Miller Center

American Forum - Reagan’s Movies

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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to provide critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

Robert Brent Toplin
November 15, 2005
5:30PM (EST)

Robert Brent Toplin
Robert Brent Toplin

Ronald Reagan appeared in fifty-three films. He played many characters: a soldier, a sailor, a killer, a college professor ("Bedtime for Bonzo"), a marshall, and a young George Custer. How did Reagan's film roles shape his view of Americans? And how did his roles form Americans' views of Reagan? University of North Carolina-Wilmington history professor Robert Brent Toplin dispels the myth that Reagan confused fantasy with reality and argues that we learn more about Reagan's political development by studying his leadership of the Screen Actor's Guild. Toplin's talk will be illustrated with clips from Reagan's films and speeches.

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