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Founding Brothers (2002). This History Channel documentary based on Joseph Ellis’s best-selling account explores the policies and personalities of post-Revolutionary America.
The Great McGinty (1940). Preston Sturges’s first effort as director is a comedy about a hobo rising through the ranks of a party machine to become governor and spoiling it all by going honest.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Frank Capra’s classic drama of a lone, idealistic individual single-handedly (but with a woman’s love and help) fighting corrupt individuals within a sacrosanct political system.
The Patriot (2000). A South Carolina farmer and veteran of the wars with France (Mel Gibson) reluctantly takes up arms as a guerrilla fighter in the Revolution and struggles with his political identity and the meaning of self-government.
Rebels and Redcoats (2003). A lively four-hour documentary featuring a British military historian’s perspective of the Revolution as a bloody civil war.
1776 (1972). The movie adaptation of the Broadway musical comedy hit vividly portrays the high-minded and self-interested political struggles leading to the Declaration of Independence.