How did mainstream Hollywood cinema respond to the political zeitgeist following the 9/11 attacks?

Cobb, Thomas (2014). How did mainstream Hollywood cinema respond to the political zeitgeist following the 9/11 attacks? University of Birmingham. M.Res.


Download (1MB)


The Al Qaeda attacks against the United States on September 11th 2001 and the subsequent War on Terror fostered a variety of Hollywood responses from militaristic films that capitalized on pro- American sentiment to socially liberal ‘awards fare’, critical of the Bush administration. Yet I argue that most salient of the Bush era were a key series of blockbuster films directed by Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan which captured the zeitgeist in the form of dystopian narratives and mise en scene, direct references to neo-conservative policy and conflicted central characters. I postulate that this cycle begins with the civil liberties themed futuristic thriller Minority Report in 2002 and climaxes dramatically with 2008’s The Dark Knight, a superhero film which encapsulates the previous eight years of Bush rule. These narratives provide a counter narrative against the unilateralist Bush administration with their images of economic and political decline and social disarray. Central here are the works of Douglas Kellner, Stephen Prince and Dan Hassler-Frost who have analysed mainstream Hollywood’s cinematic responses to the attacks, particularly in a neo-conservative context. I also consider reviews by critics in generating the cultural and political impact of these films.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year