The Role of Docudrama Films in American Public Memory: World War II as “The Good War”
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Docudrama films are some of the most popular and controversial movies ever made. Their box office success and critical acclaim have made them an enticing venture for filmmakers and studios, yet they can attract a firestorm of debate if handled incorrectly. Docudramas are a paradox in themselves; not completely fact, not completely fiction. Yet their power to influence and shape ideas is undeniable. And for the majority of Americans, docudramas serve as a commanding, if not singular, source of their knowledge about historical events. Because of this immense scope, there are important questions that need to be investigated about docudrama’s role in the creation of American public memory, and the lens through which it shows us historical events. This paper will investigate what makes docudramas uniquely complex, and how docudramas are important historical texts. Specifically, I will look at filmic portrayals of American involvement in World War II through content analysis of three major WWII docudramas.
Bruner, Katie Patricia (2013). The Role of Docudrama Films in American Public Memory: World War II as “The Good War”. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from