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February 2024
1min read

In the February/March article about terror on film ("History Now"), Allen Barra states that most films featuring terrorists are “irresponsible action movies.” Filmmakers, he writes, have needed “a new source of villainy ever since the Nazis got old and the Communists stepped down,” implying that terrorists are not really villainous but simply the victims of the filmmakers’ need to have bad guy characters.

Mr. Barra goes on to offer four films that “treat... the subject... with a modicum of respect.” Who does he think needs to be treated with respect? Apparently the terrorists. One of the films he cites is The Little Drummer Girl , which depicts an Israeli plan to assassinate a fictional Palestinian terrorist, who has killed an Israeli diplomat and his family. Barra’s brief summary fails to mention that the target of the Israeli plan is in fact a terrorist, choosing instead to refer to him as a “Palestinian agent.” He then goes on to state that in the film “there are no good guys or bad guys.” I think it’s pretty clear that the bad guys are the terrorists who kill civilians and the good guys are those who go after them.

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