The United States has had more influence on the world than any country since the Roman Empire. The movies of Hollywood have helped spread this influence with their depictions of our culture, particularly our affluence. Some films have a positive affect, like Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones, in which two escaped prisoners, Sidney Poitier, who is African American, and Tony Curtis, who is white, are chained together. At first, each one wants to kill the other, but they overcome racial prejudice and discover the value of true humanity. Or the effect of films can be negative, as with D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, the 1915 silent film that influenced the revival of the Ku Klux Klan and its evils. Films can offer inspiration, propaganda, ...

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