Home About Login Register Search Current Archives IJPC home page
Founding Editors
Matthew C. Ehrlich
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sammye Johnson
Trinity University
Joe Saltzman
University of Southern California
Laura Castañeda
University of Southern California
Richard Ness
Western Illinois University
Editorial Board
Maurine H. Beasley
University of Maryland
Bonnie Brennen
Marquette University
Katherine Foss
Middle Tennessee State University
Mary-Lou Galician
Arizona State University
Loren Ghiglione
Northwestern University
Howard Good
SUNY, New Paltz
Norma Fay Green
Columbia College, Chicago
Radhika Parameswaran
Indiana University
Karen Miller Russell
University of Georgia
Barbie Zelizer
University of Pennsylvania

University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 10 - Fall 2021 - Fall 2022

Symbols of Hope, Affirmation, and Perseverance - A Semiotics Analysis of Journalist, Harry Kingsley, from The Disney Classic Movie, "Iron Will"

James L. Cartee III


In the popular Disney film, Iron Will, the sports journalist, Harry Kingsley, played by Kevin Spacey, depicts a close relationship with Will Stoneman, the young competitor who seeks to win the Red River-St. Paul Sports Carnival Derby dogsledding race. Through application of Semiotics Theory, Kingsley’s actions of support and his overall role in the movie signify the intangible, personal values of hope, affirmation, and perseverance. Kingsley impels Stoneman to move forward when discouraged by the many trials he faces throughout the film. The foundational basis of semiotics briefly explains specific elements of this theory with relevance to film and other media content in a contemporary capacity. A historical foundation with this real-life story also explains some minor differences between what genuinely happened versus the fictional parts of the film. Many symbolic similarities exist between the film and the historical happenings of this tale. Similar past research studies demonstrate the utilization of Semiotics Theory to other films and media depictions with character roles, character relationships, and movie narratives. These practical insights lead to the actual evaluation of signs in the relationship represented throughout Iron Will between Kingsley and Stoneman. The symbolism of actions and conversations between the characters in narrative form becomes pivotal in the comprehension of the values illustrated. The paper then further suggests future research directions and practical concluding insights in relevance to a viewing audience for inspirational films like Iron Will.

To access the complete article, please go the following:


Copyright Notice Privacy Policy University of Southern California USC Annenberg Center