What is a film that was directly influenced by an experience we all collectively experienced as a society?

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"Apocalypse Now" is one of many films that vividly portrayed many aspects of the Vietnam War and how that conflict impacted the United States and its society. In a completely different presentation but still showing many of the cultural effects, watch "Good Morning Vietnam."

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All the President's Menwas about the reporters behind the story on Watergate during the Nixon years in the White House, and many historians mark that as the time when Americans lost faith in their government, and no longer overlooked the individual faults of the President.  The corruption ran so deeply in that administration, and the violations of law were so egregious that people had a hard time trusting again.  The movie also shows the battle between the media and government at that time.

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Apollo 13 was an excellent recounting of an episode in America's history. As the film shows, people swung from ignoring the space launch as "routine" to being glued to the TV when it became apparent that the crew was in serious trouble. Additionally, the film reminds us of the excellence of the thousands who worked for NASA during the "space race."

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There are many movies about historical events that we all shared.  The most recent major event for the US would probably be 9-11.  There are many movies made about this event.  The most recent was probably the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  

Other than historical events, there are many movies about shared life experiences.  We all had to grow and go through certain life events.  For instance, we all experienced (or are experiencing) the teenage years.  Many movies cover basic topics and life events that a large group of people can relate to.

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The films that comes to my mind are Pearl Harbor and Tora, Tora, Tora. They both depict the events leading up to the surprise attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941.  Now that was an event that affected the whole world because it launched the United States into World War II.  It was such a far-reaching and memorable event that we're still talking about it sixty years later! 

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There are a number of films, including JFK, which focus on the death/assassination of John F. Kennedy. Though we might, on the one hand, suggest that this only happened to one person, this was also an act which had huge ramifications. 

We might look at war movies in a similiar light, especially WWII films, since wars affect us all. Maybe this point is brought home by films that look at domestic situations which are created, altered, or impacted by war. The Deerhunter would qualify there. 

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If we look at the idea of a collective experience more broadly, then Dr. Strangelovecan be seen in this way.  During the Cold War, our entire society experienced fear of nuclear war.  This fear was the driving force behind the movie, making it a movie that was based on a commonly shared experience.

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There are three films which speak to the experience of the United States regarding the 911 attacks: 9/11 (documentary), World Trade Center, and United 93. As a society, this horrible event has been the most recent to devastate our nation as a whole.

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