The Corner

Film & TV

On Cold War Movies

Sean Connery in Hunt for Red October (Paramount Pictures)

So David French launched a fun debate on Twitter by asking what the best Cold War movie was:

I like Hunt for Red October. I even put it sixth on my list (though I could see moving it down a bit further). Here was my list, in order:

The problems with all such lists are obvious. Personal tastes vary and all that (or as Bill Buckley would say, “De gustibus non est disputandum.”). But there are other considerations. As one fellow pointed out on Twitter, is the issue whether it’s the best movie about the Cold War or the best war movie set during the Cold War?

Then there’s the question of what the film actually says about the Cold War. One of the reasons I put Dr. Strangelove third is that it is a biting satire about anti-Communism. For many people — overrepresented in Hollywood, I think it’s fair to say — the Cold War was a fundamentally silly struggle, made absurd (in the philosophical or ethical sense) by the threat of nuclear war. I don’t see it that way. Soviet Communism was profoundly evil and presented a dire threat to American national security and to the cause of freedom everywhere. The Lives of Others — which Bill Buckley said was the best movie he ever saw and ranked by many here as the best conservative film ever made — was profound commentary on the evil of Communism.

Of course, one can object that it should therefore be the best anti-Communist movie, not the best Cold War movie per se. Reasonable people can disagree about that. But I stand by my decision.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Most Popular


Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More