Anyone with any question as the presence of propaganda in Hollywood films must see Red Dawn(1984).
The movie begins at a remote high school. The students look bored to be in class, twiddling their thumbs, whatever. Their teacher lectures. But wait, the teacher sees something outside, in the sky... What the... REDS!!!
Communists parachute in, opening fire on the unresisting high school kids with vicious abandon, blowing up their cars and murdering their teachers before their panicked little eyes. It's to be noted, now, that they're not trying to round up the high school population; rather, they appear to be attempting to liquidate it. And only one hip, socially rebellious clique intends to do something about it. Enter Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, et al.
Alexander Haig, once Ronald Reagan's secretary of defense, hailed the movie as "one of the most realistic and provocative films I have ever seen." Haig had actually worked closely with MGM/UA in the production of the film.
Red Dawn made the Guiness Book of World Records, at the time, for featuring "most acts of violence". The National Coalition of Televison Violence called it "The most violent film on record." Of course, film-violence has advanced in leaps and bounds since then; and as far as explicit gore, the film is rather unimpressive. But it was certainly a landmark, and received the first-ever PG-13 rating accordingly.
Red Dawn is a jingoism machine; it provoked paranoia, unrealistically stressed American vulnerability to foreign attack, and its depictions of the Soviet factor were indecent. Peter Bart, senior vice president for production at MGM/UA at the time, claims that John Milius was slotted as director because he was "...a voluble, off-the-wall character renowned for his fascination with weaponry and advocacy of right-wing causes." Bart had a scathing 3-page background insight to the movie published in Variety shortly after Timothy McVeigh cited the film as one of his "influences". (A later check revealed that McVeigh had indeed rented the film 4 times. A neighbor of McVeigh, incidentally: "At 14, Tim confided that he was a survivalist, stockpiling food, camping equipment and weapons 'in case of a nuclear attack or the communists took over the country.'" )
That said, the movie's pretty decent. Not half bad for an action flick. But as a demonstration of the subtle, ubiquitous tamperings of "The Man" with the American mind, this film is priceless.
Download the trailer here: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_trailer/156/
It is not my intention to say that communism is "good", nor even that propaganda is anything less than a "necessary evil".