Hollywood and the war machine

 EMPIRE, as presented on Al Jazeera
Empire examines the symbiotic relationship between the movie industry and the military-industrial complex.
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.

Hollywood  Video Icon
The Pentagon calls the shots
Producer: Diana Ferraro
Hollywood: Chronicler of the war
Producer: Tim Tate

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?

Empire will examine Hollywood, the Pentagon, and war.

Joining us as guests: Oliver Stone, the eight times Academy Award-winning filmmaker; Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker; and Christopher Hedges, an author and the former Middle East bureau chief of the New York Times.

Our interviewees are: Phil Strub, US Department of Defense Film Liaison Unit; Julian Barnes, Pentagon correspondent, LA Times; David Robb, the author of  Operation Hollywood; Prof Klaus Dodds, the author ofScreening Terror; Matthew Alford, the author of Reel Power; Prof Melani McAlister, the author of Culture, Media, and US Interests in the Middle East.

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3 thoughts on “Hollywood and the war machine

  1. At long last, a group brave enough to lift the curtain on the collusion between Hollywood and the military/industrial/congressional complex! We are assaulted daily, hourly with glowing ads for our military machine that marches across the globe deciding other nation’s motives (Iraq, Iran, etc.),
    rights(the Palestinians, no need to name more..)and putting our blood and $ as global police, which I know is dwarfed by the “black budget” and black ops that decide countries leadership in a
    “permanent” way. I’m thankful for the people who give their lives to protect us, but that
    paradigm has been set on its head. Now, especially after the appalling aftermath of 8 years of Cheney/Bush’s Viking-like destruction of countries, we now have been brain-washed into a
    meek, no questions asked acceptance of any military escapades! Respect for other countries
    holds no muster with the DOD, CIA, and all the Black water corporate types who feel they can
    rape and pillage. God help anyone who would even dare breathe a question or label what is done by them as evil, wrong or causing our globe further destruction because of the ruination these military power moguls leave in their wake. What did Washington say about avoiding
    foreign entanglements? Ha! We seem to seek them out with a vengeance whose genesis
    leads right back to the military/industrial board rooms who have enriched themselves to the
    loss of the people who are sent to foreign wars and when those who are able to return, have
    to beg Congress for what is due them for their sacrifice. Just look at the vets having to beg
    on street corners…Where’s Halliburton’s humanity? Stupid question, their rulers have none.
    Our video games are just dulling to the senses of the young by showing visceral murders,
    complete with such mayhem that only a fool would say it would leave no affect upon a
    developing mind! I am saddened by the way our country is being reduced to a heartless,
    uncaring nation that glories in war. Where will this all lead?

  2. Very similar to one of the main themes in AMERICAN DREAM – GLOBAL NIGHTMARE by Sardar and Davies from about ten years ago. Very interesting read.

    1. Very interesting, Steve! I have also heard/read that “V is for Vendetta” and “The Matrix” are both based on a 1984, Orwellian world. What are you thoughts about them?

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