Propaganda in Film

Discuss how Hollywood films employ propagandistic tactics in order to overtly or covertly influence their audience. Although this is especially prevalent in ‘war dramas’ such as American Sniper, propaganda does operate in many films on many levels, unbeknownst to most of us viewers. Who is designing and delivering these messages, and for what purpose? (This could be tackled from several different angles – specific areas of focus or suggestions for narrowing things down would be greatly appreciated!)

  • Yes! I just watched Civil War and it could be interesting to see how this subject would play out. The movie offers a "liberalish" view on terrorism, so would that be called propaganda? Spoiler Alert: The main guy becomes a terrorist/villain because the Avengers accidentally killed his son, so he decided to take revenge. It is very similar to the liberal argument that American foreign policy has created more terrorists, i.e. drones. By the way, I don't necessarily have a side here, but I think it is fair to say that this is a liberal argument, whether it is correct or not. Also, I would go back to Orwell's All Art is Propaganda. You cannot go wrong with Orwell. – ismael676 8 years ago
  • It would be good to analyze how ideology works on a subconscious level in the minds of the filmmakers, because I do not believe that some of the propaganda traits in movies are made on purpose. – Andrestrada 8 years ago
  • What we label 'propaganda' might actually cover a much wider field of investigation than the initial topic suggests. Is the issue of product placement not a form (a fairly blatant one) of propaganda? It would appear to be a direct effort to influence viewers and a have an effect on their behaviour. – ptoro 8 years ago
  • This analysis could benefit greatly from some historical backgrounding and contextualisation. Look back at the films created by Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany, and compare them to government-financed films of the same era from the US, Britain, and Canada (much has been written about the life and works of John Grierson, the founding commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada). Granted, any didactic piece of art can be viewed as "propaganda" - just pick any film, and take a close look at where its funding came from and the political views of the filmmaker - but it has become somewhat of a loaded term in recent years, chiefly due to media sensationalism and post-Foucauldian developments in the field of critical thinking. It would be a real shame for whoever writes this article to miss out on the obvious because he/she is too busy chasing the more benign phantoms lurking in contemporary media. – ProtoCanon 8 years ago
  • For a historical perspective, watching "The Triumph of the Will" is a great example of propaganda disguised as documentary. Leni Reifenstahl claimed she was just documenting the Nazi rally, while there is sufficient evidence that she manipulated the filming to put Hitler and the Nazi Party in the best possible light. – Tarben 8 years ago
  • Tarben, she may have done that to avoid the camps. The same seems true of Max Schmeling who mugged for photos with the feuhrer while privately disagreeing with his views. – Tigey 8 years ago

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