Propaganda film
The term propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 can be defined as the ability to produce and spread fertile messages that, once sown, will germinate in large human cultures.” However, in the 20th century, a “new” propaganda emerged, which revolved around political organizations and their need to communicate messages that would “sway relevant groups of people in order to accommodate their agendas”. First developed by the Lumiere brothers in 1896, film provided a unique means of accessing large audiences at once. Film was the first universal mass medium in that it could simultaneously influence viewers as individuals and members of a crowd, which led to it quickly becoming a tool for governments and non-state organizations to project a desired ideological message. Propaganda films may be packaged in numerous ways, but are most often documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

-style productions or fictional screenplays, that are produced to convince the viewer on a specific political point or influence the opinions or behavior of the viewer, often by providing subjective content that may be deliberately misleading. As Nancy Show stated in her book, Information War: American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 9-11, propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 "begins where critical thinking ends."

Film as a propaganda tool

Film is a unique medium in that it reproduces images, movement, and sound in a life-like manner as it fuses meaning with evolvement as time passes in the story depicted. Unlike many other art forms, film produces a sense of immediacy. Film’s ability to create the illusion of life and reality, opening up new, unknown perspectives on the world, is why films, especially those of unknown cultures or places, are taken to be accurate depictions of life.

Some film academics have noted film’s great illusory abilities. Dziga Vertov
Dziga Vertov
David Abelevich Kaufman , better known by his pseudonym Dziga Vertov , was a Soviet pioneer documentary film, newsreel director and cinema theorist...

 claimed in his 1924 manifesto, “The Birth of Kino-Eye” that “the cinema-eye is cinema-truth.” To paraphrase Hilmar Hoffman, this means that in film, only what the camera ‘sees’ exists, and the viewer, lacking alternative perspectives, conventionally takes the image for reality.

Films are effective propaganda tools because they establish visual icons of historical reality and consciousness, define public attitudes of the time they’re depicting or that at which they were filmed, mobilize people for a common cause, or bring attention to an unknown cause. Political and historical films represent, influence, and create historical consciousness and are able to distort events making it a persuasive and possibly untrustworthy medium.


At the turn of the 20th century, films emerged as the new cultural agents, depicting events and showing foreign images to mass audiences in European and American cities. Politics and film began to intertwine with the reconstruction of the Boer War
Boer War
The Boer Wars were two wars fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics, the Oranje Vrijstaat and the Republiek van Transvaal ....

 for a film audience and recordings of war in the Balkans. The new medium proved very useful for political and military interests when it came to reaching a broad segment of the population and creating consent or encouraging rejection of the real or imagined enemy. They also provided a forceful voice for independent critics of contemporary events.

The earliest known propaganda film was a series of short silent films made during the Spanish American War in 1898 created by Vitagraph Studios. One of the early fictional films to be used for propaganda was The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 American silent film directed by D. W. Griffith and based on the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr. Griffith also co-wrote the screenplay , and co-produced the film . It was released on February 8, 1915...

, although it was not produced for the purposes of indoctrination.

World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

Film was still relatively new to urban audiences with the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. Governments’ use of film as propaganda reflected this. The British
British propaganda during World War I
In World War I, British propaganda took various forms, including pictures, literature and film. Britain also placed significant emphasis on atrocity propaganda as a way of mobilizing hatred against Germany....

 and Americans’ initial struggles in the official use of film led to eventual success in their use of the medium. The Germans were off to a faster start in recognizing film’s value as a tool of perpetuating pro-German sentiment in the US through the The American Correspondent Film Company as well as on the front lines with their mobile cinemas, which showed feature films and newsreels.

Though the Allied governments were slow to use film as a medium for conveying a desired position and set of beliefs, individuals, such as Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 were considerably more successful with The Bond
The Bond
The Bond is a propaganda film created by Charlie Chaplin at his own expense for the Liberty Load Committee for theatrical release to help sell U.S. Liberty Bonds during World War I....

 and Zepped.

Interwar Period

In the years following the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 of 1917, the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 government sponsored the Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n film industry with the purpose of making propaganda films. The development of Russian cinema in the 1920s by such filmmakers as Dziga Vertov
Dziga Vertov
David Abelevich Kaufman , better known by his pseudonym Dziga Vertov , was a Soviet pioneer documentary film, newsreel director and cinema theorist...

 and Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

 saw 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 1925's The Battleship Potemkin
The Battleship Potemkin
The Battleship Potemkin , sometimes rendered as The Battleship Potyomkin, is a 1925 silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm...

