The Cold War on Film
by Paul Frazier
July 2021, 166pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7212-9
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7213-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How accurate are Hollywood’s portrayals of the Cold War?

The Cold War on Film illustrates how to use film as a teaching tool. It stands on its own as an account of both the war and the major films that have depicted it.

Memories of the Cold War have often been shaped by the popular films that depict it—for example, The Manchurian Candidate, The Hunt for Red October, and Charlie Wilson’s War, among others. The Cold War on Film examines how the Cold War has been portrayed through a selection of 10 iconic films that represent it through dramatization and storytelling, as opposed to through documentary footage.

The book includes an introduction to the war’s history and a timeline of events. Each of the 10 chapters that follow focuses on a specific Cold War film. Chapters offer a uniquely detailed level of historical context for the films, weighing their depiction of events against the historical record and evaluating how well or how poorly those films reflected the truth and shaped public memory and discourse over the war. A comprehensive annotated bibliography of print and electronic sources aids students and teachers in further research.


  • Provides a unique guide to the Cold War experience for film history buffs, students and scholars of history, and fans of cinema
  • Offers equal emphasis on the films themselves and the historical events depicted
  • Presents carefully researched and highly informative coverage
  • Stimulates debate over the various ways the war was interpreted and experienced
Paul Frazier, PhD, is associate professor of history at Gateway Community and Technical College. He is a contributing author for several ABC-CLIO publications including Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History, Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories in American History, and American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore.


"Thoroughly researched and written in an informative and accessible style, this is a great resource for students of both film and American history as well as popular culture."—Booklist Online, October 15, 2021

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, including students in technical programs; general readers."—Choice, May 1, 2022

Hollywood History

Just exactly how accurate are Hollywood's film and television portrayals of U.S. history? What do these portrayals tell us, not only about the events they depict, but also the time in which they were made? Each volume in this unique reference series is devoted to a single topic or key theme in U.S. history, examining approximately 10 major motion pictures or television productions. Substantial essays summarize each film, provide a historical background of the event or period it depicts, and explain how accurate the film’s depiction is, while also analyzing the cultural context in which the film was made.
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