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1970s Hollywood has been characterized as a renaissance and a revolutionary decade mostly because of the exceptional artistic and personal filmmaking that flourished in the early part of the decade after a period of industrial decline in the 60s and that found popular acceptance with a young critically attuned audience craving something new As Warren Beatty put it the lunatics were briefly running the asylum as young directors writers and actors gained a measure of creative freedom to experiment with conventions of Hollywood stories and genres The resulting films cast an unsentimental and often critical look at American culture without happy endings or identifiable heroes While the filmmaker was staking his claim as an artist during this period the industry as a whole was recovering its ability to make vast sums of money Hollywoods 1970s renaissance had in fact a dual nature with the industrial impact of the new blockbuster serving as an emphatic reminder that despite rhetoric about directorial autonomy and artistry the Hollywood industry is and has always been guided by the bottom line The emergence of the new blockbuster could be seen in the early years of the decade with the later popularity of Jaws and Star Wars effectively demonstrating that not only were the substantial successes of The Godfather and The Exorcist not a fluke but that with the right marketing and merchandising strategies even more money could be made By the end of the decade the renaissance of marketing and the blockbuster had effectively subsumed the renaissance of cinematic artistry and critical engagementThe beginning of 1970s Hollywood is actually most accurately placed at 1967 due to the release that year of Arthur Penns Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty who also produced it Faye Dunaway and Gene Hackman and Mike Nichols The Graduate starring newcomer Dustin Hoffman Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft These two notoriously groundbreaking and European-influenced films signaled the direction Hollywood was to follow bolstered by their great
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