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Western Animation / America: The Motion Picture

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America: The Motion Picture is an R-rated Netflix-exclusive animated film produced by Phil Lord & Chris Miller and released the week of American Independence Day in 2021.

It’s an intentionally comedic and largely fantastical retelling of The American Revolution, set in an Anachronism Stew-drenched alternate 1776; after the traitorous Benedict Arnold (who also happens to be a werewolf in this depiction) storms Independence Hall to steal the freshly-signed Declaration of Independence and torch the place along with its signatories, the British Empire reigns supreme over the beleaguered Americans. It’s now up to George Washington to lead a rag-tag team of alternate versions of various notable people from across American history in overthrowing the British and avenging the murder of his best friend Abraham Lincoln.

The film features the voices of Channing Tatum, Jason Mantzoukas, Simon Pegg, Olivia Munn, Judy Greer, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, and Killer Mike. It was met with mixed to negative reviews from critics who praised the animation, concept, and cast, but criticized the film as unfunny.

Has no relation to America: The Book.


  • Affectionate Parody: The depiction of the American Revolution and many historical figures is hardly accurate, but it's clearly just doing it to have fun and parody typical American Revolution stories and films. The film also pokes fun at a variety of contemporary franchise movies, but is similarly done clearly out of enjoyment of those films.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • A lot of George and Lincoln's backstory shows them being Heterosexual Life-Partners. That said, George admits that they both lost their virginities together, and he even keeps a picture of the "Lincoln Log" for sentimental reasons.
    • When George tells Martha that he and Lincoln had lost their virginities together, Martha gives the following line...
      Martha: Oh I get it. I've been to Paris. [wink]
  • Ambiguously Gay: Abraham Lincoln. Mary Todd is never mentioned, Abraham offers to go on a double-date with Arnold and "Rich", he is astonishingly cool with the idea of Arnold coming out (though straight/gay allyship might be commonplace given the film's version of America) and George admits that he and Lincoln had both lost their virginities on the same night together.
  • Anachronism Stew: It would be easier to list the ways the movie doesn't play fast and loose with period-accurate technology, never mind which historical figures appear in the story. Lampshaded several times, when certain terms are used (such as "hold the phone") and are immediately questioned because they have no concept of what a phone is.
    George Washington: (After a Dynamic Entry) Ding-dong - it's America, motherfucker!
    Benedict Arnold: Did you practice that line in the car on your way here?
    George Washington: What the fuck is a car?!
  • Artistic License – History: This goes without saying, but none of the movie's events are historically accurate.
  • Asian and Nerdy: In this depiction Thomas Edison is a young Chinese woman who is able to invent and build various devices to an Iron Man-esque degree.
  • Asshole Victim: King James is such a dick that when Benedict Arnold betrays and murders him, you don't really feel sorry for him.
  • Assimilation Plot: As revealed about halfway through, King James' plan to crush the Revolution is to steep the Americans in Tea, thereby making them British.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The title card advertises that the movie is "based on actual history", which is accurate by an incredibly lenient interpretation of "based".
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: For the most part it's fairly easy to tell who are the good and the bad guys this way.
  • Big Bad: Benedict Arnold, who is a werewolf.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Washington realizes this in the end as he makes his address to the people, and sees the 'boorish' side of the Eagleland tropes start to form.
  • Bland-Name Product: There's a sign for "Britweiser" beer in the Vietnam pub, then there's "Colonial Sanders' Fried Chicken" and an arcade cabinet named "Yankee Kong". Wal-Mart also becomes "Y'all-Mart".
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: George must do battle with Martha, whose been given an Evil Brit make-over, complete with yellow teeth, a British uniform and cockney accent.
  • Breaking the Cycle of Bad Parenting: One of George's biggest wishes is to not turn out like his father, who he describes as a guy who took out all of his insecurities onto him when he was a child.
  • Brits Love Tea: As it turns out, exposure to tea is capable of turning American revolutionaries into British, a fact which the British intend to weaponize.
  • Bullet Seed: During the final battle Johnny Appleseed is briefly seen doing this with, well, apple seeds against the British Redcoats. They get suddenly engulfed in tree branches/roots.
