Hollywood CIA movies: The nexus revealed
November 6, 2023: Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Nicole Kidman, Chuck Norris, Gregory Peck, Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Tom Hanks – the list goes on and on of Hollywood superstars who acted in spy thrillers, war movies, and superhero films.
Movies such as Saving Private Ryan, Top Gun, Hurt Locker, Delta Force, Oppenheimer, Pearl Harbor, Argo, Platoon, Mission Impossible, Clear and Present Danger, Great Escape, Guns of Navarone – they were produced not just to entertain you. They were manufactured to plant a one-sided narrative deep into your brain – that American soldiers are good guys; that American spies are smart guys; that war should be glorified. That’s the reality about Hollywood CIA movies.
In this special report, we will put the spotlight on the nexus between the Hollywood film industry and the US-based CIA, or the Central Intelligence Agency. We will look at how the Pentagon, America’s defence HQ, and the CIA admitted to misusing Hollywood as a marketing tool. Why? Because America is the world’s leading warmongering nation. And so, it wants to brainwash people all over the world into thinking – when the US goes to war, it’s always for a good cause.
Many Hollywood CIA movies that you enjoyed watching during your lifetime were propaganda operations of the American espionage establishment. Popular American war movies and spy thrillers are often scripted by the US intelligence agency. The Hollywood film industry’s main task is to use its charm and popularity to whitewash the dirty track record of the US empire.
We are talking about illegal interventions, wars, and spying missions that blatantly violate human and sovereign rights. Such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American spy attacks on Russia and Iran. Hollywood serves as a great public relations machine that portrays these black deeds as acts of heroism and glory. And fans of gripping Hollywood CIA movies keep walking into this trap. A trap of disinformation and cunning propaganda.
Engineering sympathy for troops
Take the example of how Hollywood films are used to evoke sympathy and respect for American soldiers on illegal missions. The Pentagon routinely sends troops to intervene in other countries’ affairs. To cover up those dirty tricks, well-marketed films project US soldiers and spying agents as heroes on a mission.
For example, take the 1998 film, Saving Private Ryan, a Steven Spielberg war movie starring Tom Hanks. Then there is Top Gun, a 1986 blockbuster action-drama about the US navy, starring Tom Cruise. Also, take Guns of Navarone as another example of US military heroism. It features actor Gregory Peck. Now, films such as these ones try to persuade movie-goers into thinking that US soldiers are always the good guys fighting the bad guys.
Let’s look at how the CIA glorifies its image. Hollywood CIA movies have gone to a really high level with their well strategised propaganda drive. It has rolled out non-stop sequels, targeting generation after generation of audiences to brainwash them. The spy thrillers come with themes that show western intelligence officers as charming operators. The Hollywood CIA movies portray deceptive spies as trusted patriots exposing evil forces from other countries. Especially those that are America’s diplomatic rivals, such as Russia, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran.
The most prominent productions glorifying American spies are the Mission Impossible films and novelist Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. The movies come with a predictable template: good-natured spying agents tired of the broken system are cleaning up the world.
Another one from the celebrated bunch of Hollywood CIA movies is Clear and Present Danger, in which Harrison Ford delivers an engaging performance to project the CIA as an office comprising honest people, not just crooked spies. Then there’s the 2007 thriller Rendition, which shows that some CIA operatives are indeed sympathetic people; ready to risk their jobs to deliver justice. Another one along the same lines is Zero Dark Thirty. The 2012 CIA film is about the secret US mission to catch Osama bin Laden.
James Bond: A US-UK joint project
Why are we forgetting Mr. James Bond, the world’s most celebrated fictional spy? When it comes to the CIA-Pentagon-Hollywood nexus manufacturing enemies and spreading xenophobia, 007 stands out. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig made the Bond flicks famous and timeless.
Although Bond movies are technically produced in Britain, US production firms pair up with the British producers for many of the films. Bond movies are mostly produced by British-based Eon Productions. Eon brings them out in collaboration with major US production companies such as MGM, Columbia Pictures, United Artists, and Universal Pictures. Therefore, Bond narratives also come in the category of Hollywood CIA movies that are part of the brainwash project.
In the James Bond storylines, the charming British agent represents the so-called good side of intelligence networks from the English-speaking West. The plots reflect the foreign policies of both America and Britain – basically, the larger transatlantic West. In Bond films, villains are usually portrayed as having connections with Russia, India, Germany, Afghanistan, China, and North Korea.
The most interesting thing is, the Pentagon and the CIA don’t bother to keep their Hollywood connection a secret. They have made it known in the past that they closely work with Hollywood studios in Los Angeles; that they have a tight leash on the storylines and scripts.
On February 28, 2018, the Pentagon – which is basically the American war ministry – removed all doubts about its nexus with popular US cinema. It released a blog post titled ‘How and Why the DoD Works with Hollywood’. DoD is the US department of defence. Basically, the Pentagon confessed to its collaboration with the US film industry.
The blog post says, “The defence department has a long-standing relationship with Hollywood. It’s been working with filmmakers for nearly 100 years with a goal that’s two-fold: to accurately depict military stories and make sure sensitive information isn’t disclosed.”
Take note of the US military’s two goals here. “To accurately depict military stories” means micromanaging the script of a film. “To make sure sensitive information isn’t disclosed” means to ensure the military’s illegal deeds are deleted from the plot.
The Pentagon’s honest post also points to situations where there is “tension” between the defence establishment and the filmmakers. The blog post says, “While Hollywood is paid to tell a compelling story that will make money, the defence department is looking to tell an accurate story. So naturally, there can be challenges in combining the two. Production agreements require the defence department to be able to review a rough cut of a film, so officials can decide if there are areas that need to be addressed before a film is released.”
CIA and Jennifer Garner
Let’s now move on to the CIA’s position on letting the world know about its nexus with Hollywood. In 2004, the CIA released a public awareness video message recorded by popular American actress Jennifer Garner. She has appeared in the propaganda film Pearl Harbor. Garner mainly shot to fame after playing the role of CIA agent Sydney Bristow in Alias, a spy-thriller TV series that was broadcast on ABC. In 2002, she bagged a Golden Globe award for that performance.
In 2004, Garner appeared in a video message that showed her deep involvement with the CIA in real life. In the video clip, she calls upon American citizens to join the US intelligence agency. The video is a rare instance of a Hollywood star directly endorsing the CIA. It is a confirmation of the Hollywood CIA movies ‘special operation’.
If you go further back to 1996, that was when the CIA infamously hired one of its former clandestine officers, Chase Brandon, to work directly with Hollywood studios and production companies. He was assigned to improve America’s image through popular cinema. Brandon’s acts as a CIA manipulator who called the shots deep inside Hollywood is well documented.
The Pentagon’s honest blog post, actress Jennifer Garner’s video appeal, and the 1996 hiring of Chase Brandon are confirmation of the deep-rooted CIA-military-entertainment complex. In fact, it’s not just the spy movies and war epics; many other types of Hollywood films are also strategically rolled out to sell certain narratives about the US.
If you think deeply about the alien invasion movies or the comic-book superhero films, you will notice the same agenda that you see in the Hollywood CIA movies. An oversimplified narrative is repeatedly told – that the US alone keeps getting targeted by enemies; and it is the US that saves the world from all evil. The reason behind this hero-worship narrative is that America loves to project itself as the world’s most powerful empire. So, it wants to promote its soft power through commercial cinema. Nothing serves this purpose better than blockbuster Hollywood hits at theatres near you.
We are not asking you to boycott Hollywood movies. Watch them, if you have to, purely for the sake of aesthetics, entertainment, filmmaking knowhow, and to kill time. But next time when you watch a new release at a theatre near you, remember that it is produced not just to entertain you, but also to shape your opinion about the American empire. To brainwash you.
Many Hollywood movies are part of a crafty public relations project that only the US executes best. Just like it executes its dark deeds with impunity and deception.
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