During the 1980s, American cinema underwent ermous transformations. Blockbusters like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and The Empire Strikes Back earned huge sums for the studios. At the same time, the growth of home video led to new opportunities for independent film production, resulting in many of the decade's best films.Filmmakers responded to the social, political, and cultural conditions of the time, tably the Reagan presidency and the rebirth of the Cold War, which Hollywood films both embraced and critiqued. Hollywood also launched a long-awaited cycle of films about the Vietnam War, exploring its impact both at home and abroad. But science fiction remained the era's most popular genre, ranging from upbeat fantasies to dark, dystopic visions.American Cinema of the 1980s examines the films that marked the decade, including Ordinary People, Body Heat, Blade Runner, Zelig, Platoon, Top Gun, Aliens, Blue Velvet, Robocop, Fatal Attraction, Die Hard, Batman, and sex, lies & videotape.
Stephen Prince is Professor of Communication at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and author of many books on film including Movies and Meaning: an introduction to Film, Screening Violence and The Warrior's Cinema: the cinema of Akira Kurosawa.