War is hell, but for Hollywood it has been a Godsend, providing the perfect dramatic setting against which courageous heroes win the hearts and minds of the movie going public.
The Pentagon recognises the power of these celluloid dreams and encourages Hollywood to create heroic myths; to rewrite history to suit its own strategy and as a recruiting tool to provide a steady flow of willing young patriots for its wars.
What does Hollywood get out of this 'deal with the devil'? Access to billions of dollars worth of military kit, from helicopters to aircraft carries, enabling filmmakers to make bigger and more spectacular battle scenes, which in turn generate more box office revenue. Providing they accept the Pentagon's advice, even toe the party line and show the US military in a positive light.
So is it a case of art imitating life, or a sinister force using art to influence life and death - and the public perception of both?
Empire will examine Hollywood, the Pentagon, and war.
Our interviewees this week are: Phil Strub, US Department of Defense Film Liaison Unit; Julian Barnes, Pentagon correspondent, LA Times; David Robb, the author of Operation Hollywood; Prof Klaus Dodds, the author of Screening Terror; Matthew Alford, the author of Reel Power; Prof Melani McAlister, the author of Culture, Media, and US Interests in the Middle East.
This episode of Empire can be seen from Wednesday, December 22 at the follwing times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 1400; Friday: 0300; Saturday: 1900.