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The Star-Spangled ScreenThe Star-Spangled Screen

The American World War II Film

Bernard F. Dick

Narrated by Marlin May

Available from Audible

Book published by University Press of Kentucky

The American World War II film depicted a united America, a mythic America in which the average guy, the girl next door, the 4-F patriot, and the grieving mother were suddenly transformed into heroes and heroines, warriors and goddesses. The Star-Spangled Screen examines the historical accuracy—or lack thereof—of films about the Third Reich, the Resistance, and major military campaigns. Concerned primarily with the films of the war years, it also includes discussions of such postwar movies as Battleground (1949), Attack! (1956), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), and Patton (1970). This revised edition includes new material covering recent films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Dunkirk (2017), and JoJo Rabbit (2019), and their place in the war movie tradition. The Star-Spangled Screen makes a major contribution to popular culture by re-creating an era that, for all its tragedy, was one of the most creative in the history of American film.

Bernard F. Dick is professor of communication and English at Fairleigh Dickinson University and is the author of Hal Wallis: Producer to the Stars; Engulfed: The Death of Paramount Pictures and the Birth of Corporate Hollywood; Forever Mame: The Life of Rosalind Russell; Claudette Colbert: She Walked in Beauty; and several other books.


“A thoughtful, well-written study of American films on World War II that manages to keep its balance as it swerves in political, sociological, and esthetic directions.”


“Countless books have been published on World War II films. Perhaps the best introduction is Bernard Dick's The Star Spangled Screen.”


“One comes away a trifle numb: in part due to the sheer number of films made; but in part both awed and terrified by Hollywood's ability to use what were, for the most part, mediocre films to make the ravages of war not only so acceptable to the American public, but glorious.”

The Arts Fuse



1. Prologue to Pearl

2. The War that Dared Not Speak Its Name

3. Hollywood as a Premature Antifascist

4. Hollywood as Neutral Interventionist

5. Hollywood Mobilizes

6. Plotting the War

7. The People's War

8. The Masters of the Race

9. California Comrades

10. Japs on Their Minds

11. Remembering Pearl Harbor

Afterword to the 2022 Edition

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks