Segments in this Video

Movies in the 1930s (05:33)


Hollywood had a tremendous impact on American life in the 1930s, with movies serving as a way to reach the minds of the public. The Franklin Roosevelt administration was keen to have Hollywood advocating for an interventionist position in the war, while the non interventionist movement was upset when they saw Hollywood as advocating entry into the war.

Cinema: Anti Nazi Tone (04:17)

The events of Kristallnacht and the increasing awareness of Nazi activity in Europe changes America and Hollywood cinema, with Warner Brothers releasing Confessions of a Nazi Spy in 1939.

Isolationists (02:33)

The isolationists in America were worried that if another European war happened, America would get dragged into it. They held hearings to try and find out if the movie industry was influencing people to want war. The hearings were a huge embarrassment for the isolationists and the movie industry was very skilled in manipulating the hearings.

Director William Wyler Comes to America (03:14)

William Wyler was a director for MGM during WWII who made a propaganda film called Mrs. Miniver. He changed a scene to make the German pilot a nasty propaganda spewing ubermensch because his boss, Louis B Mayer, didn't want to be seen as pro-entry into the war.

Can You Make it Believable? (02:32)

Willy goes to Hollywood to make a movie about the war, and Pearl Harbor happens. He meets General Arnold and gets a job in the Air Force.

How Do You Make Them Believe? (04:39)

Frank Capra was a patriotic American filmmaker who made propaganda films for the military during World War II. He was inspired by the power of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and decided to make films that would only show American soldiers and footage shot by American soldiers. This would create a sense of patriotism and belief in the war effort among the troops.

Hollywood Stars Aid the War Effort (03:16)

Hollywood's most famous movie stars leave the film capital to help the government and the US Military. This was unprecedented.

Frank Capra Wants to Win (01:28)

Frank Capra was a World War Two veteran who believed that if they lost, they would lose everything.

Tunisian Victory (01:55)

The film Tunisian Victory was a fraud and a fake, made to deceive the American president.

Theme of Memphis Belle (01:23)

The movie Memphis Belle is released and becomes a huge hit. The Army Air Force is thrilled because this is great publicity.

The Legend of Nazi Invincibility (04:34)

Frank Capra was a great filmmaker, but he was not a great historian. His films about World War II are inaccurate and misleading.

Filming the Liberation of Paris (01:50)

George Stevens was a war cinematographer who documented the liberation of Paris. He was deaf for a period after the war, but it eventually went away.

Deaf Director George Stevens (06:59)

George Stevens went to Dachau concentration camp and it changed him forever. He realized the importance of documenting what happened there so that people would know. This experience taught him about the atrocities that humans are capable of and it stayed with him throughout his life.

Films: Ideological Weapon (07:32)

Movies are a powerful tool for transmitting culture and ideology.

Credits (00:19)


For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Hollywood & World War II

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



For the USA, World War 2 was an all-out war – to mobilize the masses, the US government launched a huge propaganda campaign and cinema, the medium of the masses, was quite simply their most important weapon. Government authorities monitored the production of feature films and the military itself produced documentaries aimed at rallying the American people to support the troops. This film tells the story of four Hollywood directors of European origin, who returned to the "Old Continent" during the Second World War to make propaganda documentaries for the US Army at the front: William Wyler from Alsace, Frank Capra from Italy, Anatole Litvak from Ukraine and – in post-war Germany – Billy Wilder from Austria. The four men – three of whom came from Jewish families – risked their lives at times for their new homeland and returned to the USA with serious physical and psychological injuries. Their films are unique, long-forgotten documentaries dealing with the front line in Italy and the bombardment of Germany through to the liberation of Dachau.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: FPT207040

ISBN: 978-1-64867-831-8

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.