August 11th, 2008

Hollywood & American Wars, w/guest Peter Rollins

War… what is it good for? Well, that’s debatable, but war films have certainly been a boon for both Hollywood and the U.S. government throughout the last century. How have movies been used both to criticize war and to serve as propaganda vehicles for the military? And in what ways do various war films depict the political and social biases of the periods in which they were made? My guest is Peter Rollins, professor emeritus of film studies at Oklahoma State University and co-editor of the new book: Why We Fought: America’s Wars in Film and History. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in August 2008.]



  • 1. Peter Rollins  |  August 12th, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Just a note to say that I enjoyed my interview with Kevin
    and want to give some data about the book.

    WHY WE FOUGHT: AMERICA’S WARS IN FILM AND HISTORY, Eds. Peter C. Rollins and John E. O’Connor
    (University Press of Kentucky, 2008). 23 essays plus
    a filmography and a bibliography. From the American Revolution to the current war in Iraq.

    My documentaries are on a DVD with the title TELEVISION’S VIETNAM and can be obtained from Accuracy in Media on its web site: Go to the AIM store on the site.

    I would be happy to respond to questions from listeners to this show.

  • 2. Tim Samuels  |  August 14th, 2008 at 6:15 pm


  • 3. Barb Nelson  |  August 15th, 2008 at 9:58 am


    Very interesting interview, I enjoyed your insight into some of the war movies. Looking forward to reading the book and then watching the movies again!.

  • 4. Loren Baybrook  |  August 15th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Peter is the genial genius of “film and history.” In a very short period, this interview displays how deep and humane Peter’s understanding is of social, political, and aesthetic issues in film. I found myself taking notes from his comments. Now to the book!

  • 5. connie heldrich  |  August 16th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Needless to say, I’m impressed with Prof. Rollins’ interview. He is a distinguished and intelligent educator. The military has not been accurately portrayed for its valor and sacrifices made in all wars. I hope the public becomes aware of this through this book. Hollywood is Hollywood and usually a vehicle for entertainment. War is a situation that needs to be understood and always remembered for the efforts of all participants. Great interview-now back to finish reading the book.

Trackback this post

Kevin Fullam is a writer and researcher, with extensive experience in fields ranging from sports analytics to politics and cinema.

In addition, he has hosted two long-running radio series on film and culture, and taught mass media at Loyola University.

Episodes of his two shows, Split Reel and Under Surveillance, are archived on the Radio page.