Introduction

The year 1968 is widely recognized as the start of the period sometimes called the Golden Age of American cinema. Whether that label is true or not is debatable, but it is a unique and special period of time between 1968 and 1980 where filmmakers had more control over their work than in any previous generation of filmmakers since the pre-studio era. 

By 1968, the old studio system that had been in power throughout the 1940s was dead, ownership of the film studios was changing and there was an emerging independent film scene, although it would not be commercially viable for a couple more decades. This period of time is often referred to as New Hollywood and saw the emergence of filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Peter Bogdanovich, George Lucas, Sydney Lumet, and William Friedkin. The films of this crowd were marked by innovative film techniques and a willingness to push boundaries of sex and violence while also making deeply personal films. The filmmakers were products of the counter-culture generation and they carried the revolutionary spirit into the cinema.

Throughout the year 2008, Sounds of Cinema has taken a close look at some of the films of this period, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of this extraordinary period of American filmmaking. The films selected including critical darlings such as The Godfather, The Graduate, and Raging Bull and box office blockbusters like Jaws and Star Wars. The series has also included a look at films not often included in other discussions of the period (but should be) such as Planet of the Apes, Night of the Living Dead, and Halloween.

Below are reviews of the films that were examined throughout Sounds of Cinema's New Hollywood Series.