It’s not hard to find a scripted television show, blockbuster film, or intriguing documentary that captures your attention and keeps you entertained. With captivating characters and stunning visuals, movies make a great escape from reality! But have you ever stopped to consider that some of the shows and movies we watch could actually be promoting an agenda?  That’s right—even movies can actually act as propaganda. We’re here today to explore some examples of certain TV shows or films that might be using tactics like this in an attempt to do such a thing. 

1. Castaway

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

One Redditor posted, “Castaway—the longest FedEx commercial (and smartest) ever made.”

Another added, “I worked at FedEx, so I have a little inside info on that. The producers originally went to UPS, but they refused. FedEx agreed to be in the movie as long as one package was delivered. It was hot sauce BTW.”

“Its been a long time since I’ve seen it so happy to be corrected if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that the one package at the end was returned to the sender… as the package has the same logo on it that the lady uses for her farm,” one replied. 

One user added, “I’ve been saying this for years! Tom Hanks, loyal FedEx employee, spends FOUR YEARS surviving alone on an island, befriends a volleyball, and still manages to get your package safely delivered. Dudes nowadays slam it on my concrete stoop like it’s an opponent in Mortal Kombat and run away.”

2. The Scientology Origin

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

One Redditor posted, “How has nobody posted Battlefield Earth yet??? It’s a straight-up Scientology origin story.”

Another replied, “I disagree. Battlefield Earth is an incomprehensible mess of a movie with a confusing plot and terrible actors. Holy man!! It IS Scientology.” 

“Terrible actors and, for some reason, Forrest Whitaker,” a third commenter replied. 

3. Reefer Madness

Photo Credit: George A Hirliman Productions.

One user shared, “My hippie uncle (who was my true father figure and who I lived with on and off when things weren’t great at home) LOVED that movie. We watched it together for the first time when I was around 15. He wanted me to have a realistic view of drugs, aka marijuana from a safe source, probably fine. Meth, or anything that might have been cut with another drug, not in your life.

“It caused him to get into an (almost) physical fight with my bio-father who took Reefer Madness as gospel and legitimately thinks that any use of pot will destroy your mind and turn you into a drooling zombie addicted to both it and every other drug (bio-dad thinks one hit of a joint will lead to you ending up OD-ing on meth and/or heroin…somehow…), even though my uncle was terminally ill and had a medical marijuana card (and, unfortunately, I’m now in the same situation…) Anyway… It’s been YEARS since I thought of that, so I want to thank you for reminding me of the good times we used to have together. Truly, just this one comment has me tearing up and warmed my heart.” 

Another commenter added, “So let me tell you the story of the time I saw Reefer Madness. When I was a teenager, I got in trouble for weed. I ended up having to go to a drug program that met once a week. It was actually pretty cool, the kids there were alright (although they were on real drugs and in much bigger trouble than I was) and the people running it were pretty chill.

“The only day out of my whole time in the program that I went stoned was the day that the ENTIRE rest of the class, like 12 people, didn’t show up, and it just stoned me alone with two counselors. Since nobody was there they decided we’d watch reefer madness. It was reeeeal awkward, and I think they knew I was high, but they didn’t bust me. I bet they laughed their a**es off at me after I left. Looking back, that program was a pretty positive experience. Well played drug counselors.”

4. The Wizard

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

One user posted, “The Wizard. But to be fair, Super Mario Bros 3 IS the best.”

Another added, “And the power glove was bad, so very, very bad.”

A third commenter responded, “I was just telling my son about the Power Glove and The Wizard yesterday! It’s really hard to explain how hyped up the Power Glove and how much of an utter disappointment it turned out to be. But the technology eventually got us the Wii and the Switch, so it wasn’t all bad!” 

Another user commented, “I grew up poor, and I begged my parents for the Power Glove. My dad literally worked a third job for three months so he could be sure we got what we wanted for Xmas. The guilt I felt over how utterly miserable I was trying to use that horrible device is still with me today. I tried so hard to like it. I would plan ahead for when my dad got home and play that stupid Super Glove Ball game with a smile plastered across my face, just so he could see me using it.” 

5. Top Gun

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

One Redditor shared, “Top Gun.”

Another added, “Top Gun is the best air force recruiting ad that the Navy has ever produced.”

A user also confirmed, “The Navy literally set up recruiter tables in the theaters for the first couple of weeks Top Gun was released back in the 80s.”

A Redditor also shared, “’Hey kids, fighter jets sure are cool, huh? How about signing right here so you can spend 4 years turning wrenches below deck on a guided missile destroyer and fly on a military aircraft exactly zero times!'”

6. Shen-Yun

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

One user posted, “Not TV or movie, but Shen-yun.”

Another commenter added, “This. Literally cult propaganda. My sweet, elementary school teacher… with a high tolerance for BS straight up walked out.”

Another responded, “I wanted to walk out too, but I wanted to see what other BS they were going to say. I just scowled after they were singing that atheists are evil 😒”

A fourth also replied, “Oh, I stayed for the finale. If it were a parody, it would have been genius, but they were stone-cold serious. My favorite bit was the ps2 era graphics of a god in a golden chariot flying over a destroyed city of sinners, atheists, and communists. Good times.” 

