I always thought Americans would want "It's a Wonderful Life" as their identifier.
That's an interesting idea. Not a movie I would have thought of. And a movie that a lot of people don't like.
I don't know why Shopaholic thought of this movie, but it does embody a few ideas that are kind of typically "American."
The idea that you can get a second chance.
The idea that friends will rally 'round a good person and help them out.
All that Western migration during the early years of the country? A lot of those people were looking for second chances or a better chance at making a living than they had where they started out from. All the immigrants from various countries over the years? Looking for a better chance than they had at home.
And from the beginning, people had to help each other out--sharing the work of farming, harvesting, raising houses, stitching quilts--in order to survive. The quilting bee, the barn raising--these are ways that the community came together to help one person.
And the idea that a single person can make a change--as the hero of the movie does (can't remember his name right now). In Huckleberry Finn
, which is considered by many to be as close as we come to an American epic, the key point in the novel is the decision of one small boy to buck convention and break the law to save a fellow human being; to do what is morally right instead of what is legally correct. It's a Wonderful Life
may not be a perfect movie, and it may not be the ultimate movie to form or embody the country's identity, but it has a lot of the right factors. At the very least, it's a thought-provoking answer and I'm going to have to watch it again and think about this.
(And for those of you who have only ever seen it on TV, it gets a lot of editing to fit in a normal time slot. There are some scenes that get cut that make the movie a little less sappy. Not that I'm saying if you hate the movie, you need to sit through the entire thing. But it was interesting to watch the entire, uncut movie and see what TV cuts out.)