Film Theory: Decade Approach–Zeitgeist, Hero Types, Stars (Social Problems)

Nov 5, 2022, 345 words

Film Theory: Decade Approach

1920s: F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“It was an age of miracles,

It was an age of art,

It was an age of excess,

it was an age of satire.

Decade: Screen Types:

1920s: Latin Lover

1930s: All-American Hero (Gable, Cooper)

1940s: Private Eye

1950s: White Collar (Gregory Peck). professional

1960s: James Bond

1970s: Sinister, gorgeous, slim weakling (Redford)

1980s: wisecrack, all-action hero

1990s: Virtuous loner


In the Eisenhower era, Brando and Dean offer an image of “instinctive rebellion” that was otherwise repressed.



Racism: Black Jungle

Homosexuality: Tea and Sympathy

Drugs: Man with Golden Arm


Impotence: The Men (Best Years of Our Lives)


Education (Schooling)

Unionization (On the Waterfront)

Genres: Best Films:

Sci-fi: Incredibly Shrinking Man, Invasion of Body Snatchers, Kiss Me Deadly

Crime-gangster: Asphalt Jungle, phoenix Story

Noir: Asphalt Jungle

Horror: Them

Comedy: Tracy-Hepburn

Musical: Singin, Bad Wagon

Melodrama: Sirk, Minnelli Brooks; Peyton Place

Western: Rio Bravo; High Noon; Searchers

War: To Hell and Back

Courtroom: Anatomy of Murder; 12 Angry Men

Best Directors:

Brooks: Blackboard


Ford, John

Hawks, Howard



Lean, Davd: Bridge; Summertime

Lang, Fritz: Heat

Lumet: 12 Angry

Mackendrick: Sweet Smell


Mann, Anthony

Mann: Marty


Sirk, F

Stevens: Place in Sun; Giant

Wilder, Billy: Some Like; Sunset

Wise, Robert: I Want to Live


1960s: Indelible Images

Psycho: Murder of Janet Leigh

Misfits: Gable landing of mustangs

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Audrey, Moonrover

196s: Baby Jane, Davis Ive written a letter to daddy

Miracle Worker

The Graduate


2001: soaring of spaceship to J. Strauss

Butch Cassidy: freeze frame of Newman and Redford jumping off cliff


Actors: Zeitgeist

1930s: Cooper, Stewart

1940s: Bogart

1950s: Brando, Rock Hudson

1960s: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman

1970s: Jack Nicholson, De Niro, Hoffman

1980s: William Hurt, Nicholson

1990s: Michael Douglas, Brad Pitt

200o: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Denzel Washington



Themes that stressed the collective consciousness and national psyche

Dominant elements of myths, expressed in pop culture: nostalgia, fear and paranoia, revenge

Americans alienated from dominant

Ineffectual due to Vietnam and Watergate

Political and legal institutions corrupt