University of Hertfordshire

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From Zero to Hero: The CIA at the Movies Today

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Pages (from-to)90-113
JournalCinema Journal
Journal publication date13 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2017


This article examines the production, content, and public reception of Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012) and Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012). The two Oscar-winning films are set within the context of the Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts over the past two decades to engage more creatively with America’s entertainment industry. While Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are just two of the CIA’s most recent collaborations with Hollywood, it can be argued that, together, they represent the organization’s greatest achievements so far in refashioning the image of US intelligence on the silver screen.


This is a pre-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in Cinema Journal, following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available through the University of Texas Press via DOI:

ID: 10688377