The current conflict in Afghanistan will undoubtedly be portrayed on film at some point, but history indicates that the current trend of rampant patriotism doesn't guarantee a completely positive angle.
Late in the 20th century, after Vietnam, the pervading sentiment in Hollywood was skepticism. But during the first era that film and warfare coexisted, propaganda ruled the day.
According to a University of San Diego Web site, on the April day in 1898 when the Spanish-American War officially began, two movie entrepreneurs saw the jubilant crowds in the streets of Manhattan and decided to capitalize on it.
The two quickly filmed a mock American seizure of a Havana government installation and put it in theaters a few hours later. The ensuing crowds didn't seem to mind that the event portrayed wouldn't historically take place for several weeks.
Such cinematic representations of war in film reflect the public opinion of the time, said John Kasson, professor of history and American studies.
But this unwavering support of the war effort was exclusive to the time.
"More recently, it has been more critical, but that critical dimension can only work if there is both a political and public willingness to tolerate it," Kasson said.
In a country that is no longer intently focused on the divisions of the Mason-Dixie line, films about the Civil War are subject to that critical analysis. These movies have the benefit of no real-time film testimonials with which to compare. But the makers of "Glory" chose to base their film on the media of the time: letters. These letters, written by Col. Robert Gould Shaw, leader of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Regiment, helped historians and writers develop a clearer picture of the war and its battles.
The films regarding World War I featured more mixed messages. During the war, propaganda films vilifying Germans came out in droves, painting them as barbaric and uncivilized. Many films also pushed the war effort and the selling of war bonds. But after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the growing film industry didn't have entirely glowing views of the war.