We will examine the complex, changing, and ever-present representations of heroes and villains in American film. Beginning with a foundational understanding of how heroes and, conversely, villains have been defined through classic Hollywood film, we will explore how these definitions have shifted throughout the 20th and 21st century in various narrative genres, including westerns, war films, film noir, fantasy, science fiction, and, of course, superhero movies. In particular, we will be focusing on how the hero and villain maintain or disrupt specific cultural ideologies concerning race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and ability. This course will examine how these various ideologies have evolved throughout the 20th and 21st century, impacting the ways in which heroes and villains are both represented in American film and perceived by diverse audiences. Finally, we will examine our own complicated and sometimes troubling identification with these heroes, even when they might stand in stark contrast to our cultural values and identities.