, are seen as masterworks of the cinema, even as they glorify Eisenstein's Communist ideals. In depicting the 1905 Russian Revolution Potemkin sought to create a new history for Russia, one led and triumphed over by the formerly oppressed masses. Eisenstein was heavily influenced by the ideology of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, which results in it providing better insight into the mindset of the later revolution than that which it depicted. Its dual purpose beyond forging a national Russian identity was to bring its revolutionary Communist message to the West. Its influence was feared in Germany to the extent that the government banned the film when it was released in the late 1920s. Another of Eisenstein's films, 1927's October, depicted the Bolshevik perspective on the October Revolution, culminating in the storming of the Winter Palace which provided Soviet viewers with the victory that the workers and peasants lacked in Battleship Potemkin, ending with Lenin (as played by an unknown worker) declaring that the government
Russian Provisional Government
The Russian Provisional Government was the short-lived administrative body which sought to govern Russia immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II . On September 14, the State Duma of the Russian Empire was officially dissolved by the newly created Directorate, and the country was...

 is overthrown. Because no documentary material existed of the storming of the palace, Eistenstein's re-creation of the event has become the source material for historians and filmmakers, giving it further legitimacy as the accepted historical record, which illustrates its success as a propaganda film.

Between the Great Wars Amerivan films velebrated the bravery of the American soldiers while depicting war as an existential nightmare. Films such as The Big Parade
The Big Parade
The Big Parade is a 1925 silent film. It tells the story of an idle rich boy who joins the US Army's Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I, becomes friends with two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare, and finds love with a French girl.The film was...

 depicted the horrors of trench warfare, the brutal destruction of villages, and the lack of provisions. Films advocating national policies received negative attention from the American population.

Meanwhile, Nazi filmmakers produced highly emotional films about the suffering of the German minority in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 and Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, which were crucial towards creating popular support for occupying the Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

 and attacking Poland. Films like the 1941 Heimkehr
Heimkehr is a 1941 German anti-Polish propaganda film directed by Gustav Ucicky.It received the rare honor "Film of the Nation," bestowed on films considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the national cause...

 (Homecoming) depicted the plight of homesick ethnic Germans in Poland longing to return to the Reich which in turn set the psychological conditions for the real attack and acceptance of the German policy, Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

 (living space).

World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

The 1930s and 1940s, which saw the rise of totalitarian states and the Second World War, are arguably the "Golden Age of Propaganda". Nazi control of the German film industry is the most extreme example of the use of film in the service of a fascist national program and, in 1933, Hitler created the Reich Ministry for People's Enlightenment and Propaganda and appointed the youthful Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 as its head. Fritz Hippler
Fritz Hippler
Fritz Hippler was a German filmmaker who ran the film department in the Propaganda Ministry of the Third Reich, under Joseph Goebbels. He is most famous as director of the propaganda film Der ewige Jude ....

, producer of one of the most powerful propaganda films of the time, 1940's The Wandering Jew, ran the film department under Goebbels. The Wandering Jew purported to be a documentary depicting the Jewish world, insinuating that the Jewish population was comprised of avaricious barbarians putting on a front for civilized European society, remaining indifferent and unaffected by the war. During this time Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl
Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens , a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party...

, a filmmaker working in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, created one of the best-known propaganda movies, Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will is a propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of...

, a film commissioned by Hitler to chronicle the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

. Despite its controversial subject, the film is still recognized for its revolutionary approach
Films that have been considered the greatest ever
While there is no general agreement upon the greatest film, many publications and organizations have tried to determine the films considered the best. The films mentioned in this article have all been mentioned in a notable survey – be it a popular poll or critics' poll...

 to using music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 and cinematography
Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

. Another of Riefenstahl’s films, 1938’s Olympia, was meant to prove that the Reichstag was a democratic and open society under Nazi rule. It had the perfect venue, the 1936 Berlin Olympics in which to showcase Adolf Hitler’s
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 Aryan ideals and prowess. One of the most notable shots in the film is Hitler congratulating the African American Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was an American track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the...

 on his four gold medals, whose successes spoiled Hitler’s wish to depict those of African descent as racially inferior. The film won a number of prestigious film awards but fell from grace, particularly in the United States when, in November 1938, the world learned of the pogrom against the Jews. Riefenstahl’s cinematic masterpiece, though temporarily effective propaganda, was unable to mitigate the growing awareness of the political realities in Nazi Germany.

