Iraqi film fans are delving into American history to help them understand more about the United States.

The top video store in Baghdad - Iraq's capital - reports regulars are flocking in to pick up copies of 2001 movie The Patriot, in which Mel Gibson uses guerilla-style tactics against occupying British forces during the Colonial War.

Other films flying off video shelves in Iraq's capital include action movies starring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Jet Li.

Meanwhile, according to official reports, ousted Iraqi leader SADDAM HUSSEIN instructed his war chiefs to watch Enemy at the Gates and BLACK HAWK DOWN before the conflict, in a bid to learn more about American and British war efforts over the years.