Black Hawk Down - Propoganda

Topics: Propaganda, Citizen Kane, Ridley Scott Pages: 5 (1482 words) Published: March 23, 2014
The film Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott is an action packed war drama that supports the theory Americans risked their lives to end the civil war in Somalia, East Africa, 1993. Many propaganda techniques were utilised throughout this film to put the Americans in the good spotlight for a Western audience. Propaganda is defined as “information, of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view” (Definition of Propaganda, 2012). Throughout this film the director has utilised many techniques, these include stereotyping, euphoria, demonizing the enemy and bandwagon (Propaganda Techniques, 2007).

The 2001 film directed by Ridley Scott was applauded for his recall on the horrific events that occurred in Somalia, 1993. Throughout the film Scott portrays Americans as being the heroes, protecting those who were in danger of death and destruction. Scott shows the Americans as the sort of people that are ready to put up a fight in order to get things done. Commander Garrison is presented as being in charge by the high tech military equipment that surrounds him in his safe cove back at base. It is also shown by his uniform and direction of orders. Scott shows him and his fellow comrades as having the situation under control during the attack, unfortunately this was not the case. This was evident when his soldiers got brutally attacked unknowingly in the field of line. Amongst all this controversy he could not make up a decision and left it up to one of the Commanders in the field. The main message that is trying to be put across to the audience is that if you put faith into an American soldier they will succeed in the mission by taking down enemy line.

Demonising the enemy is a propaganda technique that aims at evoking a very negative emotion by associating the “enemy” or opposing a ground as evil (Propaganda Theory, 2013). This technique was used in the opening scenes of the drama where Somalian soldiers were protecting a truck full of food aid. They were standing in a turret with machine guns and one of the soldiers was shown speaking into the megaphone ordering the civilians to back away from the truck. The civilians were being starved for weeks so in an attempt to survive they all charged at the truck and started hustling the bags of food. The soldiers ordered them to step away from the truck but they didn’t so they opened fire on the civilians, spraying them with bullets. This is a clear example of demonising the enemy as Scott shows the enemy shotting innocent people.

It is also important to note that within this scene the Americans are circling around the field in a black hawk and it shows them wanting to shoot down the enemy for their actions but are unable due to UN jurisdiction. This is a technique called Bandwagon, which persuades the audience to join in and take the course of action (Propaganda techniques, 2007). This event from the start of the film helps convince the audience that they are there to help protect the innocent victims. Another scene when this technique was used in the movie, was when a commander ordered his soldiers that none of them was to shoot unless being shot at. This ultimately gives the audience the perception that the Americans are once again the victims in the situation.

In most Western movies America are presented with high tech guns, armour and military equipment. A pure example of this is in one of the scenes where the Rangers are getting ready to go out into the battle. This shows the dominance in which they hold amongst the foreign land. No matter where they are they can still with hold power and destroy the enemy. Amongst the western culture to have America as an allies you pretty much have guaranteed protection if anything was to happen to your country.

Later on in the movie when a Black Hawk gets targeted by a grenade launcher the director makes the shot more real life. This makes the audience angrier and wants the Americans to...

Bibliography: –
Demonizing the Enemy. (2013) [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 02/11/2013].
Cinema vérité. (2008). [ONLINE] Available at:é. [Last Accessed 31/10/2013].
Propaganda Techniques (2013). [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 1/11/2013].
Definition of Propaganda (2012). [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 4/11/2013].
American Patriotism (2013). [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 3/11/2013].
Black Hawk Down, IMDb (2001). [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 3/11/2013].
Media’s Influence, (2013). [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 13/11/2013].
Public’s opinion on use of force, (2004). [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 13/11/2013].
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