Hollywood and The Pentagon: A Dangerous Liaison

Hollywood and The Pentagon: A Dangerous LiaisonThe American Army's intrusion in Hollywood war films may surprise some. In fact, the U.S. Army secret services have had close ties with American filmmakers for several decades. The movie Top Gun, for instance, was filmed with the support and approval of the U.S. Army. There is even a special bureau, the Film Liaison Office, that oversees these issues for the Pentagon and the Capitol. It has a clear mission: studying the scripts of American war movies, deciding whether to offer them support or not, depending on their interest for the country's military leaders.

Scripts are cut and sometimes watered down. Characters are changed and historical truth, sometimes fudged. One director might be loaned combat jets and ships, and all their equipment, enabling him to shoot the scenes written by his scriptwriters. Another director, whose script displeases the army, may be refused any kind of support. That was the case for the film Platoon, deemed overly critical of the Vietnam War. It is then up to the producers to look for shooting locations and equipment outside the United States. Often, at considerable cost.

In his Pentagon office, the head of the Film Liaison Office makes no secret of his goals. He wants to encourage films which flatter the U.S. Army, win support for its actions on the battlefield, and encourage more soldiers to sign up. In short: pure propaganda. Few great war films have escaped the influence, or even the censure, of the U.S. Army.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Brett Lappan

    The story of the Batavia shipwreck and subsequent murder of 125 people on a deserted island thousands of miles from anywhere in 1629 has always interested me.
    I know there have been at least 3 docu / dramatizations made of it.
    One by WA Maritime museum. One by Les Hiddens (the Bush Tucker Man) and a Dutch production.
    I would love to see them again but do not know where to find them.
    If you could get them on your site I am sure many people would be amazed by the story. The book that was published about it in the 1630's was a best seller at the time.
    I am currently reading Pelsaert's Journal which is the account of the commander of the ship. Absolutely fascinating.
    If you can get anything about this disaster I am sure it will be well received.

    Again, thanks for the awesome service you provide to us people who love history and other subjects that make us think.

    Cheers from Broome Western Australia.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/DancingSpiderman DancingSpiderman

    "Tell OUR version of The Truth of the facts, and we'll let you have use of our big Tonka toys for your movie."

    Bunch of uniformed sissies can't even have the balls to tell the truth about anything.

  • http://YouTube.com/DancingSpiderman DancingSpiderman

    War is stupid, and people are stupid.
    -Boy George

  • German

    Interesting insight on the use of public relations office of the military for the purpose of recruitment and retainment propaganda. Interesting how Bosnia is used for training purposes since in this case the Western and Christian Serbs and Bosnians were demonized by NATO and the west, while the Bosnian Mulims supported by Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Taliban-Mujahideen were supported. Clash of civilizations indeed. However, I am always amazed by the incredible use of propaganda in general and even though public relations as envisioned by Edward Bernays is a different side of the same coin, I wish there was a publicly available major in schools for propaganda.

  • derk

    Lt.Rushing or whatever his name is is the same guy from the documentary "control room" also listed on this site (and one of my top 10 of all time) he went from central communications PR man in Quatar to the hollywood liaisons office. huh.

  • http://www.cjrocky.com rockysbeats

    im with dancingspiderman because thats the coolest name ever!

  • Lisa O

    @derk Josh Rushing worked for the hollywood office prior to Control Room. He now works for Al Jazera. He has a book out about it, and why he no longer works for the military.

  • Lisa O

    Btw-Why is this under conspiracy? It should be under media.

  • http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/about/ Vlatko

    Ok done that @Lisa.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1062653170 Robina Creaser

    Interestingly I have recently started BATAVIA by Peter Fitzsimons - Australian journalist and author. Like you, he is fascinated by this extraordinary story and the characters involved.
    It seems well-researched and grounded in the journal you cite and whatever historical and modern scholarship he could find.
    Fitzsimons describes the story as Lord of the Flies meets A Nightmare on Elm St !

    All the best from Adelaide.

  • okara21gd

    top documentary!!

  • kiox987

    Nice doc. Wish people took care of their brain and stopped watching these trash that can make you an accomplice and supporter of their crimes....

  • http://www.charliepycraft.co.uk/ charlie pycraft

    Very interesting

  • http://www.facebook.com/naseem247 M Naseem Khan

    of course you can watch these movies if your are interested in,but at least don't think positive for america ,because they have killed ppl more then everyone in the history.

  • apaulocreed

    I can't help but get the feeling that this Documentary is very censored and re-edited over and over or else it wouldn't of gotten as much co-operation from the U.S army.

  • SenatorKang

    Ergo, War is People.

    Given that we all know Soylent Green is people,
    then
    Soylent Green is War? Yes.

  • TFATF

    They are extatic at the thought of being used! The information they give is beyond reality! To the right bank balance and actor credentials it is possible- TFATF had an ex sas soldier in the film, his backing for the scene along with reality shots caused the liaison to give exact counts of use, war crafts and personnel that could be used in and around their equipment! Mexico was extremely helpful when the dollars rolled! Use Mexico with friendly ideas and show the dollars and it is plausible that they will help!

    I would film more war clips in the Mexican side then American side for sure!

  • dan

    The Pentagram controls Hollywood.

  • http://batman-news.com BIGJIMSELF

    If liberal Hollywood had it's way most of what we would see is hysterical soldiers weeping dragon tears every time someone got shot or shot at...or American soldiers shooting, raping innocent civilians..Things that all armies do at one time or another. Isolated instances.
    Our Army is full of young and middle aged Americans acting like our sons and daughters act at home but under stress while fighting war that we send them to. I think there is a part for Hollywood...and a part for the Government. If left to itself, I believe Hollywood would destroy America for the sake of a buck.