The Listening Post

The Pentagon’s grip on Hollywood

A report on the film ‘Act of Valor’ and the growing ties between the film industry and the war industry.

The military entertainment complex is an old phenomenon that binds Hollywood with the US military. Known as militainment, it serves both parties well. Filmmakers get access to high tech weaponry – helicopters, jet planes and air craft carriers while the Pentagon gets free and positive publicity.

The latest offering to come from this relationship is Act of Valor and it takes the collaboration one step further. The producers get more than just equipment – they have cast active-duty military personnel in the lead roles, prompting critics to say the lines have become so blurred that it is hard to see where Hollywood ends and Pentagon propaganda begins.

In this week’s feature, the Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead looks at the ties between the US military and Hollywood.

“I find the idea of the military-entertainment complex to be extremely interesting, especially in the past two decades. There seems to have developed a really unhealthy relationship between the military and filmmakers and I guess the word that comes to mind is propaganda.

America is a country where there’s a huge amount of distrust of governments so that I think if you know any effort to make wars that are illegitimate seem legitimate will be treated with some scepticism but on the other hand if it comes from movies, hey we all love movies and they’re likely to be more believed even if they are saying things that are you know, really straight out of the Defence Department.”

Michael Ryan, author of Camera Politica