In America on Film, Sam Girgus examines a selection of films made in the last quarter of the twentieth century in an effort to trace how the notion of 'American' has changed drastically from that portrayed in American cinema up to the 1950s. In works such as Mississippi Masala, Lone Star, Malcolm X, Raging Bull, When We Were Kings, and Bugsy he finds a new and ethnically varied array of characters that embody American values, ideals, and conflicts; and a transformation in the relationship of American identity and culture to race and ethnicity, as well as to sexuality, gender, and the body. America on Film charts these changes through analysis of cinematic tensions between fiction, documentary, and modernism. An art form that combines fragments of reality with imagination, film, Girgus maintains, connects the documentary realism of the photographic image to the abstraction and non-representation of modernism.
"A useful text for anyone interested in understanding how American cinema both produces and reflects stories and images about national ideologies and identities." American Studies