At that time, there was no film during the Cold War, but a variety that caught different threads. The conspiracies ranged from the traditional price and stock of spies, from atrocities to Soviet invasions to hopeful demonstrations by Russians and Americans in the United States who found common ground, even if their countries did not find common ground. Others focused on the dangers of nuclear destruction, as portrayed in earlier films such as “Failsafe” and “Dr. Strangelove”, but live life – and directly in living rooms – in the 80s.
The Promise, released the same year, offered a lower but no less devastating view of the consequences of nuclear war, while The War Games gave us a more Hollywood spectacle.
This period also included the “Red Dawn,” in which teenagers defended themselves from the invading forces of the U.S. homeland; And “Amerika,” an ABC mini-series about the future of Soviet-occupied America.
Despite the fear of the Cold War, lots of entertaining films were built against this backdrop. “Rocky IV” actually sees the title character win over Russian fans against the mighty Soviet champion Ivan Drago, while in another Sylvester Stallone franchise, “Rambo III”, the assassination machine trained merged with the brave Afghans against the Soviet Union. Among the spies among us, “No Going Out” was somewhat of an early version of “Americans,” while Chevy Chase and Dan Akiroid co-starred in the 1985 comedy “Spies Like Us.”
As for the notion of National Partnership, examples range from “Red Fever,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, to “Gorky Park,” to William Hart as a Russian detective trying to figure out a trio of undercover corrupt navigators and part-time partners with American police.
The question is where the Russian image goes from here.
Michael Kakman, Associate Professor of Notre Dame Television, whose specialties include American Cold War culture, expressed hope that the stories of individual Russians would not be lost in the pursuit of broad lines.
“Part of a difficult task in American popular culture is that Russians are imaginary people, or even during most of the Cold War,” Kakman told CNN. If the goal is greater understanding, he added, it is important to remember “that Russia is not just Putin and try to be reasonably sympathetic” to the people who live in the system.
Because it can take years to turn an idea into a movie or a TV show, now it’s hard to say where the latest developments will take us. But if the 80s are any sign – and the content landscape has grown exponentially over the decades – it does not fit in just one basket.
“The world is difficult and so are we,” Kakman said. – All these ideas are in circulation together.
The Russians were criminals in the movies in the 1980s. What can the new Cold War bring?
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