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Myths and Stereotypes in American Film

Finally, the film industry has expressed in movies an exaggerated perception of what the "American Dream." A foreigner would see the American culture to be based on the idealism of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The phrase "life in America" brings to mind images of living in the perfect neighborhood, having a big home, a beautiful and perfect family and money would never be a burden. The perception of the American Dream is initiated by several American films. The movie screens portray illusions of freedom, wealth, romance, and happy endings. Those of us who reside in the United States recognize the reality that the average population the American Dream is nothing more than a myth.

"When we look at our society, we can see that many of our myths are wish-fulfillment but even that tells us something about the society that dreams such dreams. The American Dream is the American Myth. Our 'dream' is the fantasy of an individualistic, capitalistic society, and the uncritical literary presentations of the story of the poor boy who gets rich are its myths--as are the true stories that stick to the basic plotline. And although they may not be reflections of American reality, they are reflections of American ideals" (Nestvold).

Individuals entering into the American culture see only what the camera allows them to see, a filtered image of American society. Transition into America society may be very different from one's own ethnic background. Such a movie took that aspect in a different view, the comedy film Coming to America. Coming to America was about an African prince, Akeem, and his servant, Semmi, who heads to America, Queens, New York to be specific, in hopes of finding a wife whom he can marry for love and not an arranged marriage like his father wants. Akeem finds a woman, Lisa, after getting rid of all of his riches and working at a McDonalds-like restaurant. At the end of the movie both Akeeem and Lisa married and had a happy ending. Coming to America was a film look at the "American Dream" in a different but essentially had the same ending. It can be concluded that the American film industry does not portray a complete image of American culture to one looking inward through the glass window. The film industry deprives its consumers from the real American culture.

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