I've recently been thinking about how nonbelievers are represented on tv shows, movies, etc. Often the lack of faith and belief is associated with painful experiences, causing the person to suffer. The nonbeliever is portrayed as aggressive, mentally unsound, or both.
The only example I can provide is from the SciFi series "Taken" where a man holds hostages at gunpoint, and he and another hostage discuss faith. (I just watched it the other night.) But I know I've seen the scenario before - disbeliever ranting about god because he or she is angry with life's circumstances.
It's easy to recognize the impact these misrepresentations have on sectarians.
I think the issue is interesting because it suggests that some in the entertainment industry have a religious agenda they sometimes want to convey in their films. And this is also the entertainment industry Christians (in the US) believe to be so corrupt. Or if the film-makers don't have this agenda, then they're pandering to an audience that condemns them.
Ah, long story longer, I'd like to read more research on this with more meaningful examples than my own :-P and some of the ways these films have shaped popular opinion about atheists. Oh, and if this has happened in a similar manner to other groups in the past and how they relate, such as women, Blacks, and gays. And of course what, if anything, could be done or is being done to remedy it.