10. Executive Decision Really Hated Muslims
Executive Decision, the directorial debut of editor Stuart Baird, was a safe bet on blockbuster success. It checked every box that mid-90s action movies needed: a major star (Kurt Russell), a major action star (Steven Seagal), a great supporting cast and a high-concept premise: terrorists take over 747 headed to D.C. with a load of deadly chemicals set to blow upon landing.
Their only hope is a dastardly, stealth mid-air board of marines to track the terrorist with the kill switch or de-active the explosive before the politicians decide to put the film's title to use and blow the plane before it reaches its target.
America, in 1996, had little experience with Muslim extremism, the most infamous being the car bomb at the World Trade Centre. So with such little public knowledge of non-domestic terrorism, Muslims were never depicted with kid gloves. Executive Decision treats its lead terrorist (played by the English David Suchet) as a monster with only one goal: destroy the great Satan.
Five years later, producers would be skittish even displaying the Twin Towers in films that had nothing to do with terrorism - the first to do so meaningfully was Spike Lee's 25th Hour, which has its opening credits play over the wreckage.
Today, we still struggle with how to depict terrorists onscreen, but we certainly put more thought into it than Decision. Hell, even episodes of 24 were more discerning.