Nobody embodied American ideals more than Sicilian immigrant turned official American myth-maker Frank Capra. In celebration of his 108th birth anniversary, here is his 1982 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, with James Stewart (who just kills at this sort of thing), Donna Reed, and then Capra himself. The great man's flair for the dramatic, the comic and the heartfelt did not desert him in his old age and he uses it all here, thanking his family, collaborators, and, with tears in his eyes, his departed parents who brought him to America from Sicily.
To young filmmakers he says emphatically:
"Don't follow trends. Start trends. Don't compromise. Believe in yourself. Because only the valiant can create. Only the daring should make films. And only the morally courageous are worthy of speaking to their fellow man for two hours and in the dark."