War Genre – Audience Theories
Throughoutthis essay I will look at the various different audience theories, which
can be applied the war genre.
The war genre is a male orientation ruled genre, with the majority of the movies
being predominately made by men. The primary audience for the war genre is 15
onwards, depending on when the story is set it could go up to the elder audiences
that may have an interest in it. The audience for war films mostcommonly tends
to be male because of the either history or justthe style of story only interests the
No one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No one younger than 15
may rent or buy a ‘15’ rated video work.
The work as a whole must not endorsediscriminatory languageor behavior.
Drug taking may be shown but the film as a wholemust not promote or
encouragedrug misuse. The misuseof easily accessibleand highly dangerous
substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.
Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualized.
• Imitable behaviour
Dangerous behavior (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not
dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be
Language. There may be frequent use of strong language. The strongest terms
may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressiveor repeated useof the
strongestlanguageis unlikely to be acceptable.
Propaganda played a huge role in firstand Second World War, fromthis time
onwards; it hasn'treally changed in terms of how it plays in the films. The
phenomenon of the propaganda war moviehas someprecedent, and Hollywood
has always had closeties with the American government. Nevertheless, the trend
has picked up markedly over the pastdecade, coinciding with the escalation of
American militarism that has taken place after the fall of the Soviet Union. Past
films like Rules of Engagement, Rising Sun and True Lies were striking in the extent
to which they carried chauvinism, racismand vulgar patriotism into mainstream
The Green Berets is the definition of insidious propaganda. The film was brought
into being specifically because John Waynewas bothered by the anti-war
sentiment within the country in 1968. With the Pentagon's backing and President
Lyndon Johnson's approval, thefilm was made with the specific intention of
countering existing opinions about the war.
At the startof the film, a journalistwho is skeptical of the war is given a lecture by
an American Special Forces soldier who paints the conflict in Vietnam in starkly
simplistic terms as being a fight for freedomagainst Communistforces. Later, the
journalisttravels to Vietnam wherehe witnesses the American forces participating
in humanitarian acts, while the enemy engages in brutal violence, as if the
Americans never participated in brutal acts of violence againstcivilians.
Ultimately, the journalistrealizes his ideological errors and reverses his previous
opposition to the conflict. To sum it all up, in the film, there's no mention of the
millions of dead Vietnamese or Agent Orangeor the firebombing of civilian
“It's easy to understand why so many viewers hated this movie. Itgoes against
everything the media and entertainment industries have put forth regarding the
Vietnam War sincethe 1960s. ...Vietnamwas a bad war; America was wrong, etc.,
while the North Vietnamese and VCwere justpeace/freedom loving folk...
What was so wrong abouttrying to stem the tide of communism, or to prevent
South Vietnam fromfalling to the communist north? "The Green Berets" made the
case that it was a noble goal, and braveAmericans worked hard to achieve it.
This is not the best war movie, or even the best Vietnam War movie out there.
Mel Gibson's "WeWere Soldiers" is far superior in that it is less overtly political,
much morerealistic, and still shows a positive view of the American effort in
SoutheastAsia.” – User review fromIMDB
War as a genre is morepopularly known for being involved in or having the
hypodermic needle model as it somewhatworks like propaganda. This means that
the audience of the war genre are a passiveaudience, they can be easily
manipulated and the media text affects their thoughts and behaviour. This is an
out dated model that essentially suggests and works around theidea of the
“copycat” theory, which is to say that the audience will copy and justify whatthey
see on the screen.
A great example of this is American Sniper. Majority of the audience took their
opinions outside the sceneand shared their views on the internet. Surprisingly the
comments were not about the movie itself but about the cultural differences
between the US and Middle Eastern people. American Sniper showcased themas
blood thirsty beasts and killing machines wherein reality they were simply
defending their country fromthe US army invasion. Unfortunately people took the
'bait' and believed in this propaganda which lead to serious chaos especially in
twitter where the eastern community got flooded with hateful comments from
the around the world that had absolutely nothing to do with reality. With that
said, of coursethere are cases of suicide bombing and beheading by the ISIS
however neither ISIS and terroristattacks werementioned in the film, so the
audience comments were not necessary and far fromtruth.
