The American Of The Vietnam War Era Essay

The American Of The Vietnam War Era Essay

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However, to view the Native-sympathetic Western as a wholly British phenomenon would be misleading. American productions of the Vietnam War era, such as Little Big Man (1970) and Soldier Blue (1970), attest the skepticism of the film industry on both sides of the Atlantic towards U.S. intervention. Nevertheless, in the broader context of the American Western genre as a whole, films such as these that redrew racial conventions were the exception rather than the rule, as is indicated by their “revisionist” (that is, unorthodox) classification. Conversely, although the number of Westerns produced in Britain is far smaller than the number produced in the U.S., a much higher proportion of these films represent white Americans as the villains while also treating Natives as a heroic (or at least an innocent) race. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the sympathetic revisionist Western only truly came to prominence in the United States after public support for the Vietnam War had significantly decreased in the 1970s. Three years prior to the releases of Little Big Man (1970) and Soldier Blue (1970), the majority of the American public still supported the war, and Hollywood responded by commissioning the production of John Wayne’s intensely patriotic war movie The Green Berets, which proved to be one of the most financially successful films of the year. In its second week of release, The Green Berets attained the #1 position at the U.S. box-office and went on to earn in excess of $20,000,000 for Warner Bros. Pictures. From these statistics it could be deduced that the mainstream film industry seeks only to reflect public opinion rather than to challenge the views of moviegoers, as the former involves much less financial risk. This idea i...


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... the Cold War.
Although the United Kingdom has long maintained a “special relationship” politically with the United States, actual public opinion in Britain towards America within the last century has been more ambivalent. For instance, a Gallup poll taken after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942 suggested that 62% of Britons viewed the Soviet Union more favorably than the USA. Two decades later, British citizens were still dubious of their closest ally, with only 35% of the public affirming that they would rather risk a nuclear war than live under communism. Given that British audiences of the post-war era were uncertain about America’s ideology and position within the world, the film industry of Britain could produce works which questioned the United States’ moral authority and history and still gain the receptive audience that would have eluded them overseas.

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