The 1970s: that magical era betwixt the swinging ’60s and the decadent ’80s, the epoch of leisure suits and Afros, the age of disco music and platform shoes. As war raged on in Vietnam and the Cold War continued to escalate, Hollywood began to heat up, recovering from its commercial crisis with box-office successes such as Star Wars, Jaws, The Exorcist, and The Godfather. Thanks to directors like Spielberg and Lucas, American cinema gave birth to a new phenomenon: the blockbuster.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, while the Nouvelle Vague died out in France, its influence extended to Germany, where the New German Cinema of Fassbinder, Wenders, and Herzog had its heyday. The sexual revolution made its way to the silver screen (cautiously in the U.S., more freely in Europe) most notably in Bertolucci’s steamy, scandalous Last Tango in Paris. Amid all this came a wave of nostalgic films (The Sting, American Graffiti) and Vietnam pictures (Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter), the rise of the antihero (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman), and the prestigious short-lived genre, blaxploitation.