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International Relations on Film

Robert W. Gregg
ISBN: 978-1-55587-675-3
1998/310 pages/LC: 97-4074

"Gregg provides an encyclopedia account of movies that relate to international relations.... [His] wide knowledge of both the discipline and movies allows for a fairly precise matching between the two."—Steven Hartlaub, International Politics

"International Relations on Film offers instructors a valuable alternative means of reaching students who are increasingly technology worldly yet remarkably uninformed about the world in which they lived."—Juliann Emmons Allison, American Political Science Review

"International Relations on Film makes an important contribution and provides a much needed, fresher outlook on the subject."—Costas M. Constantinou, Political Studies

”A remarkably well-written, fun-to-read book that makes a unique contribution to the international relations literature. Gregg provides a skillful and sophisticated integration of IR concepts and the films in which those concepts are reflected.”—Judyth Twigg


This welcome exploration of the ways in which feature films depict the various aspects of international relations considers the utility of the feature film as a vehicle to dramatize issues and events, challenge conventional wisdom, rouse an audience to anger, and even revise history.

Gregg makes a strong case for the value of films as a window on the real world of international relations. Focusing on ten issues—each the subject of a chapter—he provides an overview of each, discusses the major concepts that have been employed by scholars to understand and explain it, and points to the trends that have characterized the evolution of international relations in the area. In each case, he cites feature films and then uses them to illustrate the ways in which popular culture has illuminated those concepts and trends.

An appendix of the approximately 125 films discussed in the text provides a brief summary of contents and relevance, as well as information about directors, casts, dates of release, etc.

The book is intended for use in IR courses and also as a source of ideas for teachers seeking new ways to enliven course materials.


Robert W. Gregg is professor in the School of International Service, American University. His numerous publications include About Face? The United States and the United Nations.


  • Understanding International Relations: The Role of Film.
  • The Dilemma of Sovereignty.
  • Nationalism and Its Discontents.
  • Civil Strife and Intervention.
  • Espionage and Subversion.
  • Decisionmaking and Crisis Management.
  • The Tragedy of War.
  • Economic Interdependence and Development.
  • Ethics and International Law.
  • The Clash of Cultures.
  • The Domestic Roots of International Relations.
  • Epilogue.