Film is the only art in which the United States has made a real difference. Strike the American contribution from drama, painting, music, sculpture, dance, even possibly from poetry and the novel, and the world’s achievement is only marginally diminished. But film without the American contribution is unimaginable. The fact that film has been the most potent vehicle of the American imagination suggests all the more strongly that movies have something to tell us not just about the surfaces but about the mysteries of American life.
—Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.