How the Movies of the 1970’s and 1980’s Reflected America’s Mood and Culture

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Have you ever had one of those days that were so bad that you desperately needed a night at the ice cream or candy store? The 1970’s was that really bad day, while the night of self- indulgence was the 1980’s. Americans love to escape from our daily stress, and of all the products that allow us to do so, none is more popular than the movies. Movies are key cultural artifacts that offer a view of American culture and social history. They not only offer a snapshot of hair styles and fashions of the times but they also provide a host of insights into Americans’ ever-changing ideals. Like any cultural artifact, the movies can be approached in a number of ways. Cultural historians have treated movies as a document that records the look and…show more content…
Unlike the highly political films of the early 1970’s that offered a tragic or rebellious view on America, like The Godfather, were replaced by more upbeat films, especially comedies featuring such actors as Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase. The most popular films moving towards the 1980’s were blockbusters that people could escape to including movies like Star Wars (1977), Superman (1978), and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). These movies featured spectacular special effects, action, and simplistic conflicts between good and evil or inspirational stories about the determined American spirit, like Rocky (1976). Despite this trend towards escapism type films, important social issues continued to be addressed through film. Many films focused on problems of romance, family, gender, and sexuality. These are all parts of life radically changed by the social revolution of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Old fashioned screen romances and Cinderella stories like an Officer and a Gentleman and Flashdance, respectively tried to avoid these social changes and were huge box office draws. But many other popular films focused on such serious questions as the conflict between family responsibilities and personal needs. Examples of these films include An Unmarried Woman (1978), Kramer v. Kramer (1979), and Desperately Seeking Susan (1985). What

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