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War Stories

The advent of war movies is still going strong. More often than not, a blockbuster has more to do with war and the soldiers involved than it has to do with the every-day problems we’re used to in sit-coms. But they’re not all directed towards a patriotic audience. A Few Good Men makes the viewer question actions, Enemy at the Gates is solely to do with the war between the Russians and the Germans, so what is the real purpose behind filming war stories if not to make an American audience feel patriotic?

  • It would also be useful to think of the time period of the film. Films in the first half of the twentieth century may certainly have been filmed for a patriotic audience, while modern films deviate from such a purpose. When writing about war films, one writes about the culture of the time. But on the other hand, with the demise of such strong nationalism comes another movement of very strong patriotism, seen mostly in country, southern, and rural cultures. I think the best film to talk about when tackling this subject would be American Sniper. It has stirred both patriotism and anger in many viewers. – HeatherDeBel 6 years ago
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  • It is questionable whether war films are really meant to leave audiences -- American ones, especially -- with an enhanced feeling of patriotism. Going through a list of great war movies Hollywood has produced through the decades, one would have to include "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930), "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Paths of Glory" (both 1957) all the way up to "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Thin Red Line" (both 1998). All of those films are really anti-war movies, examining the futility and folly of combat. It is more difficult to think of any stellar, non-propaganda films that really seem to invoke patriotism to promote warfare. – John Wilson 6 years ago
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  • Interesting, so your case would be that war movies come out to go against war, not really with it. I like the examples you gave, so I'm guessing Enemy at the Gates is an exception to that rule? – SpectreWriter 6 years ago
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