best movies in hollywood
Hollywood Loves Men In Uniform
For as long as movies have been made, many of the greatest stories that have been told have revolved around a character in uniform. Perhaps because like a costume, it stands out from a crowd, but a uniform can also evoke emotions, good and bad, by what it represents.
Of course there is also the fact that many of our great heroes have worn uniforms, and Hollywood loves a great hero. There were hundreds of movies after World War Two that revolved around characters from the army, navy and air force. These movies are still extremely popular and some of Hollywood’s favorite stars over the past sixty years have worn them from John Wayne to Gene Kelly to Clint Eastwood to Tom Hanks to Ben Affleck, and this list really could go on forever.
If you mention some movie titles like Top Gun, An Officer and a Gentleman or A Few Good Men, it is difficult to imagine the lead characters in anything but their uniforms. Tom Cruise was of course in two of those movies, and it is fair to say he has had to wear one on the screen in quite a lot of films. Apart from Top Gun and A Few Good Men, he has also had to wear one since the early days in Taps as a military cadet, in the Last Samurai as a Civil War officer and as a German Second World War officer in Valkyrie.
Some uniforms elicit an immediate reaction. In a movie like the creepy Apt Pupil, based on the Stephen King novella, a young boy discovers that his neighbor is a Nazi war criminal and blackmails him to dress up in the full attire and kill. This outfit has scared millions of people around the world in so many movies, from Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List to the bad guys in Raiders of The Lost Ark.
Steven Spielberg has definitely enjoyed dressing his characters in a good uniform. In his first six directed movies, there were uniformed characters everywhere – Ben Johnson in The Sugarland Express, Roy Schneider in Jaws, countless characters in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, John Belushi in 1941, Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Nazis, and of course, all those chasing E. T. The Extra Terrestrial.
It is not just military uniforms that Hollywood seems to love, and the movies have paid tribute to other uniformed heroes and villains. In a movie like Copland with Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta, a full array of police uniforms are seen on screen.
Firemen have been up on screen in a number of films, the most memorable possibly being Ron Howard’s Backdraft. Since the 9/11 tragedy, there have also been many films like The Guys that have paid tribute to the heroic firemen who lost their lives in New York.
In many ways these different movies pay homage to the man in uniform. The actors may never quite live up to the real heroics we hear of daily, but it is great to know that storytellers of the silver screen recognize real heroes and know that people want to see their stories.
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