Old Myths Are New Again: Ronald Reagan, Indiana Jones, Knightriders, and the Pursuit of the Past

  • Susan Aronstein
Part of the Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures book series (SACC)


When Arthurian legend reappeared on the screen in the late 1970s, it did so in disguise—loosely translated to “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far way” in the surprise blockbuster that took America by storm and heralded the return of myths and heroes to the big screen. Star Wars’ success paralleled a sea-change in American political and ideological culture: the rise of the New Right and the subsequent election of Ronald Reagan, who promised a return to the past through a revival of the traditional values at the heart of the 1950s consensus of the center. By the late 1970s, Americans were weary of protest and disillusionment, of moral quandaries and ambiguous grays, and ready for the reassertion of good and evil, of black and white. Furthermore, as the recession continued and long lines formed at the gas tanks, and as terrorists and foreign governments questioned the nation’s authority and threatened its citizens, the people longed for hope and the reassurance that the country could return to the good old days when America was on the top of the world.


Cultural Code Final Scene Sacred Object Physical Prowess Narrative Sequence 
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© Susan Aronstein 2005

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  • Susan Aronstein

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