This thesis inquires into the factors behind Hollywood's depiction of the Middle East.
That depiction is not static, but is modified in response to changes in political events
and US government foreign policy. Although the events of 9/11 seemed to justify the
traditional negative stereotype of Arabs, the image has been partially and rationally
re-interpreted. This was due to the rise in prominence of the ideas of a minority of
radical and free-thinking members of the Hollywood community who embraced a
more intellectual approach, which advocated that the popular Western view of the
Arab world was unjustified and based on a fallacious fabrication for Western political
The research further shows that these activists did not owe allegiance to the
Hollywood-US government propaganda machine. They were able to fracture this
traditional alliance and provide the opportunity for the appearance of films of a
radical nature, which were critical of US Middle Eastern policy and projected the
Arab world in a new light. The study analyzes a selection of films that represent the
Middle East in terms of their philosophy and cinematic structure, which enables them
to act as vectors to raise public awareness of the issues and to promote reconciliation
and co-existence between East and West.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.