  • Burn the Witch!: Parodied. The British try to burn Edison for practicing what is explicitly science and referred to as such, but is treated like it's witchcraft, but her tech lets her easily escape.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Martha, to almost a parodic level, complete with near non-stop Jiggle Physics.
  • Casting Gag: Will Forte voices Abraham Lincoln in yet another Lord and Miller production.
  • Eagleland: The general setting of the movie is one giant stew of American culture past and present, so a lot of qualities about American culture - both good and bad - are present.
  • Expy: Given who directed the film and who produced it, it makes sense why this movies tone barrows a lot from Archer and Clone High.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • George gets this when Edison says that the team needs to code the coordinates for the Gettysburg address.
    • Edison herself gets this when Samuel Addams says that beer is the opposite of tea, which gives her the idea of how to stop Arnold's plan of using British tea to turn all of the Americans into British people.
  • Evil Brit:
    • King James sounds very evil with Simon Pegg at the helm. Since King James is the king of the British, it makes this trope more meaningful.
    • Benedict Arnold is also this. Despite actually being born in America, he can pull off a convincing British accent.
  • Fat Bastard: King James is about as wide as he is tall and has a very unpleasant personality.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
  • Greater-Scope Villain: King James.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Paul Revere on his horse runs away with a bomb that's about to blow up, to save his newfound friends who were caught in a trap, but his horse Clyde drops him and convinces him to go back to George Washington and the others, being suddenly able to talk (with a Hispanic accent even). Then the animal gets killed in the resulting explosion.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: George claims that his father was "a real man's man", which he describes as a misogynist who took out his own insecurities onto his children.
  • Historical Domain Superperson: Benedict Arnold, a military officer who served in the American Revolution, is a werewolf who's the Big Bad of the film.
  • Historical Gender Flip: Thomas Edison is a woman in this version.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • Parodied with George Washington, who bares no resemblance to the actual Washington but is instead cast as a typical Reluctant Idiot Hero type protagonist. He naturally lacks many of the real man's moral failings, namely the whole 'slave' thing, and is depicted as being uncomfortable with the genocides against the Natives whilst the real Washington ordered various skirmishes against Native enemies, but he also lacks almost all of Washington's genuine leadership skills.
    • Subverted with Samuel Adams, who is one of the protagonists, but is depicted as the Token Evil Teammate who's a somewhat more accurate idea of what American revolutionaries were like in terms of social norms and attitudes (albeit, is depicted with a Frat Bro personality).
    • Thomas Edison is somewhat infamous nowadays for being a ruthless businessman and there's a lot of shady practices they're guilty of. They were also, of course, not part of the American Revolution.
  • Historical In-Joke: Plenty to go around alongside the Anachronism Stew.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • While Benedict Arnold was hardly a good person in real life, he was never a power-hungry megalomaniac, let alone a werewolf.
    • Whichever King James this is meant to be. While neither was necessarily pleasant, they were certainly not the cartoonishly evil megalomaniac depicted here. They were also not even the king at the time of the revolution.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: King James towards Martha, and later again Benedict towards her.
  • Insane Troll Logic: To find the Gettysburg Address (here a literal address in Gettysburg, the location of which Benedict is supposedly heading to), George comes up with the theory that Abe, who he claims was a cryptologist, named the country "America" as a secret code to help him find it, despite this having nothing to do with Abe or his death and him dying long before the location was even established. Even better, when George solves the "code", it's literally a matter of deciding A=1, and thus the address is "1, Merica St".
  • Irony: The British plot to turn all American's British... during a period of history when most people in the colonies were already British.
  • Meaningful Name: Paul Revere's steed Clyde is a Clydesdale horse.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Benedict Arnold tells Lincoln that he "switched teams", Lincoln congratulates him for "embracing his true self", only to clarify that he's actually siding with the British.
    Arnold: I'm gonna be fuckin' rich!
    Lincoln: Oh, Rich sounds like a great guy! Would love to meet him. Maybe we can do a double date.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The cape wearing British soldier with Benedict Arnold at the beginning appears to be of higher authority then a standard Redcoat, and fittingly puts up a decent fight against Washington using dual rapiers. Arnold even outright calls him a miniboss.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Martha Washington, to a parodic level.
