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A Decade Under the Influence
A Decade Under the Influence
Actors: Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman, John G. Avildsen
Directors: Richard LaGravenese, Ted Demme
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
R     2003     2hr 18min

The 1970s was an extraordinary time of rebellion. As political activism, the sexual revolution, the women's movement, and the music revolution contributed to social unrest across America, American cinema witnessed the eme...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman, John G. Avildsen
Directors: Richard LaGravenese, Ted Demme
Creators: Alison Palmer Bourke, Caroline Kaplan, Gini Reticker, Jerry Kupfer, John Miller-Monzon, Jonathan Sehring
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Art & Artists, Educational, Film History & Film Making
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 18min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 7/18/2022...
Interesting historic discussion by many famous directors and stars about the change in the way films were made. A must for film buffs!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Too-Vague Take On A Too-Big Topic
El Kabong | 09/23/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The problems with both ADUTI and the similar doc EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS are: they are generally fawning in tone; they play fast-and-loose with the truth by presenting only selected bits of film history; and - most importantly - they attempt to explain the zeitgeist of the 70s by restricting their view only to movies, when movies are (and have always been) a milk container in the cultural icebox...taking the flavor of whatever's sitting next to it. The 'counterculture', or 'new aesthetic' (or however you want to phrase it) lasted longer and more meaningfully in other media (music, art, fiction) where there was substantially less money being invested. I love many late 60s/70s fact, that whole era is genuinely fascinating...but 'explaining', or just examining in depth, that window in time is more properly the domain of a Ken Burns-length documentary series. (You'd need 10-15 hours just to take in the full view.) And blaming everything that didn't work or fell apart on either drugs, JAWS, STAR WARS, or all three, is as pat and false as showing a married couple sleeping in twin beds during the heyday of the Production Code.For instance, Bogdanovich is trotted out like a High Lama of Personal Cinema but the audience never gets the sense of how his lousy old-Hollywood imitations like AT LONG LAST LOVE and NICKELODEON catastrophically imploded his career, right in the middle of that halcyon decade (and STAR WARS didn't have a blessed thing to do with it). We get clips from DIRTY HARRY and MAGNUM FORCE, as if Eastwood's proto-fascist genuflections before Ruthless Authority were somehow considered hip and edgy by the intelligentsia of the decade, when they were uniformly bemoaned and despised. We get many cloud-cuckooland memories intimating that 70s cinema reflected the audience's desire for meatier, more challenging fare, when nothing could have been further from the truth (the top box-office stars for much of the decade were not Dustin Hoffman or Robert DeNiro but Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson). The biggest hits of the 70s were all spun off the AIP model, not the Truffaut/Godard model: sensation ruled the day, then as now. People stood on long lines stretching several times around city blocks to see THE GODFATHER or SERPICO because - as a Roger Corman ad campaign might have phrased it - they "rip the lid off today's shocking headlines!!" It's one thing to say that Hal Ashby and Francis Coppola made terrific films (they did indeed); it's another to claim that they made films during a golden time when the audience was, for once, on the side of the Artists. That time has never existed. Before JAWS, before STAR WARS, folks were packing theaters for DEATH WISH, BILLY JACK and THE EXORCIST - and not because they were diehard Cahiers du Cinema subscribers.And what is not even touched upon is the long-term effect of the heightened gory violence of 70s films. We hear auteur after auteur hiding behind that sad old trope of "in order to show people the HORROR of violence, we had to truly show the EFFECTS of violence". Gee, thanks, Teacher....I'd've never dreamed that getting shot in the head might actually hurt, otherwise. Too bad the nonstop,desensitizing, rolling-snowball-momentum of all those squibs and open wounds is with us still, and it is almost 100% due to the movies of the 1970s. Coppola's triumphs may be a thing of the past - but Moe Green getting shot point-blank in the eye is forever. Scorsese has run out of heartfelt Little Italy stories to tell us, but he's still 'teaching' us how it might feel to have your eye forced out of its socket by having your head squeezed in a vise, or simply how liberating & invigorating it is to be turning that vise on behalf of the Mafia. I recall a 70s-era Pauline Kael column called "Fear of Movies" where she chided the audience for being prim, prudish wussies afraid to viscerally experience the primal excitement of violent films; a year or two later, she was fretting over the increasing 'brutality' of mass-entertainment. Way to chart cause and effect, Pauline!Sorry. But if you're going to celebrate the films of the 1970s, you have to shine a little light on the warts and moles under the makeup too...or you end up with a puff-piece. Which is the case here, good intentions notwithstanding."
What's Up With The Undue Harsh Criticism???
Jared | Studio City, CA | 02/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is apparent to me that those that don't appreciate this documentary are missing out, and misleading potential buyers, on a great piece of filmmaking. How many films include Coppola, Hopper, Scorsese, Lumet, Christie, among others in a documentary?
The film illuminates on the profound and revolutionary techniques by these "student mentality" (meaning innovative) filmmakers and actors. It is such an interesting and hip documentary handled with care, with a great soundtrack and cool, and surprising, clips.
Those that want to grow as a filmmaker should watch and heed the words of these film icons. Sure, it's nostalgic, but it should be; a film involving the free-ing spirit of '70s films.

It'd be interesting if it included more nudity from the various influential films. Regardless, it is a wonderful companion to any aspiring filmmaker, and much better than Easy Riders Raging Bulls, which focuses too much on the excess of the era.

A Decade Under the Influence shows even the artistry of the money-making Corman, along the next generation of filmmakers! Great film! Deserves more praise from Amazon!"
An incomplete look at a pivotal cultural moment
Joe Sixpack -- | Middle America | 10/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This quick, glitzy documentary, which looks at the maverick filmmaking that reshaped Hollywood in the late 1960s and throughout the '70s, has its ups and downs. At first I thought the lack of a central narrative voice, "telling" us what we're supposed to know, was kind of cool: "Yeah," I thought, "We're smart enough to understand what happened, and all these intelligent, thoughtful rebel filmmakers -- Coppola, Scorcese, Altman, Hopper, Dern, Eastwood, et al. -- can guide us through the history better than any dumb old narrator can... After all, they *lived* it, man...!!" But, sadly, this was not true: by the end of the three segments, I felt a little lost, and even a little cheated... I wasn't really sure what these advocates of independent cinema were trying to tell me, and while the parade of film clips and archival artwork (wish I'd taken notes!) was entertaining, it wasn't particularly well contextualized. The story arc, as such, was that Hollywood, having lost its bearings (and ability to produce hit movies) by the mid-1960s, almost accidentally discovered the rich offerings of low-budget, independent cinema. Suddenly, young, unproven writers and directors were given unfettered creative license, and throughout the 1970s they pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, breaking down taboos against exploring sexual, political and drug-related themes, as well as demolishing the boundaries of language and onscreen violence. Then, as the '80s opened, the push towards producing blockbuster hits reestablished the dominance of the old studio system. But the material between these central points is a diffuse parade of spectacle and insider asides, not as well structured or as informative as it could have been. Also, on a technical note, why was the DVD version so hard to navigate? What was up with having to start up each segment of this film separately? Watching it on VHS might actually have been more rewarding..."