Hollywood has tremendous influence around the world. Although American movies make up less than 10 percent of the films produced globally, Hollywood movies receive 70 percent of global cinema screenings. There is no denying that Hollywood movies dominate the international movie industry. As an international symbol of American culture, Hollywood has served to broadcast and amplify American values worldwide—but it has become an instrument for exposing all of humanity to distorted, anti-traditional values.
Today it’s hard for most Americans to imagine that families in 1930s and 1940s had no need to worry about the negative influence of movies on children. But the film industry at the time followed strict moral regulations.
In 1934, with strong backing from churches, the film industry introduced the Code to Govern the Making of Talking, Synchronized and Silent Motion Pictures, also known as the Hays Code. Its first principle was that no picture should be produced that would lower the moral standards of those who see it. The audience should never be made to sympathize with crime, wrongdoing, evil, or sin. The Hays Code principle on sex was to uphold the sanctity of the family and marriage: Motion pictures should not infer that low forms of sexual relationships are acceptable norms. Adultery, while sometimes necessary as plot material, must not be justified, depicted attractively, or treated in an explicit manner.
Since the 1950s, however, sexual liberation has caused cultural and moral shock. The rise of television in the American household fostered enormous market pressure and rivalry among film producers. Hollywood increasingly ignored the Hays Code and failed to enforce self-discipline. For example, Lolita (1962), adapted from the novel of the same title, depicted the adulterous relationship between a man and his underage stepdaughter.
Lolita won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and though the film received both negative and positive reviews at that time, today Lolita holds a 93 percent approval rating among its forty-one reviews on the American film and television review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. This reflects the sea change in social morality that has occurred in recent times.
The counterculture movements at the end of the 1960s marked the collapse of traditional morality and order in Hollywood productions. Several iconic films depicting themes of rebellion reflect an evil and growing hold on the American film industry.
As stated repeatedly throughout this book, a key tactic of communism is to cast criminal behavior in a noble or righteous light. Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 crime film based on the real story of the eponymous Great Depression-era robbers. During the Great Depression, many families became homeless after their houses were foreclosed by banks. The protagonists in the film express righteous anger at this phenomenon, and are depicted as fighting social injustice when they commit bank robbery and murder.
The film, which features some of Hollywood’s first depictions of graphic violence, suggests an underlying narrative of Robin Hood-style justice for these crimes. The criminal couple were depicted by a handsome man and a beautiful woman, portraying them with an inherent sense of justice. The police, meanwhile, were cast as incompetent stooges rather than protectors of law and order. At the finale, the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde when they fell victim to a police scheme had a profound impact on adolescent audiences. The two were beatified as martyrs, as though they had sacrificed themselves for the sake of some great cause.
The themes of crime and violence depicted in the film shocked the mainstream of American society, but found great resonance among rebellious students. The actor and actress who starred as Bonnie and Clyde appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The youth started to copy their style of clothing, speech, and contempt for tradition and custom. They even sought to emulate the couples’ manner of demise. One radical leader of a student organization wrote an article comparing Bonnie and Clyde to supposed heroes like Cuban guerrilla leader Che Guevara and Nguyễn Văn Trỗi, a Vietcong terrorist. One radical student organization claimed, “We are not potential Bonnie and Clydes, we are Bonnie and Clydes.”
Aside from beautifying crime, Bonnie and Clyde featured an unprecedented level of violence and sexuality, However, the film still received critical acclaim, being nominated ten times at the Oscar nominations and winning twice. Hollywood had deviated from its traditional principles.
The Graduate, released at the end of 1967, reflected the inner anxiety and conflicts of college students in the period. The film depicts a lonely college graduate at the crossroads of life. The traditional values of his father’s generation are presented as dull and hypocritical. Instead of entering mainstream American society, he accepts the advances of an older married woman and also falls in love with her daughter, who discovers the affair. At the wedding ceremony of the daughter and another young man, the protagonist arrives at the church, and he and the young woman elope. The Graduate featured a jumble of adolescent rebellion, uncontrolled libido, incest, and other themes reflecting the confused, anti-traditional milieu of rebellious youth. The film was phenomenally successful, generating high box-office sales immediately and over the following years. With seven Oscar nominations and one win, The Graduate gained recognition throughout Hollywood.
