Re "History lessons, with popcorn," Opinion, Feb. 12
Zach P. Messitte is spot-on regarding the influence that films with historical backgrounds have on today's college students.
Since 1991 I've been teaching at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. I've witnessed many changes there, both in technology and student attitudes, particularly when a historical incident is adapted into a film.
In my generation I saw how films like "Apocalypse Now" and "The Deer Hunter" affected American audiences regarding Vietnam. Later I saw how "Saving Private Ryan" illustrated to students the horror of war. The same held true for "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty."
After years of rejections and research, my book, "The American War Film: History and Hollywood," was published in 2002. Someone asked me why I took on such a task. My answer: The war film is the only genre that truly reflects American history.