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The Rebooted Designated Survivor: Sponsored by the CIA?

The soft reboot of the political drama Designated Survivor recently dropped on Netflix and in spite of Kiefer Sutherland making the least convincing president since Sarah Palin it is a considerable improvement on the first two seasons.

‘Fuck John Wayne’ – Why the DOD Prevented the movie Fields of Fire from Being Made

When James Webb approached the Pentagon to ask for assistance making his Vietnam war drama Fields of Fire he had every right to expect their support.  A former Marine and short-term Secretary of the Navy he was a military veteran who had written his novel based on his own real-life experiences of V

Why Did the Pentagon Support Godzilla and Transformers, but Rejected Jarhead?

The 2005 biographical war film Jarhead is one of a very small number of films set in the first Gulf War.  Despite being based on the autobiography of a Marine who served in Desert Storm the DOD refused to provide it with military support. 

The Pentagon, Superman and the Freedom of Information Act

In 1977 the producers of Superman and Superman II approached the Pentagon to try to obtain stock footage of missiles launching, for use in depicting Lex Luthor's dastardly plot to nuke the San Andreas fault.  The Air Force and Strategic Air Command were provided

Top Gun ‘Rehabilitated the Military’s Image’ After Vietnam, According to the Pentagon

The late Cold War classic Top Gun is one of the most well-liked military movies of all time. It's combination of romance, comedy and never-seen-before aerial action was made possible by extensive support from the DOD, particularly the US Navy.

Does the CIA use Hollywood Movies as Training Films?

In September 1977 the renowned Hollywood gossip columnist Rona Barrett appeared on Good Morning America to talk about spy films. Sat alongside her was CIA director Stansfield Turner, who commented that Hollywood movies would make poor training films for CIA spies.

How the Pentagon Rewrote Pitch Perfect 3 - Spy Culture

Pitch Perfect 3 appears on the surface to be a family-friendly piece of lighthearted, forgettable entertainment. But beneath that surface lies a carefully-crafted piece of military PR, aimed at recruiting people the DOD usually finds it hard to attract.

When MGM invited the CIA director to watch War Games – and he went - Spy Culture

In April 1983 MGM sent a priority cable to CIA headquarters, inviting director Bill Casey to a special screening of their new feature War Games, starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.

‘Keep to the Reduced Silhouette Path’ – CIA on Request for Film Production Assistance - Spy Culture

In 1981 White House aide Joe Holmes contacted the CIA as part of his scheme to encourage the production of 'pro-hero' movies and TV series. A Hollywood studio wanted CIA assistance for a spy film but CIA Director Bill Casey refused the request.

How the Pentagon rewrote Goldeneye - Spy Culture

Goldeneye is possibly the best of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films, but like two others in the Brosnan period it relied on US military support.

What Connects Jack Valenti, E Howard Hunt and The Godfather? - Spy Culture

On the face of it former CIA officer, Watergate burglar and confessed JFK assassin E Howard Hunt shouldn't have had much to do with former MPAA president Jack Valenti.

Updated ‘Complete’ List of DOD Films - Spy Culture

Sometimes the Freedom of Information Act is a strange beast and you receive something you didn't ask for, but are still happy to get. That happened to me recently when in response to a request about the Pentagon's Hollywood database I received an updated list of DOD Films - movies that were assisted by the DOD.

The CIA’s James Bond File - Spy Culture

The CIA has had an interest in James Bond almost since its inception as a series of novels in the 1950s. The books were probably the first spy fiction to refer to the CIA by name and to depict them through the character of Felix Leiter.

The CIA and Three Days of the Condor - Spy Culture

In February 1975 the director of conspiracy classic Three Days of the Condor Sidney Pollack invited Richard Helms, former head of the CIA, to visit the set while they were shooting in New York. Helms went along for a day and acted as a consultant to Robert Redford, as depicted in this infamous picture.

CIA and State Dept Documents on Jack Valenti - Spy Culture

Recently released documents on former White House consultant and MPAA capo Jack Valenti strongly suggest that his appointment as president of the MPAA in some way involved the CIA. The new documents on Valenti come from the CIA and the State Department.

5 Examples of Hollywood’s Influence on Politics - Spy Culture

Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, said Paul Begala (probably). Washington is the entertainment capital of the world, said Jack Valenti. Washington's influence on Hollywood, the state's influence on popular culture, is the primary topic of this site.

‘Bin Laden Burial’ Took Place on Top Gun Ship - Spy Culture

Following the raid in Abbottabad in May 2011 the body of 'Osama Bin Laden' was flown to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where Admiral William McRaven did not initially recognise him. From there the body was flown to the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, where an autopsy was performed before a burial at sea.

MPAA Ratings, the Pentagon and Jack Valenti - Spy Culture

Jack Valenti's career as head of the MPAA spanned nearly 40 years and saw the end of the production code and the establishment of the movie ratings system, the failure of the Vietnam War, the arrival of home cinema followed by the internet, and culminated in the post-9/11 propaganda push.

Tom Clancy’s FBI File (Part II) - Spy Culture

Tom Clancy was one of the best selling spy authors of all time, known not only for his technical accuracy - gleaned through extensive government contacts - but also for an uncanny ability to predict the future. Part of his FBI file was released in 2014 but in recent weeks another section has been made available.

The Secret State Involvement in Kingsman - Spy Culture

Kingsman is perhaps the most intriguing film of the year - on the face of it a cartoonish action comedy set in the world of gentlemen spies, but underneath it is an ultra-violent, racist, eugenicist film of dubious sexual virtue.