A propaganda film
is a film
, often a documentary
, produced for the express purpose of propaganda
: convincing the viewer of a certain political point. However, the propaganda is not limited to non-fiction films. Many of the dramatic war films
in the early 1940s
in the United States
were designed to create consensus
at the expense of "the enemy." In fact, one of the conventions of the genre
that developed during the period was that of a cross-section of the United States which comes together as a crack unit for the good of the country. Arguably one of the earliest propaganda films is The Birth of a Nation
, filmed in 1915
In the years following the October Revolution of 1917, the Soviet government sponsored the Russian film industry with the purpose of making propaganda films. The development of Russian cinema in the 1920s by such filmmakers as Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein 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 are seen as masterworks of the cinema, even as they glorify Eisenstein's Communist ideals.
In the United States during World War II, filmmaker Frank Capra was called to create films to support the war effort. The result, a seven-part series entitled Why We Fight, is considered another highlight of the propaganda film genre.
In Italy, at the same time, great film directors like Roberto Rossellini produced works for similar purposes.
Other noted propaganda films:
For more discussion of propaganda and some examples of it in short films from the United States
, see the 10-volume CD-ROM
collection Our Secret Century. And for a satirical subversion of the United States military's 1960s propaganda regarding the safety of radioactive materials, see The Atomic Cafe
Prelinger Archives: Archive of Cold War-era American ephemeral films of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s (many of which can be classified as propaganda)