Posted by: standing_baba | June 5, 2010

Inspirational Go Native Movies

Russell Crowe, a Gladiator in tights

(Belo Horizonte, Brazil) This post came about in a strange way. Last night two friends and I went to the theater to see Russell Crowe’s Robbin Hood. We all agreed the old version was better, perhaps because Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I Do (I Do it for You)’ has hypnotized us for more than a decade into believing that the scourge and bubonic-ness of Kevin Cosner’s 12th century England was infinitely more romantic than our modern lives. Russell Crowe, though a Gladiator turned archer in this new flick, could not kill the classic.

Kevin Cosner, the real Prince of Thieves

This made me think about all my favorite films that, like good books whose plots never grow dull, continually transport me to action-packed and dramatic times. Then I realized the following: in most of my best-loved movies the main character adopts another culture. In these epic tales the hero doesn’t just fall in love in foreign lands, he brides the equivalent of the remote village’s Hope Dworaczyk and becomes fluent in her dead language; he doesn’t just throw himself in the winds of war to regain his honor, he becomes an undercover subversive to rescue his country’s forgotten M.I.As; he doesn’t just survive on a deserted island, he builds a treehouse Club Med and makes coconut bombs to kill bearded pirates—all of which makes me want to scream hell yes as I slip the DVD in the slot.

These heroes go native until there is no difference between them and their tribal lovers, their ruthless enemies, or the monkeys that swing about their palm-tree playgrounds. As I work toward becoming Brazilian I wanted to share a list of ten movies (the first ones that came to mind, in no particular order) that inspire total transformation. Click on each photo to read more.

Seven Years in Tibet

Swiss Family Robinson

Children of Huang Shi


The Four Feathers

Medicine Man

Midnight Express

The Last Samurai

The Mosquito Coast

Dances with Wolves

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