Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu

Keywords

film, hero, heroes, soldier, war

Abstract

The mythos of the hero has existed within the stories of humanity for as long as we can remember. Within the last hundred years film has become one of the dominant storytelling media of our culture and numerous films, especially war films, about heroes and their inspirational actions have been made. This study focuses on war films and the hero soldiers and their actions portrayed in those films. It uses a narrative analysis of five war films to accomplish this. The findings suggest that the hero soldier has become more human and fallible over time and that heroes are a constantly changing entity. These changes do not reach down to the fundamental levels of hero makeup. At the core and archetypal level the hero remains the same. However, the hero soldier has become more flawed over time descending from invincible demi-god to a fallible human. This change is due to the merger between the hero and non-hero characters, and the incorporation of their traits into one another.

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