When the left makes more subtle films and television shows, the effects are like water dripping onto a rock: each drop doesn’t do much to erode that surface, but over time it adds up. Watching how anti-Iraq war themes kept appearing in series like Law and Order and Without A Trace in 2005 and 2006 was disheartening; for the bulk of the population that doesn’t read, those endless drops of water doubtless had an effect.
Conservatives can do the same. When the movie Death Wish came out in 1974, it was a pretty revolutionary concept: a non-police officer carrying a gun for self-defense against thugs. Today, that concept doesn’t seem all that radical. John Milius films such as The Wind and The Lion (1975) and Red Dawn (1984) were both box office successes and promoters of patriotic themes. I would argue that the first Star Wars (1977) movie — because it had clear-cut heroes and villains — engaged in a struggle that mattered and assisted in creating a situation where Ronald Reagan could get elected. When Reagan spoke of “the evil empire,” it resonated with those who saw the Western tradition of liberty aligned with Luke Skywalker.