Hollywood’s Influence

Last updated: June 20, 2016

Does Hollywood have a negative impact on the world?

Hollywood’s Influence
Yes because...

Artistic. Hollywood films are poor, lowest-common denominator pulp, relying on special effects and ...

Artistic. Hollywood films are poor, lowest-common denominator pulp, relying on special effects and large quantities of sex and violence to mask preposterous plots, weak dialogue and poor acting. The studios’ addiction to test audiences leads to unadventurous films, with compulsory happy endings and slushy morals.
No because...
Hollywood movies are internationally successful because they are popular. Films made in Hollywood can be rubbish, but they can also be terrific – as can films made anywhere else in the world. In any case, it is elitist to condemn films made purely for lightweight escapism for lack of “artistic credibility”. If the public wanted “artistic credibility” it would be profitable and be provided by the studios.

Hollywood’s Influence
Yes because...

Moral. Hollywood films glorify sex and violence, attacking the moral values of all societies and le...

Moral. Hollywood films glorify sex and violence, attacking the moral values of all societies and leading their young astray. Even in America the ethical values of Hollywood have come under considerable attack in the 2000 Presidential race.
No because...
Again,not all Hollywood movies are the same – some are pornographic or gratuitously violent, but this is true of cinema elsewhere too. Taken as a whole, Hollywood movies actually tend to promote liberal values of universal significance, e.g. women’s rights, the evils of tyranny, the independent worth of each human life, and the possibilities of individual success through hard work. It is hardly surprising that those countries which most wish to ban American films are those who least value these values, e.g. China.

Hollywood’s Influence
Yes because...

Cultural. Hollywood imposes American entertainment and its language on the world, at the expense of...

Cultural. Hollywood imposes American entertainment and its language on the world, at the expense of indigenous cultures and languages, and of domestic film industries. Globalisation of entertainment threatens to result in a bland, American-flavoured uniformity.
No because...
Hollywood’s success does not mean failure for domestic film industries elsewhere in the world, e.g. India’s hugely successful Bollywood, and the recently thriving French, Spanish, Iranian and Chinese-language cinema. Instead the attraction of Hollywood movies may help to create an infrastructure of cinemas and marketing methods, as well as a film-going public eager for a more varied diet of entertainment, stimulating the development of thriving indigenous film studios.

Hollywood’s Influence
Yes because...

Political. Hollywood promotes a biased and peculiarly American view of the world. Hollywood portra...

Political. Hollywood promotes a biased and peculiarly American view of the world. Hollywood portrays a simplistic good vs. evil view of international conflicts, in which stereotyped and negative images of Muslims, Russians, South Americans, etc. are presented as the enemies of freedom and progress. Hollywood even distorts history, with numerous second-world war films downplaying the contribution of other nations to allied victory, and anachronistic innovations in period drama designed to show Americans in a favourable light.
No because...
Hollywood is far from typically or monolithically American, instead its concentration of creative resources have made it an international centre for the production of entertainment. Many of its most successful producers, directors and stars have in fact been foreigners, coming to the USA either as refugees or because they sought the international audience which Hollywood can provide. Recently cross-fertilisation has taken place, with acclaimed directors from a variety of non-English language film cultures bringing new perspectives to Hollywood at the same time as creating internationally successful hit movies.

Hollywood’s Influence
Yes because...

Economic. The sheer size and financial power of Hollywood’s major studios allows them to dominate f...

Economic. The sheer size and financial power of Hollywood’s major studios allows them to dominate foreign cinemas at the expense of domestic industries which cannot compete with them. This is achieved through big budgets associated with very expensive special effects, huge salaries for star actors from around the world, who may be lost to their own film industry as a result, and immense marketing budgets. Hollywood has also lobbied the US very effectively over decades to ensure cultural exports are classed as just another form of trade in international agreements, and to help it gain control over distribution networks abroad.
No because...
If money guaranteed success then small-budget 'foreign' films such as “The Full Monty” would never become international hits, and expensive monsters such as “Waterworld” would always succeed. Similarly, the French government has been throwing money at its domestic film industry for years, yet the market share of American films in France has continued to rise. In any case, most of the major studios in Hollywood are, of have recently been, owned by non-American companies.


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