The decade of the 1960s and into the early 1970s marked a period of turbulence and change in the American socio-political landscape. Among the events giving way to this landscape were the civil rights movements, the hippy culture, radicalism among students, the new left, feminism, the gay rights’ movements, the anti-Vietnam war movements, the Kennedy assassination, the Watergate scandal, the US withdrawal from Vietnam and the oil crisis among other events (King 2002, p. 14). The period of the 1960s and early 1970s was also the Cold War era and many Americans feared a nuclear attack (Neve 1995, p. 221). Arguably these events were quite dramatic and imposed on American culture in a very short period of time.
I.The Hollywood Renaissance
One of the most striking features of the Hollywood Renaissance was Hollywood’s departure from an attempt to idealize American life and culture. Instead, a majority of the films produced during the era of the 1960s and 1970s appealed to America’s conscience and adapted a social expression. The arts in general gave voice to the socio-political underpinnings of the times and attempted to contribute to change. Man (1994) observed that Hollywood cinema depicted “common themes” that:
...included the breakdown of traditional values, socio-political oppression, the psychology of sex and violence, moral ambiguity, alienation, solipsism, paranoia, and disillusionment (p. 1).
During the 1960s and the early 1970s, filmmakers had greater creative freedom in that the studio system faded out and filmmakers had the ability to be more critical of social issues and could be more innovative (Ryan and Kellner 1988, p. 6). ...