In the United States during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 recognized that the direct style of propaganda would not win over the American public. He assigned Lowell Mellett
Lowell Mellett
Lowell Mellett was a journalist best known for supervising the series Why We Fight during World War 2.-Early life:Born in small-town Indiana, Mellett claimed his interest in public affairs came from holding a torch in rallies for rivals Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison since, as he wrote, "a...

 to the post of coordinator of government film. Although he had no jurisdiction over Hollywood films, he prssured the industry into helping the war effort. On January 13, 1945 Mellett stated in then-confidential testimony that he was assigned to persuade the movie industry to "insert morale-building and citizenry arousing themes in its films by all means possible." Luckily, many directors recognized the necessity(and likely the commercial success they would reap) of supporting the battle against fascism as public opinion lay with the war effort. One such filmmaker, Frank Capra
Frank Capra
Frank Russell Capra was a Sicilian-born American film director. He emigrated to the U.S. when he was six, and eventually became a creative force behind major award-winning films during the 1930s and 1940s...

, created a seven-part U.S. government-sponsored series of films to support the war effort entitled Why We Fight
Why We Fight
Why We Fight is a series of seven war information training films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S...

. This series is considered a highlight of the propaganda film genre. Other propaganda movies, such as Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Thirty Seconds over Tokyo
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a 1944 MGM war film. It is based on the true story of America's first retaliatory air strike against Japan four months after the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The movie was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sam Zimbalist. The screenplay by...

 and Casablanca
Casablanca (film)
Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, and featuring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, it focuses on a man torn between, in...

, 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. Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 once again joined the U.S. war effort, creating The Great Dictator
The Great Dictator
The Great Dictator is a comedy film by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940. Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. Having been the only Hollywood film maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was...

 (1940), in which he played the Hitler-like character of 'Adenoid Hynkel.'
Animation became popular, especially for winning over youthful audiences. Walt Disney
Walt Disney's World War II propaganda production
Between 1942 and 1945, during World War II, Walt Disney was involved in the production of propaganda films for the US government. The widespread familiarity of Walt Disney's productions benefited the US government in producing pro-American war propaganda in an effort to increase support for the...

 and Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

 were among those that actively aided the U.S. war effort through their cartoons which provided training and instructions for viewers as well as a political commentary on the times. One of the most popular, Der Fuehrer's Face
Der Fuehrer's Face
Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 American animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon, which features Donald Duck in a nightmare setting working at a factory in Nazi Germany, was made in an effort to sell war bonds and is an example of...

 was a means of relieving the aggression against Hitler by making him a somewhat comical figure while showcasing the freedom America offered. Also popular in the Soviet Union, the government produced such animated shorts as What Hitler Wants, which depicts a devilish Hitler giving Russian factories to capitalists, enslaving and riding once-free Soviet citizens, but shows that the U.S.S.R. will be prepared to fight, paying the Germans back in triplicate, ready to beat the 'fascist pirates.'

Many of the dramatic war film
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

s in the early 1940s in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 were designed to create a patriotic mindset and convince viewers that sacrifices needed to be made to defeat "the enemy." Despite fears that too much propaganda could diminish Hollywood’s entertainment appeal, reducing its targeted audience and decreasing profits, military enlistment increased and morale was considered to be higher, in part attributed to America's innovative propaganda. One of the conventions of the genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 was to depict a racial and socioeconomic cross-section
Cross-sectional data
Cross-sectional data or cross section in statistics and econometrics is a type of one-dimensional data set. Cross-sectional data refers to data collected by observing many subjects at the same point of time, or without regard to differences in time...

 of the United States, either a platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

 on the front lines or soldiers training on a base
Military base
A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. In general, a military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a...

, which come together to fight for the good of the country. In Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, at the same time, film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

s like Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Rossellini was one of the directors of the Italian neorealist cinema, contributing films such as Roma città aperta to the movement.-Early life:Born in Rome, Roberto Rossellini lived on the Via Ludovisi, where Benito Mussolini had...

 produced propaganda films for similar purposes.