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: Similar to Sengoku Basara, when Geronimo first appears, he's riding a horse with handlebars coming out of its head.
  • Never Gets Fat: Samuel Adams boasts that all he does is drink and party, but is still so muscular and toned because of all the sex he's having.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Both used and subverted. Martha Washington always covers her breasts with her arms or sheets, but a random unnamed girl takes her top off during the illegal horse race... and when she reappears among numerous other extras during the final battle, she's still topless.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Parodied. When Martha and George have a one-night stand, the second George climaxes, Martha declares that she's pregnant with his kid.
    Martha: Well... I'm pregnant.
    George: What?! Just now?
    Martha: Yup.
    George: You're sure?
    Martha: A woman knows.
  • Only Sane Man: Geronimo and Edison share this role among their group.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The main villain of the movie is the traitorous Benedict Arnold, who is reimagined as the type of werewolf who can turn at will and enjoys killing.
  • Period Piece, Modern Language: This is an anachronistic take on the American Revolution, so the characters speak in modern tongue (complete with slang and curse words) for the joke.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Samuel Adams is portrayed as an obnoxious Fratbro with a lot of sexist and racist things to say towards his allies. The big reason why he hates the British so much is because they interfere whenever he and his "bros" pick fights with people who look different than them. Ironically this makes him one of the more historically accurate characters, comic-bookish anachronisms not-withstanding.
  • Race Lift: Thomas Edison is both a female and Chinese in this movie.
  • Raised by Wolves: Paul Revere's Suspiciously Specific Denial suggests he was raised by Horses. His steed Clyde might literally be his brother.
  • Reverse the Polarity: Edison uses beer to reverse the British teabagging machine so it instead seeds the clouds with beer, converting the British into Americans.
  • Rule of Cool: The movie plays like Drunk History story as told by a frat bro who's failing history class, caring less about accuracy and more about what's cool.
  • Running Gag:
    • In the beginning, characters mistake one another for different people whose name is almost the same save for a letter off, e.g. "Samuel Adems" or "George Washingten".
    • Whenever George says something that sounds like a quote, he always adds "John 3:16" at the end.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Benedict Arnold is identified both as a werewolf and as a skinwalker. These are two completely different mythic concepts from completely different cultures. Skinwalkers are also a Navajo concept, yet Geronimo, an Apache, calls it something "his people" know of.
  • Schizo Tech: Along with the many anachronisms there's also things like King James' hover platform, Edison's lightning gauntlets, Paul Revere becoming a cyborg-centaur and at one point a steampunk looking messenger droid uses a candle and crystal to project a hologram.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Small Reference Pools: The Movie - if there's a famous character needed, they'll use them regardless of time period, up to and including the Titanic being used to import British teaspoons.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Thomas Edison.
  • The Starscream: Benedict Arnold is this to King James to the point where he straight up kills him.
  • Stock Scream: A Howie Long scream accompanies Paul Revere's dramatic leap into the horse race.
  • Take That!: Pretty much constantly throughout to jingoistic American Nationalism, with George constantly having My God, What Have I Done? moments when he realizes what he's creating, and both Geronimo and John Henry admitting they're only helping them with the revolution because the Brits are even worse.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: As the citizens of the newly-minted America devolve into infighting over various grievances, George Washington gives the final line of the film:
    "We're gonna fuck this up, aren't we?"
  • 24-Hour Armor: Paul Revere says he's never taken off his armor after the Blacksmith made it for him, and indeed we never see him wearing anything else.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: Near the end, George says to Samuel Adams (who now after the final battle has greying hair) that when Martha gives birth to his son, he will make him his Honorary Uncle, and gives him a top hat with stars and stripes as a present. Adams then wears it and says something like "Uncle Sam? Sounds good!" while pointing the finger towards the viewer.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Paul Revere is fused to his decapitated horse to become a RoboCop-esque cyborg centaur.
  • Weaponized Landmark: When the British invade, they have Big Ben as a Humongous Mecha that kills Paul Bunyan by sending a cuckoo through his head.
  • Wild Child: Abraham Lincoln was apparently like this as a child, having lived in a "tree-home" and smelled of possums.