Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Film Studies

Reader 1

Gaston Espinosa

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This paper explores the role of Hollywood films that reframe political history in affecting attitude change. Although pre-existing research establishes the ability for entertainment movies to influence political beliefs, this case study approach extracts some of the strategies directors use to convince audiences of their revisionist narratives. JFK (1991), Malcolm X (1992), Birth of a Nation (1915), Birth of a Nation (2016), and Snowden (2016) reframe a historical figure or organization with varying levels of success. The first five chapters explore the box office performance, film form, and political impact of the aforementioned films. Film form is divided into four areas of focus: literary design, mise-en-scène, editing, and sound design. A few overarching strategies emerge after the analysis of the directors’ approach. First, they grant theirnarratives historical credibility. Second, they humanize their protagonist and demonize their antagonist. Third, they use the sound design to drive home their message. Fourth, they ensure that the viewer’s experience parallels that of the protagonist’s experience. These patterns aid in the understanding of how Hollywood films influence American democracy. Although the entertainment medium is often considered apolitical, this paper reasserts the industry’s role inaffecting domestic political institutions.