Patriotism Examples of American Flags in Movies | All Star Flags

Boosting Patriotism with American Flags in Movies

Boosting Patriotism with American Flags in Movies

As though an uplifting story about innovation, heroics, and sheer athleticism are not inspiring enough, movies that feature the American flag remind audiences of how glorious America truly can be, making moviegoers' hearts swell with patriotic pride.  The American flag serves as a symbol of all of America's finest moments, of hope and dreams, and of a free, bright future. The presence of the American flag on the silver screen makes audiences want to stand up and salute.

Lights, Camera, Action:  Cue the Flag!

The American flag is a nationally recognized symbol for all of the excellent things America stands for: freedom, discovery and innovation, leadership, bravery, and sportsmanship.  A true celebrity in its own right, the American flag is a reminder of past and present heroics, so it only makes sense that the famous Stars and Stripes have their time in America's most glamorous past-time: cinema.

The American flag has had its threads in many famous films, and every time Old Glory appears, whether it be in a cameo role or as the lead, the red, white, and blue bleeding hearts of devoted audiences cannot help but beat a little bit faster.

A Hero's Welcome 

America has a lot to be proud of, particularly successes on the battlefield.  As a nation that always tries to be at the service of those in need, the American flag waving on the battlefield is a reminder of valor, courage, and justice.

  • Take Saving Private Ryan, for example. The 1998 hit film opens on the allied invasion in Normandy on D-Day (June 6, 1944) where three of the four Ryan brothers are killed.  When military officials realize there is a fourth Ryan brother in combat, they vow to find him and bring him home to his mother in an effort to alleviate her anymore heartache.  A team of eight soldiers led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) begin a special quest to save Private James Ryan (Matt Damon).

In Saving Private Ryan, the flag makes her appearance at the beginning and the end of the movie.  A faded version of the national banner billows as a reminder to patriotic audiences everywhere what is lost and what is gained through the sorrows of war.  It symbolizes that while much is given on the battlefield, much is also gained.  Through such trials, heroes and a path for a better tomorrow are made, and for those things, the flag waves, and we honor it.

  • More recently, the 2012 military action film, Acts of Valor, featured real Navy SEALs in real post-9/11 war.  Just in case the immediacy of the movie's subject matter was not poignant enough, the American flag's appearance in the pocket of Lt. Rorke really drove it home.  The flag in Acts of Valor was extra-special as it was Lt. Rorke's grandfather's flag from World War II.  The image of it so close to the soldier's heart touches audiences own hearts as the flag hearkens remembrances of what America has always fought for --freedom and justice, and that America will always produce heroes to take up the good fight for the sake of the country when duty calls.

Of course, not all heroics for freedom are battlefield accomplishments.  As only Hollywood can depict, some of our country's favorite heroes that inspire palpitations of patriotism are fictional characters who epitomize the good guys we admire.

  • It is hard to say which superhero of fantasy-lore champions the United States of America more: Superman or Captain America.  Released in 2013, Superman: Man of Steel depicts the caped phenomenon standing in front of a wall bearing the image of the American flag, as if to say that the stars and stripes are his call for action.  Meanwhile, Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, an eponym of the movie, dons the flag on is patriotic uniform in his role as a military-reject who volunteers for a secret project that transforms him into an America-defending superhero. 

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In this case, the flag behind these heroes fosters the patriotic notion that while some have more natural ability than others (after all, not everyone is faster than a speeding bullet), heroes come in all shapes and sizes and through determination can accomplish great things for the good of the nation.

Symbol of Triumph Over Adversity

Sportsmanship & Athleticism: Virtues Symbolized by the Flag

The American flag waving magnanimously behind battle-bruised warriors is not the only cinematic circumstance in which the presence of the flag inspires audience's to experience bursts of patriotic pride.  Movies that depict underdogs training, growing strong, and rising to a challenge only to overcome certain defeat make people want to start chanting USA! USA! USA! Perhaps it is because these once-weak champions serve as a metaphor for the once-fledgling country that struggled and sacrificed to become a great, strong nation.

  • One movie that makes Americans want to jump out of their seats as soon as the national banner waves is Rocky IV. In the first film of the famous boxing series, when little-known Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) gets his chance to "make it" he takes it.  In Rocky IV, Rocky has to avenge the death of his friend in the ring against a Soviet fighter.  The image of a victorious Rocky draped in the American flag leaves audiences panting as the flag symbolizes the American dream, that is, the ability to make ourselves something out of nothing, to become our best selves, and to rise above all of the odds and adversity to emerge triumphant.  Draped across the shoulders of a champion, the flag in Rocky IV sends patriotic feelings of hope soaring.

Leadership in the Face of Controversy

Of course, the American Dream has always come at a price, as any worthwhile pursuit must.  Movies that feature leaders and brave souls facing their biggest demons for the greater good speak to America's short-yet-active past of inspiring the best in men and women.  The American flag in movies about such men and women symbolizes that patriotic spirit.

  • As in most films in which the American flag proudly sports its stars and stripes, the film Armageddon (1998) encapsulates many of the nation's virtues.  Innovation and determination are depicted as a team of specially-trained drillers must implant a nuclear device into the center of an asteroid lest it destroy the Earth.  No problem...America will handle it.  The American flag is all over this hit movie: they wave during the president's speech, they are on the astronaut's space suits, and one is draped in the background of a lover's embrace.  Despite an overtone of disaster as a world-ending asteroid hurtles itself toward Earth, the American flag inspires feelings of hope and promise as it faces adversity for the sake of the innocent
  • Grounded on more real and stable reality, Lincoln (2012) features U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) battling his conscious in 1845 as he must decide between dire sacrifices whether or not to end the Civil War or to abolish slavery.  As the then-president rides across the silver screen with the American flag billowing behind him in the background, the flag inspires feelings of awe as it symbolizes the difficulty and controversy America faced in its adolescence as it was molded into the home of the free through painstaking effort.  President Lincoln's flag waved for truth and the virtue of America.

Old Glory has graced the silver screen many a time.  She represents so much to Americans that her presence accommodates every theme Hollywood directors can imagine.  The American flag inspires patriotic feelings of heroism, of sentimentality and affection, of bravery, of dreams and idealism, of confidence and optimism, and of hope and inspiration.  It is a timeless symbol of the nation's journey to greatness.  The American flag in movies boosts the pride of audiences reminding them that there is something truly great out there that is worth living and fighting for: America's patriotic dream. 


All Star Flags specializes in the high quality distribution and production of all types of flags: United States, individual state, military, historical, international, and custom designs.  All Star Flags also handles in the sale of feather flags, pennants, banners and signs, and flag accessories.  All Star Flags sells only made in USA flag products and distributes nation-wide making it the go-to distributor for any patriotic heart looking to wave Old Glory.


By Chad Creech, All Star Flags