A Decade Under the Influence (2003)
In the late '60s, American culture experienced a period of change as the youth movement challenged conventional attitudes about politics, sex, drugs, and gender issues, while the advancement of the Vietnam War found many citizens questioning the actions and wisdom of their government for the first time. As American attitudes continued to evolve, so did the American film industry; as costly big-budget blockbusters nearly brought the major studios to the brink of collapse, smaller and more personal films such as Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider, and Five Easy Pieces demonstrated there was a ready audience for bold and challenging entertainment. As the '60s faded into the 1970s, American cinema moved into an exciting period of creativity and stylistic innovation, which led to such landmark films as The Godfather, MASH, The Last Picture Show, Shampoo, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chinatown, and Taxi Driver, and new freedom for directors and screenwriters. Ironically, however, it was another pair of big-budget blockbusters directed by students of the new wave of filmmaking -- Jaws and Star Wars -- which brought the studios back to power and put an end to Hollywood's flirtation with offbeat creativity. A Decade Under the Influence is a documentary which explores the rise and fall of new American filmmaking in the 1970s, and features interviews with many of the key directors, screenwriters, and actors whose work typified the movement, including Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Roger Corman, Dennis Hopper, Jon Voight, and Julie Christie. A Decade Under the Influence received its world premier at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and an expanded version of the film was later shown on the premium cable outlet The Independent Film Channel; the documentary was the final work of co-director Ted Demme, who died shortly before the film was completed. … More
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Critic Reviews for A Decade Under the Influence
Demme and LaGravenese are just as happy to let the directors bask in their past glories and reminisce about those crazy days.
It's illuminating and nostalgic and for anyone who lined up for American movies in that bygone golden age.
...less of a serious, insightful documentary and more of a nostalgic love letter.
The past is so bright here, co-directors Richard LaGravenese and the late Ted Demme must have worn shades.
It's as if we're watching the equivalent of a VH1 special edited for an in-flight movie.
Succeeds as both a primer for newcomers and as eye candy for established film fans.
Unlike many documentaries about movies, it's neither underfunded nor perfunctory, but thoughtful and bracing.
Fitfully interesting in its own right, but more useful as a device to point you toward checking out the original source material.
Leaves us to wonder whether ever again will so many creative free spirits move into the mainstream in such numbers and with such success.
What's missing is anything resembling a point of view ... or the slightest sense of critical discrimination.
A breezy but incomplete valentine to the most fertile period in American film
It's gratifying and exhilarating enough -- the movie's a foolproof greatest-hits clips package. But Christie is its major coup.
When Coppola bellyaches you want to ask, Hey buddy, who forced the studios to give up on radical filmmakers by going insanely overbudget and past schedule with Apocalypse Now?
an entertaining introduction of the "auteur directors" that emerged from 1968 to 1978
Here's a fireball documentary about the 1970s, when filmmakers were stoked by sex, drugs, rock and, oh, yeah, social conscience.
The combination of access to so many of the era's players ... plus the entertaining clips and wise commentary into a unique period of cinema history, make Decade a pleasure to experience.
It's an entertaining pastiche, a slice of movie history that's both fun and educational (if slightly myopic about what has come since).
Should be required viewing not only for all film students but also for everyone working on an executive level in the current studio system.
Audience Reviews for A Decade Under the Influence
a fantastic doc about the young filmmakers who stormed hollywood in the seventies, producing a huge number of startlingly original films. directors like altman, hal ashby, scorsese and coppola along with so many others changed the way we watch movies forever in a decade when for once art ruled over commerce; a happy consequence of the breakup of the studio system, the meltdown of the sixties, and the influence of a generation of foreign filmmakers. it's sad we seem to be stuck in a decade of endless remakes and sequels that's all about the box office...More
Its a bit too general for my taste . . . and there are some strangely absent personalities. But if you are patient, there are some amusing anecdotes scattered throughout. Also, its rather fitting (and more than a little moving) that just about everyone acknowledges that Hal Ashby was the real king of the 70s . . his steady hand in the director's chair produced some the decades greatest films.More
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