Propaganda film

From ArticleWorld

Propaganda films used to be almost entirely in the form of documentaries and were used to encourage an audience to take a particular viewpoint on an issue at the time, usually of political problems. However, fiction films have also been used to the same purpose and these are sometimes subtle, sometimes open in their opinion.

Second World War

The time of the Second World War was almost certainly when propaganda films were at their most prevalent. Both sides involved in the war created their own propaganda films in order to motivate their country folk and help to create a feeling of unity against the enemy.

A very famous example of this is the film Triumph of the Will, which was commissioned by Hitler himself. The film shows the events of the Nazi Party’s rally in Nuremburg in 1934. Obviously this film contains very controversial subject matter and glorifies the work that Hitler did, but it is still largely hailed as being one of the most powerful films in the history of the medium.


In a similar way to Hitler’s commission in Germany, the Soviet government paid the Russian film industry to produce propaganda films following the October Revolution of 1917. The 1920s saw the use of the cinema as a tool for propaganda grow hugely, becoming more successful as the years passed. One director who was known for his propaganda films was Sergei Eisenstein. The most famous example of his work was The Battleship Potemkin, another film which is recognised as being an excellent example of cinematic brilliance even though it glorifies Communism throughout.


One of the world’s best loved classic films is Casablanca. It has achieved such status that very few realise that it was originally released as a propaganda film. The film was released in America as a tool to encourage support for the war effort.