Similar to Nazi Germany, the U.S.S.R. prepared its citizens for war by releasing dramas, such as Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky (film)
Alexander Nevsky is a 1938 historical drama film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, in association with Dmitri Vasilyev and a script co-written with Pyotr Pavlenko, who were assigned to ensure Eisenstein did not stray into "formalism" and to facilitate shooting on a reasonable timetable...

, by Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

. The U.S.S.R also screened films depicting partisan activity and the suffering inflicted by the Nazis, such as Girl No. 217
Girl No. 217
Girl No. 217 is a 1945 Soviet drama film directed by Mikhail Romm. It was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.An anti-Nazi film, it depicted a Russian girl enslaved to an inhuman German family. She is even robbed of her name and forced to answer to "No. 217". Subplots depict abuse...

, which showed a Russian girl enslaved by an inhumane German family. Films were shown on propaganda trains while newsreels were screened in subway stations to reach those who were unable to pay to see films in the theater.

Cold War

When describing life in Communist countries, western propaganda sought to depict an image of a brainwashed citizenry which was then held captive by their government. The CIA's
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 Office of Policy Coordination adapted George Orwell's
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

  Animal Farm
Animal Farm
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...

 into an animated movie in 1954 that was released in England as production costs were considerably lower.

During the 1960s, the United States produced propaganda films that cheerily instructed civilians how to build homemade fallout shelter
Fallout shelter
A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defense measures during the Cold War....

s, to protect themselves in the event of nuclear war
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...


1984's Red Dawn
Red Dawn
Red Dawn is a 1984 American war film directed by John Milius and co-written by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. It stars Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey....

 depicts an alternate 1980s in which the United States is invaded by the Soviet Union, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other Latin American allies of the U.S.S.R. and a group of small-town high school students engage in guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 in their resistance of the occupation, eventually beating the communists. It has been considered by some to be right-wing propaganda.


Over 100 years since its creation, film continues to resonate with viewers and helps influence or reinforce a particular viewpoint. Following the 9/11 attacks, many Americans were split on the success of the government’s response and the ensuing war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Similar to the Vietnam War, filmmakers expressed their view of the attacks and feelings about the war through films, most notably, Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

. The film sparked debate across the country, presenting mixed assessments on the role of the U.S. government and its response along with the controversy that normally arises when depicting recent, traumatic events. A classic example of 21st century propaganda, Michael Moore's
Michael Moore
Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...

 Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

 is overtly political and never tries to hide the director's anti-war agenda. He omits footage of the planes striking the Twin Towers
Twin Towers
Twin Towers may refer to:In architecture:* Deira Twin Towers, Dubai, United Arab Emirates* Deutsche Bank Twin Towers, Frankfurt, Germany* Guangzhou Twin Towers, Guangzhou, China* Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

, cutting directly to the aftermath and destruction. Alan Petersen’s “Farenhype 9/11” was released in response to Fahrenheit 9/11’s
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

 success in theaters. Petersen called “Fahrenheit 9/11” "the Road Runner of manipulation...removing all avenues of thought through over-determination...leaving no room for the viewer's own judgment." It received considerably less press and screentime than Moore's controversial piece.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life...

 stated that “We are in a media battle for the hearts and minds of our umma [community] of Muslims.” Towards winning the hearts and minds of the MENA region, Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 and its affiliates have produced propaganda films and documentaries depicting jihadist attacks, last will and testament videos, training, and interviews, all meant to boost morale among supporters. Al-Qaeda established a Media Committee early in its inception to handle traditional Western and Arab media as well as create an online media presence, which was established through the multi-media company as-Sahab
The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

 in 2001. The company, which produces documentary-like films and operational videos for Afghanistan is known for its technological sophistication, cinematic effects, and their efforts to reach the west with translations and subtitling. Its operational videos were serialized in Pyre for Americans in Khorasan [Afghanistan]. Other productions in North Africa include Apostate in Hell, a Somali
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 film produced by al-Fajr Media Center includes interviews with Somali jihadists, training of fighters, preparation for an attack, and actual operations. It along with many other al-Qaeda videos is distributed by Arabic jihadist websites as that community relies on the Internet to a high degree to disseminate information to followers.

See also

External links

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