In any case, today's USA Today includes an interesting article by Michael Medved on these movies: "In search of inspiration." I think he's hit the nail on its head. Here's an excerpt:
Beyond our undeniable national love affair with football, we have indulged an even longer-standing romance with underdogs and uplift. Americans clearly crave the experience of coming into a multiplex, plunking down our 10 bucks and then coming out of the darkness feeling better than when we entered. This should surprise no one, since most citizens of this country descend from imperiled voyagers who came here on immigrant ships or slave ships, clinging to unreasonable hopes and a stubborn belief in fresh starts and second chances. This nation remains the world center for overcoming obstacles and winning improbable victories that are by no means limited to the world of sports. In business, the arts, the military, even politics, prohibitive favorites regularly see themselves upset and surprised by disadvantaged nobodies from nowhere, the proverbial hicks from Hicksville. To some extent, that's the American dream that still inspires tens of millions of our unshakably optimistic countrymen, both native-born and immigrants, and in Hollywood's “Golden Age” in the '30s and '40s, the greatest filmmakers regularly celebrated these stirring underdog stories.
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