Afghanistan may have been the breeding ground for last month's terrorist attacks, but Hollywood served as a source of inspiration, says director Robert Altman.

"The movies set the pattern, and these people have copied the movies," Altman said Tuesday by phone from London, where he's finishing his film Gosford Park." "Nobody would have thought to commit an atrocity like that unless they'd seen it in a movie.''

So violent action movies with huge explosions amount to training films for such bold attacks, as studios spend a lot of time and money trying to appeal to young males, the 76-year-old filmmaker said

"How dare we continue to show this kind of mass destruction in movies," said Altman, whose directing credits include M-A-S-H, Nashville and Dr. T & the Women. "I just believe we created this atmosphere and taught them how to do it."

Altman hopes audiences will lean more toward thoughtful, character-driven films after witnessing the horror of the attacks on television.

His Gosford Park — a combination class-war satire and Agatha Christie-like murder mystery set at a British manor in 1932 — features Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, Clive Owen, Kristin Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith.

"Maybe there's a chance to get back to ... grown-up films," Altman said. "Anything that uses humor and dramatic values to deal with human emotions and gets down to what people are to people."