Historical Narrative

Home Interview Historical Narrative About

1970's and 1980's were a time of peaked creativity and freedom in the film industry. Defining events of the previous decade such as the Civil Rights movement, the counterculture movement, free love, rock and roll, and extensive drug use influenced Hollywood and the film industry to be freer, to take more risks, and these new and creative film writers and artists replaced the old legends of film with their new ideas of filmmaking and their new ways of storytelling that would captivate the audiences of the 1970's and 1980's. These decades led to the birth of many famous blockbuster hits such as Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), Jaws (1975), Alien (1979), Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), and The Godfather (1972).

Many of these blockbuster hits were written and designed for younger audiences influenced by the counterculture movement of the late 1960's and these films captivated their specific audiences with intense special effects, captivating stories, and thrilling adventures. These adventure blockbusters were often escapist themed, allowing the audience to follow lovable and inspirational characters. This theme was common during these times due to the large amount of instability in the world. Events such as the Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, and an economic depression made the need for an escape from everyday life grow, leading to the emergence of this classic theme. Other films encompassed the common theme of one man's or a specific groups fight against tyranny, alluding to the fight for democracy during the Cold War. Along with this theme, the success of the underdog theme came about during these times through films such as Rocky Balboa (1976). Many films of the 1980's such as Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) were examples of how the film industry directed "dumbed down" films at younger audiences seeking a few laughs and sheer entertainment and changed the film industry to better accommodate a changing audience. Due to the success of the wide variety of blockbuster hits in the 1970's, many sequels such as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), Aliens (1986) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) were extreme successes that brought in millions at the box office.

Films Mentioned in Interview

Poster Year Title Director

1939

Gunga Din George Stevens
1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still Robert Wise
1955 Rebel Without a Cause Nicholas Ray
1955 Tarantula Jack Arnold
1955-56 Honeymooners ---
1956 Forbidden Planet Fred M. Wilcox
  1958 The Defiant Ones Stanley Kramer
1958 Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock
1959 The Sound of Music Robert Wise
1960 Psycho Alfred Hitchcock
1962 Lawrence of Arabia David Lean
1965 Doctor Zhivago David Lean
1966-69 Star Trek ---
1967 In the Heat of the Night Norman Jewison
1967 They Came From Beyond Space Freddie Francis
1967 Bonnie and Clyde Arhtur Penn
1967 Doctor Doolittle

Richard Fleischer

1968 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick
1969 Easy Rider Dennis Hopper
1970 Five Easy Pieces Bob Rafelson
1971 The Last Picture Show Peter Bogdanovich
1971 Shaft Gordon Parks
1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Mel Stuart
1971 THX 1138 George Lucas
1971 The French Connection William Friedkin
1972 Blacula William Crain
1972 King of Marvin Gardens Bob Rafelson
1973 American Graffiti George Lucas
1973 Coffy Jack Hill
1973 The Exorcist William Friedkin
1974 Chinatown Roman Polanski
1974 Uptown Saturday Night Sidney Poitier
1975 Close Encounters: of the Third Kind Steven Spielberg
1975 The Magic Flute  
1976 Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese
1978 Halloween John Carpenter
1979 Alien Ridley Scott
1979 Black Stallion Carroll Ballard
1980 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back George Lucas
1979-81 Buck Rogers ---
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Steven Spielberg
1983 Star Wars: Return of the Jedi George Lucas
1985 Back to the Future Robert Zemeckis
1985 Better Off Dead Savage Steve Holland
1986 Pretty in Pink Howard Deutch

Citations

Dirks, Tim. "Film History of the 1970s." Film History of the 1970s. AMC. Web. 23 May
2012. <http://www.filmsite.org/70sintro.html>.

Whitley, Peggy. "American Cultural History - The Twentieth Century." American
Cultural History. Lone Star College. Web. 23 May 2012. <http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decades.html>.

Digital History. "UH - Digital History." UH - Digital History. Digital History. Web. 23
May 2012. <http://www.digitalhistory2.uh.edu/>.