Spy Culture Documents

Files and documents on military, intelligence and other government involvement in and support to the entertainment industry.

The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World

From the Donald Trump school of naming things came The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, a 1965 spoof of the James Bond movies.  Like many 1960s spy thrillers The Second Best Secret Agent was on the radar of the CIA. Licensed to Kill The movie began ...
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Top Secret File on Government Censorship of Panorama

In the summer of 1980 the BBC's flagship documentary series Panorama was developing a TV special about British intelligence.  This was the first film of its kind, and perhaps unsurprisingly Thatcher's government was not happy about it.  Downing Street put pressure on the film-makers via BBC Director-General Ian Threthowan, and ...
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How and why the Pentagon established their control of movie scripts

I recently acquired some decades-old Pentagon directives and instructions.  These documents formed the basis for DOD policy in their engagement with the entertainment industry, establishing a range of conflicting criteria for the military's liaisons with film and TV producers.  This provided them with a range of bases for altering scripts ...
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‘We only show the CIA killing nasty agents’ – Michael Winner

While I have written about 1973 thriller Scorpio before, documents made available on the CIA CREST database shed new light on this, the first movie to film at Langley.  The CIA were not just spying on media coverage of the film as it developed but also had assets within the ...
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‘Well Dressed Negroes’ and ‘Dignified Natives’ – How Luigi Luraschi Rewrote Movies for the CIA

In 1953, in the early weeks of the Eisenhower administration, the CIA conducted an operation to alter the content of Hollywood films to help promote positive images of America to foreign audiences.  A series of letters addressed to a CIA officer named 'Owen' were written by an executive at Paramount ...
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‘No Overt Recognition of the Force as Marines’ – Marine Corps folder on assistance to Die Another Day

Die Another Day is widely considered to be one of the worst James Bond films ever made.  It's the one with the invisible car in the ice cave and Halle Berry.  The production got limited supported from the US Marine Corps, who recently released a short folder to me from ...
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