John Hanlon

It isn’t unusual for an unsuspecting viewer to walk into a movie theater expecting two hours of mindless entertainment only to be surprised by a liberal political message that overshadows the proceedings. For instance, “Avatar” (2009) -- the highest-grossing movie of all time -- arrived in theaters with an environmental message that presented a false choice between environmental protection and the success of big business. 2012 also offered up its share of liberal-leaning films including “The Campaign,” “Big Miracle,” “The Obama Effect,” “Step-Up Revolution” and “Peace Love & Misunderstanding.” Fortunately, though, those smaller films were out-classed and out-numbered by many other films that offered up more conservative themes and ideals.

One great example of this was Steven Spielberg’s film, “Lincoln.” Spielberg reportedly asked that the film’s release date be delayed so that it couldn’t be used as a political prop. However, when it finally arrived in theaters, the epic showed the Republican president as the grand leader that he was -- fighting against unscrupulous Democrats who wanted slavery to continue, despite the injustice inherent in the practice. But “Lincoln” wasn’t the only film that showed Republicans or conservative ideals in a positive light.

There were plenty of right-leaning movies that arrived in theaters in 2012. In fact, my A-List feature from the December issue of Townhall Magazine counted down ten of the most conservative movies of the past year. Aside from such obvious fare as “Atlas Shrugged 2” and “2016: Obama’s America,” the list included several of the year’s highest-grossing films.

The highest-grossing movie on the list -- ahem, the highest-grossing movie of the year -- was “The Avengers.” Two of its story’s main protagonists represent deeply-held conservative beliefs. Captain America, the first Avenger, is a patriotic soldier who served his country nobly during World War II. Brought into the current age, he still believes in old-fashioned values and longs for a simpler time -- a time when people cared for each other more and weren’t afraid to wear their patriotism on their sleeve. One of Captain America’s fellow Avengers Is the successful businessman Tony Stark, a man who isn’t afraid of his own money and doesn’t begrudge himself the luxuries that he has earned through his hard work and dedication.

Another movie that easily made the list was the magnificent conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman series, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Before the film’s release, it caused some controversy when Rush Limbaugh raised questions about the villain being named Bane supposedly as a reference to Bain Capital, the company that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney helped found. The theory was incorrect and the movie actually included numerous conservative messages. Big Hollywood’s Ben Shapiro even identified “TDKR” as one of the most conservative films ever. One of the most obvious reasons for this analysis, as Shapiro noted, was the film’s inherent criticism of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Selina , one of the film’s characters, starts the story believing that stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is a noble activity. But she eventually realizes that the anarchy and destruction that ensues harms society as a whole. Such a potent political message seems particularly ripe for our current times.

“Hunger Games,” the third-highest grossing movie of the year, also made my list. The film -- adapted from the best-selling novel -- showcases the threat that an omnipresent government poses to society at large. In this story, the powerful government allies live in grand wealth while the nation’s citizens suffer. The government leaders -- in an effort to quell their imprisoned citizens -- host a yearly game where some of the less fortunate battle each other to the death for the world to see. The film presents an Orwellian and disturbing version of an all-powerful government that will be hard to forget.

“The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Hunger Games” are the three highest-grossing movies of 2012 at the domestic box office and all of them contain refreshing themes about individualism. Although one could argue that none of the films are blatantly conservative, they all include valuable ideas that would please conservatives and advocates of small government. In recent years, some of the most successful movies of the year subtly hide liberal messages. Not in 2012. This was a year that conservatives should applaud at the cinema.

Let’s hope for a similar case in 2013.

For a full listing of the ten most conservative movies of 2012, check out the A-list in the December issue of Townhall Magazine and subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.


John Hanlon

John Hanlon is the Operations Manager of Townhall.com. He can be found on Twitter @johnhanlon.