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Contemporary cultural narratives, like ancient myths, speak to our common aspirations and anxieties. These ritually retold stories help to create a sense of communal identity. The American Success Myth on Film considers how movies, as bearers of modern myths, have illuminated the ideological contradictions at the heart of the American idea of success. In examining the enduring appeal that the success myth exerts on our collective imagination, the book highlights the central role that films have played in our ongoing cultural conversation about success and work in America. Analyses of a range of movies from the late 1920s to the present are grounded in the history of rags-to-riches tales and in a consideration of the social functions of myth. This expansive analysis of the American success myth exposes the insistent, but sometimes implicit, attitudes toward success that infuse our cultural narratives and, not incidentally, underlie our national self-image, our public discourse, and our personal ideals.