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American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film$
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Trevor McCrisken and Andrew Pepper

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748614899

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614899.001.0001

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Lessons from Hollywood's American Revolution

Lessons from Hollywood's American Revolution

Chapter:
(p.15) Chapter 1 Lessons from Hollywood's American Revolution
Source:
American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film
Author(s):

Trevor B. McCrisken

Andrew Pepper

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614899.003.0002

This chapter examines the vexed question of historical accuracy and the now familiar complaint that Hollywood films deliberately falsify the historical record, as though that record itself is somehow inviolate and unchanging. It explores the ways in which filmmakers have used, and are using, American history as a way of engaging with the question of what ‘America’ stands for, culturally and politically, in the post-Cold War world. It focuses on how an event as sanctified as the American Revolution is used and transformed by filmmakers both to reveal something about the event itself and to shed some light on our own cultural and political moment. This chapter discusses two films: Hugh Hudson's Revolution (1985) and Roland Emmerich's The Patriot (2000). It analyses how Revolution tackles history, myth and subversion and how The Patriot is linked to history and the politics of authenticity.

Keywords:   Hollywood films, historical accuracy, history, American Revolution, America, Revolution, The Patriot, myth, politics, subversion

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