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From Citizen Kane to Get Out – 10 films that get to the heart of America

With US Independence Day approaching, here are the movies that caught the zeitgeist of a booming nation, but not always in flattering ways

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All The President's Men starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford

All The President's Men starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford

Mr Smith Goes to Washington with James Stewart

Mr Smith Goes to Washington with James Stewart

Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather

Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

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All The President's Men starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford

Though cinema was not invented in the United States, it has come to be seen as the quintessential American art form. All the major tropes of commercial movie-making were developed in Hollywood, and ever since the early silent era the American republic has reflected its achievements and shortcomings on film.

Indeed, historians of the future could do worse than use Hollywood’s archives to reach a deeper understanding of what made America tick, and the illusions it was wont to tell itself. But if they did, which movies would they choose?


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