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In the late-19th and early-20th centuries the Revolutionary War the Civil War and the Spanish-American war were grist for American movies mill mostly in romantic flag-wavers which boasted little action The war film as it is known today -- violent dramatizations of men in combat -- emerged with the worlds first experience of modern warfare World War I This study therefore excludes films set against conflicts of previous centuries readers should consult the articles on epic and historical films for the treatment of pre-20th-century wars This article will focus chiefly on the films built around the combat of World War I World War II the Korean War and the Vietnam War In the mid teens as Europe sank into war pacifist feelings were still strong in America Woodrow Wilson having kept America out of the conflict was re-elected President in 1916 That same year three important films denouncing war were released DW Griffiths experimental masterpiece Intolerance included the bloody fall of Babylon among its four narratives Civilization directed by Thomas H Ince depicted a Christlike pacifist who warns against war and Herbert Brenons War Brides starred Alla Nazimova as a woman who kills herself and her unborn baby rather than supply the next generation of cannon fodder In April of 1917 America entered the Great War by that year Intolerance had flopped at the box-office Civilization was being sold as the anti-German drama it really was and War Brides was withdrawn from circulation Dominating the screen was producerdirector Cecil B De Mille who with writer Jeanie Macpherson made two popular war dramas Joan The Woman 1917 which combined narratives of Joan of Arc and a modern soldier fighting to help France and The Little American 1917 in which Mary Pickford was menaced by bestial Huns The latters success along with the pro-war fever sweeping the nation established a pattern for Americas 1918 films set on the battlefields of Europe Griffiths Hearts Of The World starred
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