Taking a comparative approach to films made in the United States and the Soviet Union during the period of the Cold War, this course will survey how the long-running confrontation of two global superpowers, understood as both a political conflict and a cultural phenomenon, mobilized a range of styles, genres, and film technology in the decades-long battle of claims and images. Beginning with the pre-history of the conflict and extending to its perceived conclusion in the late 1980s, we will consider cinema’s role in presenting, shaping, and questioning archetypal images and narratives. We will examine what aspects of cinema lend themselves to political agitation, by considering how American and Soviet bureaucrats and filmmakers made use of cinematographic elements to assert ideological claims and to reinforce them through appeals to the senses. Along with the influence of politics on film production and aesthetics, we will consider cinematic reflections of Cold War events such as the U.S.-Soviet Cultural Exchange Agreement of 1958 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. As we chart the history of Cold War film styles and their strategies, we will consider both explicitly propagandistic films as well as those that stray from the conflict’s headline issues, but have significant bearing on it.