“First, let me say that Eastwood's direction, Cooper's acting and the screenplay
are all competent. Were this film a wholly fictional account of a warrior with
special skills put in the serviceof his comrades it would be quite serviceable,
though no more than that.
However, herewas an opportunity to show the complexities of a man hailed as an
American hero; and by complexities, I mean the thoroughly odious aspects of
Chris Kyle's character. The man enjoyed killing people, regarding his targets as
savages, and he bragged about killing looters in the aftermath of HurricaneKatrina
- even if he didn't, becausewe don't know for certain, whatkind of man declares
proudly his murderous inclinations? In short, he was far froma good man.
Dismally, you would never know this fromthe simple-minded depiction of him as
an all American Hero in Eastwood's film.
Likewise, there is not a shred of awareness in the film that the US involvement in
Iraq mighthave been illegal and was certainly catastrophic for the Iraqis. The
film's approach is to display every Iraqiman, woman and even child as intent on
murdering "good" American troops and thereforedeserving of their fate, both at
the end of Kyle's rifle and under the boot of American troops generally.
I don't know whatEastwood was thinking when he made this film. Perhaps hesaw
an easy way to make money by appealing to the misplaced patriotism of some
Americans. What I do know is that this is a disgusting film.”
- User review fromIMDB
A movie Lone Survivor on the other hand can be viewed exactly as an American
Sniper, however what makes it different and special fromit, is the ending.
Whenever the US squad gets pushed to the nearest village by the Arabian rebels
to a viewer’s surprisethey'rewelcomed there despite the fact that the villagers
know who they are and whattheir aim is. The villagers provide shelter, food, aid
kits, and clothes not because they wereforced to but because the religion they
believe tells them to. By hiding the US army, the villagers risk getting killed and
bombed by the Arabian rebels. In the final stages of the film not only the villagers
provideextra guns for the US army but they also fight for them againstthe rebels.
The intention here was to do completely opposite of what the American Sniper
did. The film wanted to show that there are still cases in which human beings
behave like actual human beings, not cold blooded murderers.
“I havealready seen Lone Survivor and it was not to my liking unfortunately. I feel
the film is completely absurd with 4 Americans shooting and killing about 100
Taliban who continue to attack in waves and are slaughtered while the Americans
spend about half the film rolling down a mountain and slamming into rocks and
trees...thefilm is based on a false premiseof killing 3 goat herders or releasing
them...the actual answer is you hold on to them until the exact moment you get
safely into the rescue copter and then you let them go. If you have to march miles
and miles you take the goat herders with you. If you can't march them any further
you tie them to a tree. In addition, the 4 Americans hunker down on a mountain
top and don't appear to have any clay-moremines with tripwires. Theseare
normally set up around the perimeter of an area whereAmericans are hunkered
down. The Americans also went into a combat mission with crappy phones...since
their cell phones suck it makes the restof their fancy equipment and diagram
drawing of targets seem silly and pointless. The dialog in this film is poorly written
but the acting in and of itself is decent with the best work doneby Ben Foster.
Mark Wahlberg plays it straight and does not try and over-actand gives a good
performanceoverall. In this movie, the Taliban are brainless and have no problem
with losing dozens of seasoned fighters in order to try and kill 3-4 Americans. This
is a film where every single time the Americans fire a bullet there is a Taliban
going down in a large blood splatter and it seems like it takes about 300 Taliban
bullets to kill a single American. Yeah right. This film is propaganda recruitment
film for the US military which in and of itself is not such a bad thing. To be clear
the US military is filled with heroes fighting for America's freedom every day.”
- User review fromIMDB
However the issuewith saying that the war genre goes under the hypodermic
needle model is that it proposethat all viewers of the movies are uninvolved, that
they have no through and through freedomand it doesn'tconsider an individual's
ethical compass. Yes certain viewers will fall under this model however not all.
