Empire: Hollywood and the War Machine

Empire: Hollywood and the War Machine
Produced by Al Jazeera English

“The big loser in all this is the audience. What you’re getting is sort of a steady drip, drip, drip, drip of propaganda being put into American films and over the years, I belive the real danger in all this is that it has made the American people more war-like.” -David Robb, author of Operation Hollywood

War is hell, but for Hollywood it has been a Godsend, providing the perfect dramatic setting against which courageous heroes win the hearts and minds of the movie going public.

The Pentagon recognises the power of these celluloid dreams and encourages Hollywood to create heroic myths; to rewrite history to suit its own strategy and as a recruiting tool to provide a steady flow of willing young patriots for its wars.

What does Hollywood get out of this ‘deal with the devil’? Access to billions of dollars worth of military kit, from helicopters to aircraft carriers, enabling filmmakers to make bigger and more spectacular battle scenes, which in turn generate more box office revenue. Providing they accept the Pentagon’s advice, even toe the party line and show the US military in a positive light.

So is it a case of art imitating life, or a sinister force using art to influence life and death – and the public perception of both?