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War and Film in America

Americas chief exports are war and entertainment; combined, they are the war films viewed all over the world. The film industry is a partner of the government; American film shapes the ways in which both Americans and others view war. The authors herein explore differing film perspectives across five decades.

The essays, written especially for this volume, explore topics such as frontier justice, Cold War fervor, government-sponsored terrorism, the back-to-Nam films, films as a venue for propaganda, and war's far-reaching effects on personal values, family relationships, and general civility. The movies used in these analyses vary from conventional battle epics like Bridge on the River Kwai and The Green Berets to motion pictures with a war motif either as part of the story (The Way We Were) or as a historical setting (The Graduate). Some of the films are satirical (Dr. Strangelove); some are propagandistic (The Alamo, Big Jim McLain). Other films include Black Hawk Down, True Lies, The Deer Hunter, Patriot Games and Let There Be Light.

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About the Author

Marilyn J. Matelski is a professor of communication at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She is also the author of Soap Operas Worldwide (1999). Nancy Lynch Street is a professor of communication studies at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Together they have also authored American Businesses in China (2003).


"recommended"--Choice; "eclectic contributions...merit[s] perusing"--Film & History; "thought-provoking...will appeal to movie fans as well as military professionals...the essays, which are solid, objective, and interesting, show how the movies have to fit into the spectrum of American life over the past 60 years"--Military Review.

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