A fascinating year-by-year history of American film in the seventies, a decade filled with innovations that reinvented the medium and showed that movies can be more than entertainment.
In The Seventies: The Decade That Changed American Film Forever, Vincent LoBrutto tracks the changing of the guard in the 1970s from the classic Hollywood studio system to a new generation of filmmakers who made personal movies targeting a younger audience. He covers in kaleidoscopic detail the breadth of American cinema during the 1970s, with analyses of the movies, biographical sketches of the filmmakers, and an examination of the innovative production methods that together illustrate why the seventies were unique in American film history.
Featuring iconic filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola and films such The Godfather, Jaws, Taxi Driver, and The Exorcist, this book reveals how the seventies challenged the old guard in groundbreaking and exciting ways, ushering in a new Hollywood era whose impact is still seen in American film today.
Vincent LoBrutto was an instructor of editing and film history at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan for three decades. He is the author of numerous books on filmmaking, including Stanley Kubrick: A Biography, The Encyclopedia of American Independent Filmmaking, Martin Scorsese: A Biography, and Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures. LoBrutto is the recipient of the Robert Wise Award for Journalistic Illumination of the Art of Editing.
1. How Old Hollywood Became New Hollywood
12. 1980 to 1987
About the Author
The 1970s have long been heralded as one of the greatest eras of American filmmaking, and countless books have been written about films and figures of the period such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, John Cassavetes, and Steven Spielberg. LoBrutto’s contribution is a highly detailed narrative breakdown of the major films and players of the decade, in a year-by-year format.
Film buff LoBrutto takes a revealing look at the cinematic movement that grew out of the turbulent 1970s. He presents a detailed analysis of the film world year by year, starting with “a long string of failures” of big budget films in the ’60s that indicated the “Golden Age of Hollywood” was over. From this came a vanguard of young, innovative directors who subverted the “beauty and glamour” of the first half of 20th-century film and created complex movies that treated the medium more like art, reacting to the fraught political and social climate caused by the war in Vietnam. These films “were unflinching in their approach to difficult content,” LoBrutto writes, and yielded a more realistic, if sometimes somber, style, bringing to the fore such talents as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese and encompasing cult classic movies like The Exorcist (1973), Chinatown (1974), and Taxi Driver (1976). Charting the rise of stars including Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, and Jane Fonda, LoBrutto leaves no stone unturned in making his case. Movie geeks won’t be disappointed.
LoBrutto tells readers on the opening page that he and his wife have gone “to every movie [they] could possibly see” since the 1970s. This volume confirms that claim with its nonstop flow of fascinating details about hundreds of American films, their casts, and their crews from 1970 through 1979—one year per chapter.
Vincent LoBrutto has devoted his life to film. That devotion shines through on every page of this, a book itself devoted to a decade that changed cinema forever.
Vincent LoBrutto is a one-man library of the American cinema. The author of definitive oral histories of key creative personnel, director biographies, and film studies textbooks sinks his formidable teeth into what is probably Hollywood's greatest unsung decade of artistic and commercial film-making.
Both a who's who of the film industry in a decade that changed American cinema forever and a personal recollection of the films that changed the author's life, The Seventies by Vincent LoBrutto is an enjoyable and informative read for those who have a passion for films. It made me want to go and (re)watch the revolutionary masterpieces, looking back on a lost time when films mattered and challenged art, culture, and society.