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In Celebration of America’s Birthday today, July 4, 2012, I am sharing some of my favorite Classic Movie quotes about America and Americans!  

Here goes…

…..

James Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra

You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.

 –James Stewart as Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, director)

…..

Gary Cooper in Mr Deeds Goes To Town, Frank Capra

Oh I see a small Ohio farm boy becoming a great soldier. I see thousands of marching men. I see General Lee with a broken heart surrendering. And I can see the beginning of a new nation, like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as President. Things like that can only happen in a country like America.

Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, director)

…..

Chico Marx and Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding

How we happen to come to America is a great story, but I no tell that.

Chico Marx as Fiorello in A Night at the Opera (directors Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding/uncredited)

(pictured with Groucho Marx)

…..

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams

What I am is 100% American. I’m born & raised in the greatest country on this earth & I’m proud of it. -Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, director)

…..

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Mari Blanchard in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, Charles Lamont

I hereby claim Mars in the name of the United States of America.

Bud Abbott as Lester in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (Charles Lamont, director)

(pictured with Lou Costello and Mari Blanchard)

…..

Burt Ward and Adam West as Batman in Robin in Batman the movie 1966, Leslie H. Martinson

Underneath this garb, we’re perfectly ordinary Americans.

Burt Ward as Robin in Batman (1966; Leslie H. Martinson, director)

(pictured with Adam West)

…..

Hugh Griffith, How to Steal a Million, William Wyler

 American millionaires must be all quite mad. Perhaps it’s something they put in the ink when they print the money.

Hugh Griffith as Charles Bonnet in How to Steal a Million (William Wyler, director)

…..

Cary Grant, I Was a Male War Bride, Howard Hawks

If the American army says I can be my wife, who am I to dispute them?

Cary Grant (as Capt. Henri Rochard) in I Was a Male War Bride (Howard Hawks, director)

…..

Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, H.C. Potter

Every time you get tight you weep on my shoulder about the advertising business — how it forces a sensitive soul like yourself to make a living by bamboozling the American public. Well, I would say that a small part of that victimized group has now redressed the balance.

Melvyn Douglas as Bill Cole in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (H.C. Potter, director)

(pictured with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy)

…..

 Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, George Cukor

There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven’t used it for years.

Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (George Cukor, director)

…..

Walter Matthau, The Odd Couple, Gene Saks

He’s got 92 credit cards in his wallet. The minute something happens to him, America lights up.

Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple (Gene Saks, director)

…..

America, Rita Moreno, West Side Story, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

I like to be in America, OK by me in America, everything free in America…

Rita Moreno (as Anita) and the Girls in West Side Story (directors, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise)

…..

Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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12. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Other Nominated Films:
Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Prior to compiling this countdown list, I’d never seen a Sidney Poitier movie. I knew who he was, and I knew about the profound effect he had on movie history — but I never had the opportunity to see one of his films.  You could say that Poitier was the first major black movie star — he was the first black actor to be nominated for a competitive Academy Award (The Defiant Ones); he was the first black actor to win the Best Actor award (Lilies of the Field); he played roles that defied previous racial stereotypes; and by 1967 he was a MAJOR box office draw.  With that being said, I’m glad In the Heat of the Night was my first Poitier film. And I’m glad that my first two memories of Poitier will be his delivery of the iconic line, “They call me MISTER Tibbs!”, and his performance, as Mr. Tibbs, reacting to being slapped by a white man — by slapping the white man right back. Wow. While Poitier gives one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen, in my opinion he’s actually topped by his co-star, Rod Steiger (and that’s saying a lot). Steiger is just so convincing and so stinging in his portrayal of the arrogant and prejudiced Police Chief Bill Gillespie. In a way, In the Heat of the Night could be considered a character study of two men, of different races, who are on the same mission with the same goal. And although Tibbs and Gillespie start out on the wrong foot and use different methods to solve crime, they eventually put their differences aside and work together. Steiger would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, while Virgin Tibbs would go on to be ranked as one of the top 50 heroes by the American Film Institute.

Nominated for 7 Oscars, Winner of 5

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Rod Steiger (WON)
Best Film Editing – Hal Ashby (WON)
Best Picture – Walter Mirisch (WON)
Best Sound – Samuel Goldwyn SSD (WON)
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium – Stirling Silliphant (WON)
Best Director – Norman Jewison
Best Effects, Sounds Effects – James Richards

Virgil Tibbs: They call me MISTER Tibbs!

(more…)

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