The country watches intently as a disgraced former president faces allegations of covering up illegal activities, inflation is completely out of control, and the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the state of abortion. It’s 1973 in America.
Fifty years have passed, but many of the same issues still haunt the national psyche. As the U.S. ended its involvement in Vietnam, the young countercultural filmmakers who broke down Hollywood’s doors in the late ‘60s — and prepared the American consciousness for the moral complexities of the war and a changing society — became the heirs apparent to the entertainment-industrial complex. With more resources and the support of an avid public, the New Wave rolled ashore and gave us a veritable treasure chest of gritty stories and meaty performances. This year, we celebrate the golden anniversary of many of the masterpieces those turbulent times helped produce with an eye to the future — and the art this generation might create to help us process the challenges we face today.
Belcourt staffers culled this 18-film sampler of some of the best films released in the U.S. in 1973 from a list of over 125 titles. While some of our favorites are absent from the lineup because they’re either out of release or slated for restorations and anniversary screenings later in the year, this outstanding assortment of some of the most memorable and representative films of the era has a little bit of something for everyone. From canonical masterworks to underappreciated gems, from cult oddities to family friend fare, this cinematic survey of a pivotal year in American culture seeks to offer a glimpse into an incredibly exciting moment in motion picture history.