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The New Hollywood

  • Code Apogée


  • Composante(s)

    UFR Langues et Civilisations

  • Période de l'année

    Semestre 1


This seminar explores one of the richest periods in the history of the American cinema. For many reasons (economic as well as cultural and socio-political ones), the 1970s saw the budding of a new kind of cinema that was totally opposed to the earlier classical way of making films in Hollywood.

We will therefore first analyze these reasons, before dealing with this new conception of the cinema in those days. The core of that seminar will be the detailed study of the most typical features of the main films of the period. The classes will alternate the study of some representative scenes with a more global view of how the cinema was conceived by all these talented directors (Bogdanovich, Penn, Hopper, Altman, Coppola, Scorsese, Friedkin, De Palma…) and by some producers (Schneider, Rafelson, Evans…). There will also be a focus on William Friedkin, whose career does encompass the most striking facets of that conception of the cinema, the director having somehow managed to outlive the glorious 1970s to enrich his filmography in the 21th century with films that still ensue from the canon of the now late New Hollywood.

And so, we will eventually see the reasons why this New Hollywood ended in the early 1980s, and we will look for some traces of its heritage in the cinema of the following decades, not only in Hollywood (and in Friedkin’s filmography) but also around the world (Lars Von Trier’s and Thomas Vinterberg’s “Dogme 95 Manifesto” sharing, for examples, some beliefs in the “Cinéma Vérité” advocated in the New Hollywood).

As mentioned before, the class will be based on the study of some excerpts, and this requires the active participation of the students who will be asked to comment on some aspects of the studied scenes.

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Contrôle des connaissances

Every student following the seminar will be requested to write an essay on a film which reflects some aspects of the New Hollywood. The essay will be composed of the presentation of the film and of its main themes, as well as of the filmic analysis of one of its scenes that is representative of the studied period.

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Informations complémentaires

Ouvert aux étudiant·es en mobilité sous réserve du nombre de places disponibles.

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For this seminar, the students are supposed to have watched some of the key films of the period, among which:

  • Bonny and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967)
  • Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
  • Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
  • Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)
  • The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
  • Little Big Man (Arthur Penn, 1970)
  • McCabe and Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
  • The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)
  • The French Connection (William Friedkin, 1971)
  • The Panic at Needle Park (Jerry Schatzberg, 1971)
  • The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
  • Sisters (Brian De Palma, 1973)
  • The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
  • Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
  • Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman, 1975)
  • Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
  • The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)
  • Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
  • Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)


Recommended reading:

  • BACH Steven, Final Cut : Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, New American Library, 1985.
  • BISKIND Peter, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls : How the Sex ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, Bloomsbury, 1998.
  • ELSAESSER Thomas (Ed), The Last Great American Picture Show : New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s, Amsterdam Univ Press, 2004.
  • FRIEDKIN William, The Friedkin Connection, A Memoir, Harper Perennial, 2014.
  • ROCHE David, Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s, Univ Press of Mississippi, 2014.
  • SEGALOFF Nat, Hurricane Billy: The Stormy Life and Films of William Friedkin, William Morrow and Company Inc., 1990
  • THORET Jean-Baptiste, Le cinéma américan des années 70, Editions les cahiers du cinéma, 2006.
  • THORET Jean-Baptiste, 26 secondes, l’Amérique éclaboussée. L’assassinat de JFK et le cinéma américain, Rouge Profond, 2003.
  • WOOD Robin, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan, Columbia Univ Press, 1986, pp. 70-201.
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