Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
America Movie Poster Image
Highly charged docu has strongly conservative message.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Depending on your political beliefs, the film's message about conspiracy and destruction will either resonate with you or not. The arguments are stated as fact, then all material included is designed to confirm that presumption.

Positive Role Models

Carefully selected actions and words in reenactments of events and speeches by Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Alexis de Tocqueville, and other historical figures are used to bolster the filmmakers' ideas. Conservative politicians and intellectuals are presented as admirable, dedicated, and insightful, while all representatives of the left (including earnest academics) are depicted as either naive or wrong-headed. Some liberal leaders and scholars are blatantly accused of wanting to destroy the American way of life. 


Re-enactments of historical battles show gunfire, bayonets, and violent hand-to-hand combat; men are killed and fall to the ground. One theoretical scene shows a sniper firing on and killing George Washington. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few characters smoke (particularly in the filmed reenactments).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that America -- a documentary film from Dinesh D'Souza and John Sullivan -- has a distinctly conservative point of view. It uses interviews, newsreel footage, reenactments (some showing violent battles with rifles, bayonets, and on-camera deaths), as well as speeches and the written words of America's founders to claim that there's an ongoing conspiracy, fuelled by leftist radicals, to shame America, undermine the country's principles, and ultimately cause its destruction by "suicide" from within. D'Souza is the interviewer, the narrator, and the lecturer. A few short scenes depart from actual history -- i.e. in a reenactment, George Washington is killed by a sniper's bullet, but he's soon on screen again, alive and well, as he leads the country in its formative years.​ How this film will be perceived depends mostly on viewers' existing attitudes and beliefs. ​For those who come to the film with no preconceptions, it’s crucial to have resources for fact-checking and to understand who the players are and what they hope to achieve.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bynuenjins July 20, 2014

The servitude of biased reviews.

Whilst the quality of the film is not 'Hollywood', the purpose of the film is not focused on entertainment. To give it one star and then state misinfo... Continue reading
Adult Written byDrThomas July 10, 2014

Share the Truth!

Well, given the fact that Common Sense Media gave this film one star, I guess we know which side of the political fence they're on. The wrong one.

Anyway... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byShadow21 November 13, 2014

Mildly violent

Really nothing bad, just a few mild battle scenes and a sort of semi-hanging(the man lives). Also, a brief but brutal beating scene
Teen, 14 years old Written byMalpacka99 July 20, 2014

Appreciation for America

I thought this movie was very rich in history. I learned about past events and the true meaning of America. I can't believe whoever wrote this review-edito... Continue reading

What's the story?

Divided into three parts, AMERICA argues that the American people are being tricked into believing that the country unfairly bears responsibility for tragic circumstances that occurred throughout its history. And that, the film states is no accident, positing that covert forces hope they can polarize the nation by shaming American citizens, remaking the country as a leftist socialist nation with little influence in the world. Filmed reenactments are used in an attempt to shore up these theories. Great statesmen and thinkers (Abraham Lincoln, Alexis de Tocqueville, Ronald Reagan, Frederick Douglass, etc.) are quoted and portrayed. Academics and politicians are interviewed at length, as are Native American, Mexican-American, and African-American activists. In Part One, the film lists and develops the five crimes for which the United States is mistakenly blamed: Theft of Land (and genocide against the Native American population), Theft of Territory (the victim: Mexico), Theft of Labor (slavery and the resulting segregation and racism), Theft of Resources (victim: the world), and Theft of the American Dream (victim: the American people; perpetrator: greedy capitalists). Part Two refutes each of those charges, one by one (i.e., America wasn't the only country that had slaves; whites were slaves elsewhere; there were "more black slave owners than white ones," etc.). Part Three concerns the "Who...?" That is, who wants us to take the blame, and why? The film's answer: The conspiracy of shame is primarily the product of the teachings of an unscrupulous radical: Saul Alinsky (a writer and political activist known as the founder of "community organizing"). His protegees? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, among others.

Is it any good?

For those who are inclined to agree with D'Souza and his colleagues, America will be an example of documentary filmmaking at its most enlightening. For those who disagree, it will seem a shoddy diatribe. In any case, it's an argument masquerading as a movie. While some of the performances in the reenactments are excellent (Don Taylor as Lincoln is particularly good) and some visuals of the country show its awesome beauty, the majority of the film is overly dramatic (for example, the relentless pounding of a blacksmith's forge is intercut with lovely landscapes), unnecessarily violent (bloody battle scenes with multiple deaths), and filled with hypotheses that are thin at best, inaccurate and purposefully provocative at worst. Mostly, it attempts to justify America's behavior by pointing out similar behavior by other countries.

Paranoia is the film's most unsettling element. Particularly disturbing is D'Souza's handling of some of the interviewees (for instance, a spokeswoman for the Sioux tribe and a professor of African-American studies), who seem like they might disagree with him if they fully understood his purpose. They bring a wide variety of opinions, perspectives, and motives to the microphone, but -- after the interviews -- D'Souza manages to refute the evidence of the experts who disagree with his premise. In fact, he uses their own words, earnestness, and trust to bolster his own claims in opposition. Finally, having previously taken on Obama in 2016: Obama's America, D'Souza here focuses on Hillary Clinton. "Reenactments" of her college days show her to be in the thrall of Saul Alinsky's radicalism and secretly working to undermine the American way of life as she moves forward. Bottom line? The worth of this film is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of historical reenactments to heighten a film's message. In dramatic movies "based on" or "inspired by" true stories, viewers have come to accept the fact that the filmmakers imagine what might happened in individual scenes. Is this true for documentaries, or should there be a different standard?

  • Discuss the various goals of filmmaking: to inform, to entertain, or to persuade. What is the primary purpose of America? How do you know? Why is it important to understand the filmmakers' purpose?

  • Do you think documentaries are required to be objective? Why or why not?

  • Did this movie show you or help you "imagine a world without America"? If not, why do you think that phrase/tagline was part of the film's marketing? 

Movie details

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