On "Taps" (1981) and "Red Dawn" (1984)
New Books Network 2022
This episode and the next look back at films that came out in the 1980s, a decade when Hollywood seemed to cater to teenage audiences like never before. So it makes sense that the geo-political structure that shaped and influenced so much of global political action - the Cold War - would show up in movies targeting teen audiences. In the broader media landscape, the question was being asked: Could these post-Vietnam teenagers hack the reality of conflict like their dads and granddads had to? We break down two films about teenagers as soldiers - Taps, released in 1981, and Red Dawn, released in 1984. In both cases, what we see is a conversation about American military culture, whether it can still be counted on when times get tough. And if it can’t, if America’s youth reject it, is that a good thing or a bad thing?