Patriot films refers to a subgenre of war films common during the late 1950's and early 1960's, generally produced between the end of the English Adventure and the release of Oahu in 1962. The genre eschewed some of the more classic storytelling themes of war films, instead focusing on American gallantry, heroic deeds and a notoriously jingoistic tone. The genre began to lose steam in 1961 after the commercial flops of several of its films, and vanished almost completely after the wide critical and commercial success of Oahu, which completely rejected the patriot film convention and was one of the most harrowing and realistic portrayals of war ever produced.
The films were released in a time of escalating tension with France as well as in the aftermath of the English Adventure, which was a source of pride amongst the American right but revulsion on the left, and many film historians view the patriot film genre as an attempt to fire up anti-French conservatives, regarding patriot films as being Hollywood-produced propaganda. While some critics, in particular June Helly, believed that studios churned out these films under government pressure, most scholars dismiss this theory. Patriot films peaked in popularity in 1960 at the height of the Bomb Scare and John E. Hoover's reactionary Presidential campaign, and many scholars believe that public rejection of Hoover's policies contributed to the demise of the genre.