Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Motion Pictures (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

William D. Rothman

Second Committee Member

Christina Lane

Third Committee Member

Anthony T. Allegro

Fourth Committee Member

Linda Liska Belgrave


This work is a textual analysis of selected documentary films whose common theme is the inevitable discrepancy between the realities of the Vietnam and the 2003 Iraq War from the perspectives of the veterans and soldiers, and the assumed reality that is constructed in the media. It is at this point that the inextricable link between documentary cinema and reality proved fundamental to the developing discourse of the entire study ahead. Since the manner in which the world is both transformed and depicted strongly depends upon the tools available to the director, the technological innovations and the emergence of portable cameras, by granting the documentary filmmaker flexibility, irreversibly solidified this link between non-fictional act of narrating and its approach and proximity to reality. Four works that are picked among a large body of documentary films are Winter Soldier (1972) directed by Winter Collective; Gunner Palace (2004) directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker; Full Battle Rattle (2008) directed by Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss and finally Standard Operating Procedure (2008) directed by Errol Morris. Even though the films are historically ordered, this study's concern is to be systematic thematically than chronologically. In the course of these analyses, discussions of notions like reality and truth, the relations of the makers of the films, the camera and editing process to the subjects of the films, will naturally emerge, as will issues related to the political and social roles of documentary cinema.


Baghdad; Veteran; Veterans; War Documentary; Abu Ghraib; War Fiction; Fiction; Non-fiction; My Lai