- Propaganda film
Why We Fight" Series depicts the Nazi propaganda machine.]
A propaganda film is a
film, either a documentary-style production or a fictional screenplay, that is produced to convince the viewer of a certain political point or influence the opinions or behavior of people, often by providing deliberately misleading, propagandistic content. [Bennett, Todd. "The celluloid war: state and studio in Anglo-American propaganda film-making, 1939-1941." The International History Review 24.1 (March 2002): 64(34).]
One of the early fictional films to be used for propaganda was "
The Birth of a Nation", although it was not produced for the purposes of indoctrination. In 1918, Charlie Chaplinmade, at his own expense, " The Bond", a comedicpropaganda film for World War I. In the years following the October Revolutionof 1917, the Soviet government sponsored the Russian film industry with the purpose of making propaganda films.
The development of Russian cinema in the 1920s by such
filmmakers as Dziga Vertovand Sergei Eisensteinsaw considerable progress in the use of the motion picture as a propaganda tool, yet it also served to develop the art of moviemaking. Eisenstein's films, in particular " The Battleship Potemkin", are seen as masterworks of the cinema, even as they glorify Eisenstein's Communistideals.
The 1930s and 1940s, which saw the rise of
totalitarianstates and the Second World War, are arguably the "Golden Age of Propaganda". During this time Leni Riefenstahl, a filmmaker working in Nazi Germany, created what is arguably the greatest propaganda movie of all time: " Triumph of the Will", a film commissioned by Hitlerto chronicle the 1934 Nazi Partyrally in Nuremberg. Despite its controversial subject, the film is still recognized today for its influential revolutionary approaches to using musicand cinematography.
In the United States during
World War II, filmmaker Frank Capracreated a seven-part series of films to support the war effort entitled " Why We Fight." This series is considered a highlight of the propaganda film genre. Other propaganda movies, such as " Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" and "Casablanca", have become so well-loved by film viewers that they can stand on their own as dramatic films, apart from their original role as propaganda vehicles. [cite news | url=http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/casablanca/bmp_report_casablanca.cfm | title=Casablanca | publisher= Digital History|date= 2006 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-05-17]
Many of the dramatic
war films in the early 1940s in the United Stateswere designed to create a patrioticmindset and convince viewers that sacrifices needed to be made to defeat "the enemy." One of the conventions of the genrewas to depict a racial and socioeconomic cross-sectionof the United States, either a platoonon the front lines or soldiers training on a base, which come together to fight for the good of the country. In Italy, at the same time, film directors like Roberto Rosselliniproduced propaganda films for similar purposes.
During the 1960s, the United States produced propaganda films that cheerily instructed civilians how to build homemade
fallout shelters, to protect themselves in the event of nuclear war.
For more discussion of propaganda and some examples of it in
short films from the United States, see the 10-volume CD-ROMcollection "Our Secret Century". For a satirical subversion of the United States military's 1960s propaganda regarding the safety of radioactivematerials, see " The Atomic Cafe".
* [http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger Prelinger Archives] : from the
Internet Archive, collection of World War IIand Cold War-era American sponsored films of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s (many of which can be classified as propaganda)
** "Duck and Cover" [http://www.archive.org/movies/details-db.php?id=372 (link)]
Don't Be a Sucker!" [http://www.archive.org/details/DontBeaS1947 (link)]
My Japan" [http://www.archive.org/movies/details-db.php?id=724 (link)]
Perversion for Profit" [http://www.archive.org/details/Perversi1965 (link)]
** " [http://www.archive.org/movies/details-db.php?id=905 Red Chinese Battle Plan] "
** " [http://americanimage.unm.edu/propagandafilmmaker.html Propaganda Filmmaker: Make Your Own Propaganda Film]
** " [http://www.propagandacritic.com/gallery/index.html Propagandacritic Video Gallery]
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