Home Front Heroes

The Rise of a New Hollywood Archetype, 1988–1999


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About the Book

This book traces the effects of the feminist and civil rights movements in the construction of Hollywood action heroes. Starting in the late 1980s, action blockbusters regularly have featured masculine figures who choose love and community over the path of the stoic loner committed solely to duty. The American heroic quest of the past 25 years increasingly has involved a reclamation of home, creating a place for the Hero at the hearth, part of a more intimate community with less restrictive gender and racial boundaries.
The author presents pieces of contemporary popular culture that create the complex mosaic of the present-day American heroic ideal. Hollywood popular films are examined that best represent the often painful shift from traditional heroic masculinity to a masculinity that is less “exceptional” and more vulnerable. There are also chapters on how issues of race and gender intersect with the new masculinity and on subgenres of 1990s films that also developed this postfeminist masculinity.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Abele is an associate professor at Nassau Community College in Mineola, New York, and is executive director of the Northeast Modern Language Association.

Bibliographic Details

Elizabeth Abele
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 29 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7333-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1211-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface  1

Introduction  5

One. Love Hard: Die Hard and the Home Front Hero  31

Two. Love Will Show the Way  55

Three. Home Is Where the Action Is  81

Four. Serving on Multiple Fronts: Action Women  105

Five. Integrating the American Action Hero  133

Six. Rebooting Action Legends  159

Seven. Hamlet IX: Happily Ever After  184

Eight. Living to Get It Right: Home Front Masculinity as the 21st-Century Ideal  207

Notes  237

Bibliography  251

Index  257

Book Reviews & Awards

“illustrated with a wealth of b&w film stills”—ProtoView.