The Uses and Gratifications hypothesis can likewise be utilized to portray the
audience of the war genre. This hypothesis takes a look at an active viewers,
which will intervene and measurewhat they see, they will comprehend that a film
is simply moving pictures compensated for stimulation purposes, this audience of
viewers won'tduplicate what they see on the wide screen. This hypothesis
likewise recommends that audience makedynamic useof their media in order to
justify and fulfil specific needs..
Escapism/Entertainment. A type of getaway from ordinary and everyday
pressureand life. A sourceof enjoymentand entertainment.
Information/Surveillance. A type of discovering data on what's happening
all through the world.
PersonalIdentity. Contrasting ones own existence with that of characters
and circumstances portrayed, which explores individual problems and
Social Interaction. Sociability through examination aboutTV and Film with
Numerous viewers that watch movies of the war genre do so for educational and
historical reasons, this is because the human race has become infatuated with
gore and grime. Individuals consider it to be a getaway fromtheir own particular
issues or they consider it to be a path for social communication, this permits us to
examine the film or TV show with our associates, which in turn allows us to forget
our own particular issues and problems for a brief time span.
If welook at the war genre in-depth we can see that it has had a widespreading
popularity with audiences worldwideresulting in classic war films being adapted
into television series such as company of brothers, as to reach a wider audience
and possibly piquethe interest of those who do not like the war genre as film.
A great use of this hypothesis would be a film called Tinkley Tailor - Soldier Spy.
The story is about a double agent in the cold war based on the popular book by
John Le Carreand the remake of the BBC adaptation.
Though the film has a two Oscar winners and an all star British cast it is very much
a niche market film. Audiences are often sceptical about remakes especially from
a very popular original movie and book. However getting an all star British cast,
gratifies their curiosity and intrigues them. Produced by a smaller distributor as
StudioCanal is a sortof testament to its credentials so for uses is a pacifier is hard
to please audience base. As the audience majority will be this British gratify
there's a senseof pride. In comparison to The Rum Diaries, which is another film
that’s based on Gratification hypothesis, this film is a gritty realistic look into the
world of cold war spies. Audiences are going to see this movie for escapisminto
another time and somebody else's life. Where the Rum Diaries transportthe
audience to a sunny island, Tinker Tailor takes them to the gray and dark world of
cold war espionage. These two films are very different and use and gratify the
audience for different means.
“Another world is the cold war. Itwas hot when the book appeared, but the book
already was treating it as a sortof fantasy world that came with prefabricated
rules. In someways, it has taken until now for this perspectiveto fully mature so
that this film in this time can be far deeper than the original novel was in its time.
Frankly, in its time it was trash for airport reading, of the Grishamvariety.
Yet another world is that of Britain in the early seventies. This was a bleak country,
still not recovered fromthe war while its adversaries weresoaring. Itclung to the
US instead of the continent. There is a wistful desireto please the master here
that hits home for this US viewer, knowing what I know aboutthe relationships of
the intel communities.” - User review fromIMDB
Lastly, the bestsynergy that goes along with war genre is gaming. Whether it's Call
of Duty or Battlefield, they're games where you interact with the world using the
gun in your hand. This makes for an often exciting, adrenaline-pumping
experience, but it also glosses over how war influences anyoneofther than
Both Call of Duty and Battlefield can offer a joy of becoming a virtualsoldier but
they simply cannot re-create the real war environment. Sure its fun to 'run and
gun' and kill people in virtual game but these games are not realistic as some
people may assume. For instance you can knife someonein the foot and they
instantly die and yet headshot someonewith a pistol and they still survive. In
other example you always haveammo counter somwherein the region of your
virtual screen. In reality of war you'd have no idea how many bullets you'd have
left in a magazine. The little things make the game pretty unrealistic thereforeit
doesn't exress the realism and reality of war.