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War Violence and Film

In: Film and Music

Submitted By Hunterdnrc
Words 836
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How depictions of War have changed from 1970 to Present Day
War is a captivating subject to a very large amount of people, and as such, war and film have gone hand in hand for quite a long time. Many consider the golden age of the “War film” to be the 1970’s to present day, as that was the time in which special effects and other various filming techniques came to fruition. Now, the wars depicted in these films have varied in many ways over the past thirty to forty years, but in what ways? Obviously the conflicts shown vary, but the amount of violence and gore has also varied over time. Research has shown that over the years, war films have been much more violent and graphic as time has gone on.
In the article titled "A Content Analysis of Violence in American War Movies" (1991) points are made that since the 1970’s, violence in film has become significantly more frequent. The question arises concerning whether or not this is due to the fact that audiences have been conditioned to the excessive volume of violence over the years. Alternatively, some believe that movies with a lot of violence are the films that producers and directors believe will be successful. The research in the article was broken into the later period, the 1990s to present day, as well as the early period, regarding the 1970s to the 1980s. When researching the amount of violence it was discovered that “during the later period, there was a mean of 22.2 minutes of battle time compared to 11.7 minutes in earlier films” (Monk-Taylor 6). This shows that the magnitude of violence being shown in the films has almost doubled as the genre has grown.
Also in A Content Analysis of “Violence in American War Movies” (1991), it is noted that not only has the number of violent acts shown gone up substantially, but also the sheer amount of gore depicted. It was discovered that the measure of gore shown also doubled, from “2.93 compared to a mean gore ratio of 1.68” (Monk-Taylor 6). That refers to any act of bloody wound being shown has a result of war violence. Additionally, the intensity of gore has increased along with the quantity. This means that as films were released, the later films featured more dismemberments, and larger, more graphic wounds. Overall, film has gotten significantly bloodier as war films have been released. Again, this tends to be attributed to film audiences being used to violence and gore in media. As a result of this belief, some believe that the filmmakers and producers feel obligated to add large amounts of violence and gore into their films in order to shock audiences. All of that information aside, it was also discovered that while the violence and gore was changing, the methods to produce them were not. The differences in usage of weaponry and other instruments of destruction in the films were miniscule from the early period to the later period. This reaffirms that the gore is just becoming more exaggerated and extreme as the films have evolved. A prime example of the war film turning more violent and gory is the Rambo film series. In “The Imperial Warrior in Hollywood: Rambo” (2008), a retrospective on the Rambo saga reveals exactly how the films have changed. In First Blood, as well as First Blood: Part 2, the films showed war and violence, but with a relatively serious tone. Additionally, the war and gore was shown with a more negative connotation attached. Additionally, the violence may have been plentiful in these earlier films, but the gore shown was subdued. When Rambo 3, and Rambo are discussed, it showed the war and violence in a more exciting setting. The killing was much more glorified in the later films. Additionally, the gore and violence was much more extreme, showing dismemberment and gunshot wounds much more frequently. Much like the genre as a whole, Rambo has gotten more violent and gory as the films have aged to appeal to newer generations. In conclusion, war films have become much more violent and gory as the years have gone on. The amount of violent acts shown in war films has doubled over the past forty years. Additionally, the amount and intensity of gore has also doubled, resulting in much more gruesome deaths and violence in newer war films. It seems as though the genre as a whole has followed the Rambo film series: as time has gone on, the war film has become more violent and gory to appease the newer audiences watching the films.

Works Cited

Monk-Turner, Elizabeth, Peter Ciba, Matthew Cunningham, P. Gregory McIntire, Mark Pollard, "A Content Analysis of Violence in American War Movies." Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy 4.1 (1991): 1-11. Print
Boggs, Carl, and Tom Pollard. "The Imperial Warrior in Hollywood: Rambo and Beyond. “New Political Science 30.4 (2008): 565-78. Print.

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