Features and Columns · Movies

The Day New Hollywood Died

New Hollywood is dead, long live New Hollywood.
Heaven's Gate Dead Guy
By  · Published on January 25th, 2023

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores the circumstances that led to the end of the rebellious period in cinema history known as “New Hollywood.”

First things first: what is New Hollywood?

Long story short, when someone mentions New Hollywood, they describe a period in American cinema history that took place during the 1960s and 1970s. New Hollywood resulted from a number of convergent factors: increased access to international cinema, a stronger academic interest in film, and a movement away from the studio system. Its key figures (the Movie Brats) included the likes of  Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, Peter Bogdanovich, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, and John Milius, among others.

Among its many characteristics, New Hollywood is defined by a distinct and excessive degree of creative control. Auteurship was the name of the game. And artistic vision took loud and frequently dangerous precedence over nagging details like “safety” and “budgets.”

From the perspective of the powers that be, New Hollywood movies were worth betting on as long as they continued to do well at the box office and rake in Academy Awards. And the moment that stopped, New Hollywood films became bad bets not worth taking.

Michael Cimino‘s Heaven’s Gate is frequently identified as the death knell of New Hollywood. Though, a part of me thinks the film’s premiere in 1980 is a little too tidy. And as the video essay below underlines, other sacrificial lambs exist (like One From the Heart, Francis Ford Coppola’s Las Vegas-set Tom Waits musical). Cynically, like most things, the root of the shift was that New Hollywood movies stopped making money. And ironically, the call of commercialism was coming from inside the house, from younger New Hollywood brats-turned-blockbuster pioneers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Watch “A Brief History of New Hollywood | The Fall”

Who made this?

This look at the spectacular end of the New Hollywood movement comes courtesy of the fine folks at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. Will Webb wrote and edited this video. You can follow Little White Lies on Twitter here. And you can check out their official website here. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).