The Hollywood War Film (Book)

Critical Observations from World War I to Iraq

Considering selected films representing three periods in history – World Wars I and II and their interim, the Vietnam War, and the major conflicts in the Middle East, The Hollywood War Film reflects on Hollywood’s representations of war and conflict, in order to map some cinematic discourses therein. This results in an understanding of the Hollywood genre not just as a categorising tool, but rather as a dynamic, inscriptive, iterative cultural phenomenon. 

Category: Performing Arts

Edition

Considering selected films representing three periods in history – World Wars I and II and their interim, the Vietnam War, and the major conflicts in the Middle East – The Hollywood War Film reflects on Hollywood’s representations of war and conflict, in order to map some cinematic discourses therein. This results in an understanding of the Hollywood genre not just as a categorising tool, but rather as a dynamic, inscriptive, iterative cultural phenomenon. Broadly, the thesis of the book is twofold: Firstly, that there are commonalities in Hollywood films representing distinct conflicts and eras, and that recent war films more closely echo early war films in terms of their nationalistic and idealistic perspectives. Secondly, the work proposes a reconfiguring of genre as less concrete and classificatory, and more dynamic and iterative. In doing so, The Hollywood War Film analyses some of the most important war films from the past century, including All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and The Hurt Locker (2009).

Daniel Binns is a lecturer in media at Melbourne’s RMIT University.

'The issues and the framework of the study are clearly defined by the author as well as the comings and goings between the theories and films, which are articulated in a clear and legitimate way and contribute to the great interest of this book for those who are interested in the war movie genre.'

Alexandra Boudet-Brugal, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire

'Genre analysis, as Robert Stam warned, is always in danger of narrowness, normativism, monolithic definitions and biologism. Daniel Binns’ The Hollywood War Film has avoided such pitfalls by offering a reading of the genre that captures its shifting nature across time and forms, starting with the grand narratives of Hollywood to more recent video games... The Hollywood War Film is a significant contribution to the study of cinematic genres and will appeal to both specialists in the field of film studies and students.'

Iqbal Barkat, Macquarie University, Global Media Journal: Australian Edition
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