Why does ‘Hollywood’ never give enough recognition to Britain in World War Two?

I recently haven’t notice one modern movie that is mainly about or features British soldiers as a major part, in a movie. For example Saving Private Ryan although the movie covered the US landings at Omaha, they never once run into non Americans, there were over 80,000 British And Canadian Troops (at least…

Hollywood – films – made (or at least financed) in America.
Population of the UK – approx 60 million
Population of the US – approx 310 million.

Who do you think it more important to pitch your films towards?
The third most populous country in the world that is also funding the film, or one that falls below 20th?

The argument is that if Britain wants to make films glorifying British war activity then it is free to do so – in the same way as Hollywood has with American ones. Instead we chose to make films like (brilliant though they are) “The Hill” amd “Ice Cold in Alex”. The only ones that wind me up are films like “The Great Escape” and U571 that are fabrifications of hidtorical events that those who know no better may take as accounts of history.

Is this related to the ‘junior partner’ statement the British P.M. Cameron made? That America was the ‘senior partner’ in 1940, implying that Britain, Commonwealth, France and the USSR were the juniors following Ike’s orders? That’s caused a kerfuffle in Britain since neither the US nor the USSR were in the fight in 1940; but became major players after autumn 1942, when they had enough men and material on site to make significant impacts against the Axis powers.

My answer is that all movies – Hollywood or Pinewood – are propaganda, Hollywood is in the United States, and the U.S. like to think that they won the war single-handed. Their history books, their films and their politicians tell them they did, so they believe it. Since they believe it, that’s how they show it. If they showed it any other way, they would be accused of distorting the truth. (That happened in Canada, when a documentary dared imply incendiary carpet bombing Hamburg and Dresden were as great an atrocity as bombing Coventry. Type ‘The Valour and the Horror’ into your web browser.)

War history is very complicated and emotional. No one has made a film about Lindburgh as a Nazi sympathizer, or the Ford Motor Company using the respect Hitler had for Henry Ford to keep its German plants from being nationalized – and thus profiting from both sides in the war. No one has made a film about Mosley’s British fascists or the Cliveden set.

American and British troops did not invade France shoulder to shoulder. Each had their own landing beaches and objectives. It was unlikely that members of the U.S. and British forces ran into each other.

Now the Americans do have a case to think they did almost singlehandly win the war in Europe. By Spring 1942, when the US started arriving ‘over there’, most of Europe had been blown apart by bombs and bullets and in Nazi hands, cowed or starving. The U.S. and Canada were fairly unscathed. No bombing raids upon North America, or hardly any that mattered. (The US think of Canada as territory they own yet can’t be bothered claiming, so it doesn’t rate separate billing in Hollywood, though Canadians were overseas since December 1939.) It had the manpower, the materials and they had the generals. The US have always been proud of their military successes. They believe – at least believed at the time – they never lost a war, and they are also the ‘can-do’ folks. The Brits were dogged and plucky, but wrung out and Churchill was repeatedly calling out to Roosevelt for help. American confidence, ingenuity and soldiers would succeed, but only under the command of American generals. They had might, thus their ascendancy in the conferences among the Allied brasses.

By the way, I haven’t seen any Canadians, Anzac’s and hardly any French soldiers and Poles in either British or American war films or mentioned in British and American histories of World War II – except for the Dieppe debacle, which the Americans don’t mention and the British say they were not responsible for. Poles were in the RAF. So were Canadians until the Royal Canadian Air Force was made separate and allowed to serve under its own commanders. I don’t know how the Australian/New Zealand flyers served; but another answerer will say.

Films are not historical documents and they should not be expected to be.

The short answer to your first question is that Hollywood is in America, the financial backers are overwhelmingly American, they want a return for their money and they get that by appealing to audiences, and the largest audience for their films are American.

How many British films feature other allies Soviet Russians, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, French, Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, South Sea Islanders, West Indians, Africans etc., etc? The answer is very few – especially the first.

As for your history lesson, you need to be more accurate, for example, although the defence of India and Burma was a British (and Dominions and Empire) concern, there were US forces involved, in the offensive actions and supplying the Chinese – cf the abrasive, belligerent General Stilwell, they also provided a majority of the aircraft supplying the Chindits. Equally US forces were involved in the Iran campaign, the US Army Corps of Transportation operated the rail system from 1942, which released the British troops for North Africa and Europe. The point is that if you misunderstand/misrepresent these areas you are contributing to the problem of glossing over history.

btw the majority of Panama Joe’s answer are not Hollywood films.

Its not implausible that Hollywood could create a WW2 movie could be made from the Brit perspective. Most of the movies cited by the 1st responder were made decades ago but, still, they WERE made. “Private Ryan” glossed over the Brit role probably b/c it likely wouldn’ve required additional time to explain the UK’s role in the war (after all, history isn’t exactly a strong subject to most Americans).
Heck, Clint Eastwood made Letters from Iwo Jima (about the Japanese perspective) & Spike “White Man is de Devil” Lee made Miracle at St. Anna (about the black GI perspective) so its really a matter of finding someone willing to do the Brit view.

Likely NOT Mel Gibson.
After Braveheart & The Patriot, he’d likely try to prove the Holocaust was the UK’s idea.

Re: the German perspective:
Das Boot (submarine movie)
Die Brucke (German kids forced to defend a bridge against Allied attack near the end of the war)

The home front of the United States in World War I saw a systematic mobilization of the entire population and the entire economy to produce the soldiers, food supplies, munitions and money needed to win the war. Although the United States entered the war in April 1917, there had been very little planning, or even recognition of the problems that the British and other Allies had to solve on their home fronts. As a result, the level of confusion was high in the first 12 months, then efficiency took control.



Hollywood makes movies about Americans for American audiences – they are worried that a movie primarily about the British role in WW2 wouldn’t take enough money at the box office in USA, so they don’t make them.

Most telling is that all the movies we see of US winning WW2 single handed are being exposed for the distortion they are – the current US military can’t even take out a bunch of tribesmen in Iraq or Afghanistan, but Hollywood would have us believe they were capable of defeating modern,industrialized nations all by themselves70 years ago…

As for the other points you make, I wholeheartedly agree; USA only joined WW2 when directly attacked.Previous to that, it would seem, Americans and their political leaders didn’t feel that freedom, democracy, and halting the spread of evil were worthy of fighting for in themselves…

A Bridge Too Far

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Longest Day

Sink the Bismark!

The Battle of Britain

Hollywood is in America run by America loving executives who know that Americans do not want to see a film about how awesome the British are but a film that is all about how much better America is than the rest of the world

If you need to download Battleship Game you can get it here for free: http://j.mp/ZYuLJY

it’s completely free and it’s very fast to install
The game is drawn for the World War 2 and includes the most famous battles that happened during this time.
It’s my favourite game.

Maybe, but how many British WWII movies feature Americans? If you want to see Brits in WWII movies then watch movies made in England. For example: I bet you didn’t see “The Last Drop” filed in 2005. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Dr… Or how about the 1997 hit, “The Land Girls” and the 1996 movie “Over Here” and “Brycleem Boys”. Here’s one you probably watched, “The English Patient”. See, if you want to watch Brits in WWII, then you need to rent the videos!

And if that makes you think, just wait to you watch a Japanese made WWII movie showing light skinned Japanese wearing american uniforms speaking in Japanese.

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