./QUOTE]

Of the 76 prisoners who escaped, 50 were machine-gunned en masse in the movie. In real life, they were executed individually or in groups of two and three, on Hitler's orders.

Rick Kitchen 08-11-2019 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jz78817 (Post 21799667)
The Man in the High Castle (book and Amazon series) is set around the scenario of the aftermath of the Allies losing WWII. The US is divided into the Greater American Reich in the east, and the Japanese Pacific States in the west.

And the Neutral Zone in between.

Isosleepy 08-11-2019 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman (Post 21800072)
It's not a Hollywood movie, though. It's British.

Correct and my bad.

Rough Draft 08-13-2019 01:19 PM

The U.S. Navy didn't fare too well in The Sand Pebbles.

CalMeacham 08-13-2019 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 21799291)
In the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers the pod people take over, contrary to the 1956 original.

In the original version the original ending had Kevin McCarthy running down the highway, yelling "You're next!" to the motorists, who think he's crazy. They tacked on a "happy" ending when he finally convinces people about the pod people only after test screenings showed the audience didn't like the "downer" ending.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasi...Body_Snatchers


Finney's novel, by the way, has a completely out-of-the-blue "happy" ending that's just as unrealistic. The pods shoulda won.


In Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters the humans win. His book predated Finney's.

Finagle 08-13-2019 02:01 PM

The Mouse that Roared. America is invaded by the smallest country in the world (The Duchy of Grand Fenwick) and loses.

KneadToKnow 08-13-2019 04:02 PM

I've seen the film, but it was too long ago to remember: do they make explicit in the film version of The Handmaid's Tale that Gilead defeated the United States?

Just Asking Questions 08-13-2019 05:46 PM

Being a big generous about winning and losing, I submit:

On The Beach
A Day Without a Mexican
CSA
The Road

Trancephalic 08-13-2019 10:02 PM

The entirety of the Planet of the Apes films.

The directors cut of The Little Shop of Horrors remake.

9.

Patch 08-14-2019 09:21 AM

No Way Out with Kevin Costner.
Quote:

Tom Farrell is a navy officer who gets posted at the Pentagon and is to report to the secretary of defense David Brice. He starts an affair with Susan Atwell not knowing that she is Brice's mistress. When Susan is found dead, Tom is assigned to the case of finding the killer who is believed to be a KGB mole! Tom could soon become a suspect when a Polaroid negative of him was found at Susan's place. He now has only a few hours to find the killer before the computer regenerates the photo.
SPOILER:
Turns out though Costner isn't the killer, he is the KGB mole and his role goes undiscovered.

Machine Elf 08-14-2019 09:54 AM

In the movie We Were Soldiers (and presumably also the book), the American forces win a big battle, but in the end it's painted as a pretty pointless victory. The enemy commander surveys the aftermath and says "[the Americans] will think this was their victory..."; it's based on a real battle, and the epilogue notes that as soon as the American troops were airlifted out, the North Vietnamese took control of the area again.


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