Films like Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate kickstarted the New Hollywood era. At the end of 1968, the Hays Code was replaced with the modern film-rating system. That is, films with all kinds of content could be screened as long as they were labeled with a rating. This loosened the moral self-discipline of the entertainment industry considerably and blurred the standards of right and wrong. In this way, entertainers and media staff separated morality from their creations, giving free reign to evil content.
Degenerate entertainment hooked audiences with cheap, exciting, and readily available stimulation. Meanwhile, producers gave in to their greed as they reeled in prodigious commercial profits.
Film is a special medium with the power to create compelling atmospheres and realistic personalities, and to bring audiences to the viewpoint of the director. Successful movies can so immerse their audiences in the cinematic world that hardly anything can call them back to reality. They play an enormous role in shaping the feelings and worldview of their audiences, and in the hands of evildoers, in leading people to break with tradition.
A well-known film producer once said, “Documentaries convert the already converted. Fictional films convert the unconverted.” In other words, documentaries strengthen the values that viewers already hold, while fictional films use fascinating stories to prime their unwitting audiences with a new set of values. The producer and male lead of Bonnie and Clyde is a supporter of socialism. His 1981 historical drama Reds won him Oscar and Golden Globe awards. At the height of the Cold War, Reds changed the stereotype of a radical communist into an easy-going and friendly person .
In another of his Oscar-nominated movies, Bulworth, he depicted a socialist presidential candidate. Through his portrayal, audiences were given the suggestion that class, not race, is the central issue of American politics. This movie was such a success that many urged him to run for president of the United States.
Many movies had an immediate impact. As Bonnie and Clyde came to the end during its debut, insults were shouted at the police from the back rows. After the introduction of the rating system, the first R-rated movie, Easy Rider, became an instant hit and contributed to the popularity of drug abuse. The film follows the adventures of two long-haired, cocaine-dealing hippy motorcyclists as they indulge in rock music, hallucinatory drugs, hippy communes, and brothels. Real drugs were used during the film’s production. Their lifestyle of antisocial indulgence free from conventional values became the dream of numerous youth, and turned drugs into a symbol of the counterculture. The director admitted: “The cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider, it was everywhere.”
Since the introduction of the movie-rating system, Hollywood began to mass produce movies that cast a positive glow on degenerate behaviors such as sexual promiscuity, violence, illicit drugs, and organized crime. A research study showed that R-rated movies took up to 58 percent of the Hollywood movies produced between 1968 and 2005 .
American scholar Victor B. Cline did an analysis of thirty-seven movies that were shown in Salt Lake City in the 1970s. He found that 58 percent of the films presented dishonesty in a heroic light or as justified by the hero because of the circumstances, and that 38 percent of the films presented criminal activity as something that pays off or as a successful and an exciting pastime with no negative consequences. In 59 percent of the films, the heroes killed one or more people. Seventy-two percent of the heroines were presented as sexually promiscuous to some degree. In fact, only one film suggested normal sexual relations between a man and a woman legally married to each other. In only 22 percent of the films were any of the principal figures seen engaged in what might be termed healthy and reasonably satisfying marriages.
A common argument against criticism of violence and sexuality in films is that such things exist in real life and that films only reflect the nature of reality, rather than having any negative impact. But from the figures above, this is demonstrably false. Moreover, numerous movies produced by Hollywood leftists naturally reflect their values and in turn have changed the values of society. According to film critic and former Hollywood screenwriter Michael Medved, the liberal-minded social revolutionaries in Hollywood are molding the values of society by assaulting the legitimacy of the family, promoting sexual perversion, and glorifying ugliness.
Others argue that the profusion of morally degenerate content in the film industry is merely driven by market forces. But whatever the means, diabolical goals are being achieved to frightening effect. The speed and power with which the film industry has been used to take down public morality is astounding. Some movies lionize beasts or monsters; those that depict man transforming into beasts or even bestiality are approved of and praised by the Hollywood mainstream. This is the real-life reflection of how the devil has brought the world under its rule—mankind has come to embrace monsters.
These anti-tradition movies probe into and reflect on social issues with superficial intricacy, but they are actually excuses to create a complex and vivid environment in which to immerse the audience. A studiously crafted atmosphere allows the audience to think of moral standards as being circumstantial. Ugly deeds that conventional society disapproves of can always in some way be rationalized, given sympathetic treatment, or even made to appear positive. The ultimate message, implanted in the brains of the audience, is that there isn’t a clear divide between right and wrong or good and evil, that traditions are boring and suppressive, and that morality is relative.
From Chapter Thirteen: Hijacking the Media