Masters of cinema: "The movie brats"

Course Dates: 31/10/21 - 07/11/21
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
A restless generation took Hollywood by storm in the 1970s, reflecting the climate of the country. The freewheeling styles of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, De Palma and Lucas would have a lasting impact on American filmmaking. These ‘movie brats’ were the first directors to come straight from college. Join us to investigate the 'New Hollywood'.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00

Course Code: HF065

Sun, day, 31 Oct - 07 Nov '21

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online film studies course is about the way Francis Ford Coppola enhanced the mainstream while Steven Spielberg and George Lucas rebranded it. Scorsese courageously strode off into his own territory.
The studios had lost their way and didn’t know what the new audiences wanted. Nor did the audience but they knew it when they saw it. In desperation, the major studios began greenlighting off-beat pictures by younger filmmakers—Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, George Lucas' American Graffiti—and even, on occasion, entrusting a big-budget movie to an untested director. One happy result was The Godfather (1972), made by 33-year-old Francis Ford Coppola. These directors were sometimes, derisively, called Movie Brats, but what they were was a kind of American New Wave, a homegrown version of France's Nouvelle Vague, which had a decade earlier overthrown the hidebound traditions of its own country's film industry. The French revolutionaries had grown up admiring American movies. And now, the reverse was happening.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Biographies of directors and films: Scorsese’s vibrant use of New York locations with a fluid energetic visual style, expressing a fascination with criminal subculture’s disturbed male protagonists and graphic violence. In Taxi Driver these flourishes were accompanied by a topical, incendiary script, written by a troubled Paul Schrader in just ten days, to ‘exorcise the evil I felt within me’.

The Godfather, at once an art film and a commercial blockbuster, marks the end of a classical Hollywood era. Marlon Brando’s operatic Don Corleone stands for everything about old Hollywood that the movie brat Coppola aspired to.

Brian De Palma re-made Hitchcock in a wonderfully lurid fashion.

George Lucas’s inspiration was to make a film on the scale of David O. Selznick as directed by David Lean but with content they would barely recognise as children’s entertainment.

Steven Spielberg changed all the rules once again with Jaws in 1975, then Lucas with Star Wars in 1977. They were now the new Hollywood establishment.

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

Distinguish the conditions that fostered the ‘movie brats’ in the new Hollywood they helped to create.
Describe the stories behind each of the key directors and their films and how these directors contributed to the 'New Hollywood'.

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

All levels. This is a course for anyone interested in viewing and discussing cinema.

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

Short lecture illustrated with film clips, followed by discussion in ‘breakout rooms’. No outside class work.

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

No further costs. The tutor will supply all films/extracts. Please bring pad or device to take notes during lectures.

Recommended (but purely optional) reading: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls…Saved Hollywood - Peter Biskind.

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

See our film studies classes under History, Culture and Writing/film studies at

John Wischmeyer

John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.

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.