This paper examines the ways in which instructional films, television shows, and television commercials both depicted and sought to construct the experience of American boyhood in the decades immediately following World War II. During the Cold War, many American adults feared that boys lacked the “masculine” qualities required by future defenders of the United States. Believing that boys needed additional instruction in appropriate gender behavior, educators turned to a new film genre: the classroom instructional film. Films in this genre emphasized the importance of patriotism, respect for order and authority, and the need for emotional and physical discipline in American males. Television shows and toy commercials also encouraged boys to envision themselves as future soldiers and defenders of freedom.