The legality of a pro-enemy movie being shown in U.S. movie theaters

Suppose that someone decided to make a pro-Nazi or pro-ISIS movie and have it shown in US movie theaters.

Now - completely disregarding for now the issue of whether theaters would even be willing to show it or not - would this, currently, under US law, be legal? Does this fall into the category of “aiding and abetting the enemy” by way of propaganda?

(The Nazis are pretty much a done and gone enemy, but Hamas, al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc. are very much active threats.)

It would be constitutionally-protected free speech, surely?

Of course. It might have a tough time finding a theater to run in, but that’s because theaters are private businesses aiming to make a profit. Lots of movies don’t get shown in theaters at all, or more than once, at a thinly-attended premier.

Unless we are talking about very subtle films, both would probably be considered hate speech.

What does that matter? You can consider it whatever kind of speech you want. It doesn’t change the fact that it is constitutionally protected.

Wouldn’t these restrictions apply only if there was a formally-declared state of war, and the movie was favourable towards the declared enemy?

That’s going to depend, obviously, on the content of the film. But you could make a “pro-ISIS” film that basically said “ISIS are a bunch of psycho shits, but they are the forseeable reaction to such-and-such a stand, or these actions, or those policies, of Western powers/the Syrian regime/whoever, and we need to tackle that problem” - a “they’re-bad-because-we’re-bad” account of ISIS. Or you could make a film which ignored entirely the whole question of ISIS atrocities and simply presented ISIS fighters as pure, selfless, heroic defenders of their communities. Let’s face it, there are plenty of example of films which treat warriors from various western societies in that way, ignoring entirely the moral complexities and murky aspects of the conflicts in which they are engaged - an “ISIS-as-the-Seventh-Cavalry” film.

In the UK, it would entirely depend on how it was presented. A film noir about a group of terrorists or just one (The Jackal?) which stuck to the action and made no attempt to convert anyone to their cause, would probably be okay. Anything that looked like propaganda, or a recruiting drive, would not.

Woah. You are right. There is no hate speech exception in the U.S. Only, and allow me to quote wikipedia “the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words”

So I guess that nothing can stop a theater from showing pro-Isis films.

Almost anything could stop a theater from showing pro-Isis films. The exception is the government, they can’t stop it.

Hopefully a law speaking type will come along and tell me if I’m right.

It seems to me that a pro Nazi film during WWII would be much different than a pro ISIS film now. Germany was an enemy in a declared war. ISIS is not. It seems to me that a pro Nazi film would fall under parts of the Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities statutes in the U.S. code. I don’t know if any of that has been ruled unconstitutional.

Plenty of holocaust deniers and the like get published with no restrictions. David Irving’s books are freely available, for instance.

That would be interesting as to who will go see a pro-ISIS movie.

And again what will stop a bomb being put in there to get rid of them?

There’s no such thing as “hate speech” under US law. The concept simply does not exist.

No, there’s no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment, in case anyone doesn’t believe me.

And, because there’s apparently been some confusion in the past, fighting words aren’t hate speech:

And the quote which backs up my specific assertion:

It’s usually hard to prove a negative, but, happily, the law is a closed, finite system, so we can definitively say that it does not contain certain things.

That’s because the UK, like Canada, does not have real freedom of speech constitutionally guaranteed. For example,
David Ahenakew - Wikipedia

Should also add this, from the Wikipedia discussion of Shenck:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States

So theoretically, your ISIS video could get you prosecuted if it is deemed propaganda. After all, if the writer and singer of the hit song “Peace Train” ended up on the no-fly list as a terrorist, who is safe?

Of course it would be legal. It’s hard for me to imagine this is a serious question, but maybe that’s my problem, not the OP’s.

We live in a country where people are allowed to thank God for IEDs at the funerals of dead soldiers. That should tell you all you need to know.

Why shouldn’t it be? There’s plenty of countries where the idea would be nothing short of unthinkable. The aforementioned David Irving, according to Wikipedia, did 18 months in an Austrian prison for holocaust denial, for instance.