American cinema of the 1960s: Film, culture and society

Course Dates: 12/06/20 - 31/07/20
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Online

The great American film critic Manny Farber said: “it’s impossible for a movie not to be of its period”. Is this how we make sense of American Cinema in the 1960s, a decade that began, emblematically, with the shock of Psycho and ended no less symbolically with Easy Rider?

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

This course looks at the way in which American cinema of the 1960s reflected the tumultuous changes in American society and a country beset by political assassinations, civil unrest, and the Vietnam War.

What will we cover?

We look at the films (and filmmakers) that captured, and in some cases anticipated, the national mood.
Moving chronologically through the 1960s, it explores the ways in which public tastes and mores changed as another audience – the ‘counter culture’ – emerged. And it traces the influences (social, cultural, political, and cinematic) that took root and flowered in the ensuing decade.

There will also be a focus on the work of specific filmmakers whose work during this time reflects the changes both within and outside the Hollywood studio system. Filmmakers include: Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn, Shirley Clarke and John Cassavetes. Films include: Shadows, Splendor in the Grass, The Manchurian Candidate, Mickey One, Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Portrait of Jason, Faces, Targets, Medium Cool, Putney Swope and Midnight Cowboy.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Have an understanding and critical appreciation of the key films of the decade.
- To recognize the various influences at work on American filmmakers.
- Be able to place American cinema within the social and political upheavals of the era.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to anyone with an interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be delivered in two hour sessions over eight weeks.
Each class will feature a lecture, clips / screenings followed by an interactive discussion.
There will be weekly handouts for further reading / research and further recommended viewing.

This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs. Bring a pen and paper.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other courses under 'American Literature'/Literature/History, Culture and Writing at

Tutor Biographies
Mick Mcaloon

Mick McAloon has 18 years’ experience in cinema exhibition – running cinemas, programming events and film series. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including the books Movie Star Chronicles and 1001 Movies. Previously he was a Visiting Lecturer at Kingston University on the Media & Communications degree.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HF202

Fri, day, 12 Jun - 31 Jul '20

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

Full fee: £149.00
Senior fee: £119.00
Concession: £66.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.