Gary Cooper: What Films to See to Understand the Great American Values of a Nation

Roxana Anton

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One of Hollywood's best actors ever, Gary Cooper has won his place among the "heavy" names of the Classic era.

Below, a few films, directed by some of the best men from Hollywood, that you simply cannot miss.

Morocco (1930)

This is a beautiful, exotic story to be very much enjoyed on a summer warm night.

Gary Cooper plays together with Marlene Dietrich, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

The film is about a cabaret singer and a Legionnaire who fall in love during the Rif War, and whose relationship is complicated by the appearance of a rich man who is also in love with her.

The film is famous for a scene in which Dietrich performs a song dressed in a man's suit and kisses another woman, both of which were rather scandalous for the period. (source: Wikipedia)

The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (a.k.a. A Gentleman Goes to Town and Opera Hat) (1936)

This was the second film that I saw starring Gary Cooper, after Love in the Afternoon, and I was so impressed that I immediately wanted to see more films with this classic actor.

I don't know if it is about his play, but the films were extraordinary and deserve every attention. And they are very much about American values, that built the great American nation.

The plot is again centered on the figure of the hero: the man who has solid principles and values that he does not abandon, under any circumstances.

Mr. Deeds is a man of honor indeed. Every man (and woman) should see this film at least once, to understand what honor, noble thought, and action are really about.

Although it's a forgotten film, I very much enjoyed it and you will probably do so too.

Sergeant York (1941)

This American biographical film is probably one of the most representative of America's history.

These types of films, and not only, should be studied in school.

The film is about the true life of Alvin C. York, one of the most decorated American soldiers of World War I.

Directed by Haward Hawks and starring Gary Cooper in the title role, the film was a critical and commercial success and became the highest-earning film in 1941, receiving ten Academy Award Nominations, from which Cooper won for Best Actor. (Wikipedia)

Obviously, the film was also selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Ball of Fire (1941)

Another production was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

It stars Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck and is a light comedy, about a group of professors laboring to write an encyclopedia and their encounter with a nightclub performer who provides her own unique knowledge. (source: Wikipedia)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

It seems like Cooper took some of the most significant roles of his time.

The film was made after the well-known novel by Ernest Hemingway, from 1940.

It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer who is fighting against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. (Wikipedia)

The war was between the government of the Second Spanish Republic, which was supported by the Soviet Union, and the Nationalist faction, which was supported by NaziGermany and Fascist Italy. It was commonly viewed as the dress rehearsal for the Second World War. (Wikipedia)

Hemingway personally chose Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as protagonists, and the film got nine Academy Awards nominations and won one. (Wikipedia)

High Noon (1952)

Another significant Western about America's history and social problems that still must confront today.

Highly interesting and enjoyable, the film was also selected for the National Film Registry, like many others starring this remarkable actor.

The plot centers on a town marshal whose sense of duty is tested when he must decide to either face a gang of killers alone, or leave town with his new wife.

The film is all about American society, its challenges, and the best decisions to make in troubled times, and it analyzes the figure of the hero couple who saves an entire town.

Deeply significant, the role of marshal Kane won Gary Cooper his second Academy Award. (Wikipedia)

Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Probably one of the most beautiful love stories in American cinema.

A young musician played by Audrey Hepburn falls in love with a playboy millionaire, played by Gary Cooper, and plots a lot of fantastic stories to make him gain interest in her.

In my personal opinion, the film is Audrey's early remarkable role, in which she put all the subtle emotions of a young, lonely woman who dreams and aims to conquer the person who will save her to a better life. Even if he is much older than she is (to be discussed).

It is a very significant movie, to be seen by every young woman of today.

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