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Hollywood and Cinematic Representations of Far-Right Domestic Terrorism in the U.S


Studies in Conflict & TerrorismJournal abstract

This article argues that a major influence on the imagery of far-right terrorism in the United States derives from cinema. Most of the feature films released by Hollywood on this theme have been rather superficial and have rarely strayed beyond portraying right-wing terrorist movements in popular genres such as westerns, crime thrillers, and romantic melodramas—although not, interestingly, action adventure movies, so often the terrain for narratives involving external terrorist movements. The article contends that U.S. far-right terrorism before the 1990s was anchored in the films depicting the Ku Klux Klan; more recently, a few films have begun to engage with “new” forms of far-right terrorism involving skinheads, neo-Nazis, and “patriot” militias. Overall, remarkably few films released by Hollywood have engaged with the structure of far-right terrorist movements or the motivations of their followers. This has ensured that the movements remained shadowy organizations run, for the most part, by two-dimensional and stereotypical characters.

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