Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Film Studies


Dr. Christine Holmlund


An analysis of recent Hollywood action adventure films starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals that the presence or absence of fatherhood serves as a trope for representing the traditional and changing patriarchal ideology in the cultural, political, and economic uncertainty that has come to characterize life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. By contextualizing my work through current gender and genre theory, in and considering shifts in contemporary domestic policies, socio-cultural tensions and anxieties surrounding masculinity and femininity, fatherhood and motherhood, I chart developments in the hard body action adventure genre. A close analysis of Stallone’s and Schwarzenegger’s performances as fathers from the 1980s through the 2000s reveal that fatherhood is hidden in the 1980s, flaunted and softened in the 1990s, and reconfigured in the 2000s along more traditional patriarchal lines. Of interest is the impact of melodrama on the hard bodied action film.



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