A Decade Under The Influence

A Decade Under The Influence


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

The period between 1969's Easy Rider and 1977's Star Wars has come to be recognised as a golden age of American cinema. A complex range of social, economic and cultural factors - The Sixties, Vietnam, Watergate, civil/ women's/gay rights, the oil crisis, the final death rattle of the old studio system and the rise of film schools and/or Roger Corman-trained moviemakers, with artistic aspirations are only the most significant - came together to give rise to films such as M*A*S*H, The French Connection, The Godfather, Mean Streets, The Exorcist, Chinatown, Nashville, Taxi Driver and Network that would have been impossible a few years previously.

There are two big problems with all this, as presented in A Decade Under The Influence. Firstly, the story is an oft-told, stale one.Can the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, William Friedkin, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader - in other words the usual roll call - really have anything new to say after all these years and interviews? Secondly, filmmakers Richard LaGravenese and Ted Demme are too much in awe of their subjects to ask the difficult questions - like, why none of their interviewees has managed to consistently match their early form.

Copy picture

The result is a generalising, simplified, Best Of compilation of Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls that omits the rampant egos and cocaine habits and writes history squarely from the perspectives of the surviving, and still active, survivors.

Worth watching on television - where it will undoubtedly turn up sooner or later - but not going out of your way to see in the cinema.

Reviewed on: 22 Aug 2003
Share this with others on...
A Decade Under The Influence packshot
Documentary outlining Hollywood’s 1970s heyday.
Amazon link

Read more A Decade Under The Influence reviews:

David Stanners ***1/2

Director: Richard LaGravenese, Ted Demme

Writer: Richard LaGravenese

Year: 2003

Runtime: 109 minutes

Country: US


EIFF 2003

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls