Essay On Censorship In The Vietnam War

2234 Words 9 Pages
Historically, censorship policies have impacted the production of war imagery in films during explicit conflict, especially in the United States. It dictated the amount of films produced, how they were produced, and where the films were distributed. Not only did it affect film, but it also affected photography and information the press released to the public. These censorship policies in the United States, furthermore, affected the film industry during both the Second World War and the Vietnam War; however, their impact produced drastically different results. In one, censorship policies produced a polished war narrative in film—one which reflected an exaggerated version of the heroism of the American soldier and reassured the public that war …show more content…
Narrative war films are no different. The Second World War and the Vietnam War provide an interesting progression of narrative war film production, or lack of it going into the seventies. The Second World War still retains its notoriety as the—although now contested—“Last Good War” of the twentieth century, and the burgeoning film industry and its relationship to propaganda in film attests to this title. Films produced during the Second World War provided audiences with romanticized interpretations of the war efforts when depicting warfare imagery. In comparison, the Vietnam War held no such status with the public in the United States during the 1960s and 70s—the war proved widely unpopular as time dragged on, the death toll in regards to American soldiers climbing higher with each consecutive year. The stark differences between the public’s perceptions of the Second World War versus the Vietnam War do not stop there. Censorship policies also drastically differed, changing the game as the influx of information coming in from the front in Vietnam reached the United States. Interestingly enough, the lack of censorship policies during the Vietnam War did not, one would assume, lead to an increase in narrative war films—instead, Hollywood remained relatively …show more content…
Depictions of Vietnam in film come from a primarily retrospective lens, as less than a handful of narrative war films were produced during the Vietnam War in comparison to narrative war films produced in prior decades. The scholarship that does exist, however, touches on representation of Vietnam prior to the Vietnam War, which especially helps indicate the decrease in narrative war film production leading into the United States’ involvement. Scott Laderman, a prominent Vietnam War historian who has written on films concerning the war in Vietnam, did try to connect the portrayal of Vietnamese citizens—and Vietnam as a whole—in United States film production before the war to the subsequent lack of Hollywood commentary during the war. However, not much scholarship exists over Hollywood’s reluctance to become a part of a national dialogue about the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This reluctance to depict Vietnam on the part of the film industry contrasts sharply with how it dealt with film production during the Second World War during the 1940s. This essay will attempt to show the connection between the contrast—as well as the decline in narrative war films—to censorship policies of the Vietnam War to the Second World

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