NEW RELEASE! Don’t miss this searing look at how the Pentagon has partnered with Hollywood to spread war propaganda
“A high-impact documentary that the USA’s most powerful filmmakers and warmakers don’t want you to see. Confronts head-on the hugely deceptive images that help to promote one horrific war after another.”
— Norman Solomon | Author, War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
We’re thrilled to announce the highly anticipated release of Theaters of War, filmmaker and media scholar Roger Stahl’s engrossing and devastating dissection of how the Pentagon has partnered with Hollywood to glorify American militarism and disseminate war propaganda.
If you’ve seen Top Gun or Transformers, you may have wondered: Does all of that military machinery on screen come with strings attached? Does the Pentagon actually get a crack at the script and have an influence on what we see and don’t see? To answer these questions, Stahl digs deep into a vast trove of recently released internal government documents and travels across the country to speak with military researchers, bewildered veterans, PR insiders, and industry producers willing to talk, including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone. What he uncovers is as stunning as it is disturbing: smoking-gun evidence that in exchange for using taxpayer-funded military hardware, Hollywood producers have allowed the Pentagon and the CIA to push disinformation and methodically scrub scripts of war crimes, corruption, racism, sexual assault, coups, assassinations, and torture.
Theaters of War is at once an astonishing exposé of one of the most spectacular PR achievements of our time, and a powerful teaching tool for inspiring critical thinking about the deadly serious impact of seemingly innocent Hollywood entertainment.
You can watch Theaters of War now on the Kanopy streaming platform through your university or public library; purchase a streaming rental or subscription; or sign up to host a screening. It will be available on DVD soon. To see if your university subscribes to Kanopy, click here.
Meet the Filmmaker
Roger Stahl (PhD, Penn State University) is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia. He studies rhetoric, media, and culture, but in large part, his work has focused on understanding propaganda and public relations as they relate to state violence, conflict, and security. Dr. Stahl has written multiple books and has been published in various academic journals such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs and Critical Studies in Media Communication. In a more public capacity, he has produced documentary films, including Theaters of War (2022), Through the Crosshairs (2018), Returning Fire (2011), and Militainment, Inc. (2007), all of which are currently distributed by the Media Education Foundation. He and his work have been featured in such venues as NPR’s All Things Considered, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera.
Praise for Theaters of War
“Like a bloodhound on the trail, Theaters of War tracks toward one riveting revelation after another, managing to shock even as it confirms what we imagined we knew about the role and reach of military propaganda.”
— Jonna Eagle | Author, War Games
“This powerful documentary forced me to wonder: How many hours of my lifetime have I spent staring at movie screens and TV screens unknowingly absorbing DOD and CIA propaganda? Is this part of a military-industrial-
— H. Bruce Franklin | American historian and author of Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War
“A tight, compelling, and straightforward documentary that is sure to grab audiences from the living room to the college classroom.”
— Douglas Rushkoff | Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens
“Theaters of War exposes the entertainment landscape of Hollywood as the monopolistic propaganda arm for what is, by far, the world’s single most militaristic purveyor of cruel and wanton destruction, and the most dangerous institution on the planet.”
— Oliver Boyd-Barrett | Professor Emeritus of Media & Communication at Bowling Green State University
“Lively, engaging, and meticulously researched.”
— Rebecca A. Adelman | Associate Professor of Media & Communication Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County and co-editor of Remote Warfare: New Cultures of Violence
“An impressively documented examination of the U.S. security state’s role in promoting militarism via popular media. Think propaganda’s the wrong word? Think again!”
— Stacy Takacs | Professor of English & American Studies at Oklahoma State University
“Revelatory. Roger Stahl shows once again the promise of documentary film in combining entertainment with hard-earned insight. This is the future of public scholarship, and audiences will never see the military on screen the same way again.”
— Jessy Ohl | Associate Professor of Communications at The University of Alabama