7. The Crown

Photo Credit: Netflix.

One user shared, “I have a conspiracy theory with absolutely no evidence and backing, that King Charles traded insider knowledge and/or access for a favourable portrayal on the latest season of ‘The Crown. While I have no doubt that Diana was a bit of a nut bar towards the end of their marriage (who wouldn’t be?!), they leaned pretty hard on the portrayal of Diana as unstable and immature, whereas Camilla was his perfect, mature and grounded counterpart.

“They also really laid it on thick about his charitable contributions with The Prince’s Trust, to the point of a closing card saying something to the effect of ‘The Prince’s Trust has donated x Million pounds to charity and continues to blahblahblah…’ Like, why would they include that pretty irrelevant detail unless contractually obliged to make Charlie look good? Smells like a quid pro quo, imo.”

Another added, “The more you think about it, the more this theory holds up. They really laid on the whole Charles is a nice guy thing. I think they even let him pick Dominic West, who as much as I love and did a great job, doesn’t fit the look. When I first heard he was [cast] I had to go ‘hmmmm’. It reminded me of when Dr. Fauci was asked what actor he would want portraying him and he chose Brad Pitt.”

A third user commented, “For some reason I found the casting this season way harder to accept than the last. Managed to settle into it mostly but Dominic West never managed to make me see Charles. But honestly I must need to rewatch the season because I still think he didn’t come across as a nice guy lol. Less terrible, but not nice.” 

8. Live Action Mulan

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

A user posted online, “Mulan, the live-action one.”

Another responded, “We don’t talk about the live-action one.” A user then elaborated, “They had so much potential for it to be good. They could have turned the live-action curse into a myth, but they confirmed it instead. Even if you ignore the musical cartoon (like the studio did), the original story would have made an incredible movie. All the problems people had with either Disney film don’t exist. And Mulan herself is far more bada**. Just do yourself a favor and read the original version. It’s waaaay better.

“And now we have Pinocchio, which is the exact same movie done far worse. While it is impressive that they kept the design the same for Pinocchio, I wanted to see some beautiful hand carved wood designs. The original book is also way better because Pinocchio is not an innocent little angel at all; he’s a gullible troublemaker who messes with anyone and everyone around him. He even messes with Gipetto as a block of wood before he was carved. The entire story is about learning how to behave and becoming a real boy as a reward.” 

9. Ncis

Photo Credit: Belisarius Productions.

One Redditor posted, “NCIS: They never, EVER, make a mistake. The suspects are always evil, the methods are ALWAYS justified, and abuses are always down to a few bad apples. The technology is wonderful and there are no budgets to overrun.”

Another added, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did a whole episode on how Law and Order was propaganda and I’m sure NCIS is similar.” 

“They did have one episode where DiNozzo put an innocent man in prison for robbery while he was leading the team during Gibb’s retirement. The guy escaped, went after the real thieves, and was at an airport with the money when DiNozzo caught him and then decided to let him go. I actually really liked that episode, it showed the team as fallible, something they should have done more often,” one commenter added.

10. Cops

Photo Credit: Langley Productions.

“COPS was created with this intent,” one user posted.

Another Redditor posted, “It’s pretty crazy—I grew up watching L&O and always agreed with the cops (like yeah, obviously, if I don’t have anything to hide I have no reason not to give DNA to exclude myself). Then after not watching it for a few years I caught an episode where they got annoyed at a totally innocent guy refusing to take a DNA test and I was like yeah why should he give you any DNA you have no reason to ask for it so of course you’re trying to guilt him into it. Completely flipped my view of the show.” 

Another added, “As someone who grew up watching COPS, I think you would appreciate the accidental effect the decades long show had on (at least some of) its audience. I’ve heard a lot of PSAs and read a lot of thinkpieces and books on the utter failure that is America’s war on drugs. But nothing really hammered it home for me like watching a lot of COPS. Week in and week out watching segments where the police pull over a suspicious (translation: always poor often minority) person in a vehicle and dig around for several minutes until they pull out a tiny baggie of weed.

“Sometimes the cops look defeated and bored by the find. Sometimes they dance around like they just nabbed Pablo Escobar. Either way… it’s all super depressing and dumb in a Sisyphean sort of way. The format in the show aids in the numbness. As does its longevity. Nothing changed in the format of the show for decades. There was no narrator or host to mark different COPS eras, no shakeup of the formula. The theme song didn’t ever change.

“You could look at a dumb COPS drug bust in 1995 and aside from the clothes and haircuts and car models it all looks the same as a dumb COPS drug bust in 2005. What you COULD track, however, was just the change in the drugs of choice. As time went on, weed and crack gave way to pills and meth. So yeah, while obviously the show could never have been created without the help and direct assistance of police, I think the body of work they created will largely stand the test of time as a monument and inadvertent witness to the institutional policing policy failures of these times.” 

Source: Reddit.

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