Movies and television don't just entertain us. They incorporate the ideals and flaws of our society. Heroes, Monsters, and Messiahs explains how, just as the ancients had an active mythology that guided their lives, the stories, characters, and ideals of movies and TV shows make up the mythology of American culture.Heroes, Monsters, and Messiahs traces the evolution of mythic symbols in American popular culture as shown in movies and on TV from 1939 to 1999-a remarkable 60-year span. The book details the fictional characters who have served as mythic role models for Americans, from Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler to Marshall Matt Dillon and Mrs. Robinson to the present-day heroes and heroines of Star Wars, ER, and The Lion King. Twelve chapters cover the years by decade and explore the relationships and roles of males, females, and machines in our cultural mythology. Motion picture and television show chronologies are included.