Online course: American Cinema in the 70s: A New Look at New Hollywood


(March-May, 2021)


The 1970s is one of the richest periods in American film history. In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 16 key films of the New Hollywood era from such essential directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Elaine May, Arthur Penn, Sam Peckinpah, Sidney Poitier, John Huston, Orson Welles, George Lucas and William Friedkin.

The lectures will explore these films through the stories of their production and in the wider context of American society, history, and politics. We’ll examine the transformation of traditional genres such as the western and the detective film, and the massive changes in the film industry before the rise of the blockbuster era. We’ll also examine the careers of the major directors and writers.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original fifty-minute multimedia lecture on a set film and theme and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two) in preparation for the session. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

I will be running two identical sessions each week to accommodate different international time zones. Choose whichever you prefer:

American session: Sundays 12pm PT/3pm ET.
European session: Tuesdays 7:30pm GMT/8:30pm CET.

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$120. Please email me at to book your place in the course.


March 7th (US)/9th (EU)
Lecture 1: The Dawn of New Hollywood
Movie: FIVE EASY PIECES (Bob Rafelson, 1970)

March 14th (US)/16th (EU)
Lecture 2: The Revisionist Western
Movie: BUCK AND THE PREACHER (Sidney Poitier, 1972) & ULZANA’S RAID (Robert Aldrich, 1972)

March 21st (US)/23rd (EU)
Lecture 3: Nixon at the Movies
Movie: THE CONVERSATION (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

March 28th (US)/30th (EU)
Lecture 3: The Nostalgia Industry
Movies: FAT CITY (John Huston, 1972) & AMERICAN GRAFFITI (George Lucas, 1973)


April 11th (US)/13th (EU)
Lecture 5: Men and Women on the Road
Movies: SCARECROW (Jerry Schatzberg, 1973) & ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (Martin Scorsese, 1974)

April 18th (US)/20th (EU)
Lecture 6: New Hollywood and its Discontents
Movie: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (Orson Welles, 1970-6/2018)
Special Guest (US session): Josh Karp, author of Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind and co-producer of the Netflix documentary They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead.

April 25th (US)/27th (EU)
Lecture 7: Winning Streaks
Movie: CALIFORNIA SPLIT (Robert Altman, 1974) & MIKEY AND NICKY (Elaine May, 1976)

May 2nd (US)/4th (EU)
Lecture 8: Crimes on the Edge of America
Movie: NIGHT MOVES (Arthur Penn, 1975)

May 9th (US) /11th (EU)
Lecture 9: Transgressing the Border
Movie: BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (Sam Peckinpah, 1974)

May 16th (US)/18th (EU)
Lecture 10: The Wages of Fear
Movie: SORCERER (William Friedkin, 1977)

May 23rd (US)/25th (EU)
Lecture 11: Napalm in the Morning
Movie: HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE (Fax Bahr/George Hickenlooper/Eleanor Coppola, 1991)

May 30th (US)/June 1st (EU)
Lecture 12: Permanent Vietnam
Movie: CUTTER’S WAY (Ivan Passer, 1981)