One movie that encapsulates some ideas and values that make our democracy work is A Civil Action, from 1998, starring John Travolta and Kathleen Quinlan. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Harr, and it involves a real-life case in Woburn, Massachusetts, in which environmental pollutants are contaminating the town's water supply. As a result, many children in the area become sick with fatal diseases.
A resident of the town, played by Kathleen Quinlan, hires a personal injury lawyer (played by John Travolta) to sue the companies that are dumping contaminants in the water. Her activism shows the power that an individual can have in a democracy to challenge more powerful entities through the legal system. Though the lawyer loses the case, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a federal entity, later uses the information from the case to bring their own action against the companies who were contaminating the groundwater and forced them to pay heavy fines and clean up the polluted area. The action of the EPA shows the power of federal agencies to protect citizens in a working democracy. In a less democratic society, it may not have even been possible for an individual to challenge the larger companies in the first place.