From The Godfather and Taxi Driver to Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter, it is widely recognized that some of the greatest films in US history were produced in the 1970's. Many attribute this renaissance of American film to the rise in prominence of the visionary auteur, who was well versed in the art and histories of the cinema, and who was relatively free from the pressures of a declining studio system. Others believe that Hollywood merely found a way to market the forces that threatened its social and economic foundations. Whatever the causes, the results powerfully addressed a wide range of issues, from civil rights, family crisis and urban decay, to the psychological and social repercussions of an unpopular war in the lives of soldiers and citizens
alike. We will also ponder the rise of the "blockbuster" and the subsequent retrenchment of commercial values in American film production. Directors will include Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg, among others. No
prior experience in film studies required, just a serious critical appreciation for film as an art form and as a powerful cultural institution. Requirements will likely include two critical essays, a
running journal of responses to the films, and a midterm examination.