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Movies, Myth, and the National Security State

Dan O’Meara, Alex Macleod, Frédérick Gagnon, and David Grondin
Movies, Myth, and the National Security State
ISBN: 978-1-62637-459-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-707-3
2016/293 pages
"Highly engaging and thought provoking. Sweeping in its analysis, this book brings together a sophisticated discussion of US political history since World War II with a very sharp evaluation of movies during the distinct eras of these years."—Robert Snyder, Southwestern University


While analysts may agree that Hollywood movies have always both mirrored and helped to shape the tenor of their times, the question remains: Just how do they do it? And how do we identify the underlying political/ideological content of a film?

Movies, Myth, and the National Security State answers these questions, exploring how Hollywood movies have served to propagate, or to debate, or sometimes to challenge the evolving US national security state since 1945. Drawing on more than a thousand films—and focusing in detail on 48 films that address key issues confronting the US and its sense of self and role in the world—the authors provide insights into US political life as it has developed across some seven decades.


Dan O'Meara and Alex Macleod are professors of international relations at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). Frédérick Gagnon is associate professor of political science at UQAM. David Grondin is professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Montreal.


  • Introduction.
  • The National Security State and Hollywood Movies.
  • John Ford's Calvary Trilogy and the Didactics of National Security.
  • McCarthyism, Film Noir, and the National Security State.
  • Hitchcock: From the Red Scare to Détente.
  • The Hollywood Revolution.
  • The Hollywood Counterrevolution.
  • Vietnam—The Sequel.
  • National Security for the "New World Order."
  • Hollywood and the War in Iraq.
  • Movies, Myth, and the National Security State.