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Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,659 ratings  ·  276 reviews
The New York Times bestseller that follows the making of five films at a pivotal time in Hollywood history

In the mid-1960s, westerns, war movies, and blockbuster musicals like Mary Poppins swept the box office. The Hollywood studio system was astonishingly lucrative for the few who dominated the business. That is, until the tastes of American moviegoers radically- and une
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published February 14th 2008)
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Feb 25, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Pinky
Last night's demoralizing Oscar ceremony—like many stillborn ceremonies before it—makes me wonder why people continue to give a damn at all. Yes, I know there are a bunch of you cranks out there who (loudly) disavow an interest in showbiz spectacle, and you're only too anxious to take a steaming piss on the red carpet to assert some kind of hazy moral superiority. We thank you very kindly for your tsk-tsking, but everybody already knows full well that the frivolous ostentation and shameful self- ...more
Carol Storm
Five movies were nominated for Best Picture that year. BONNIE AND CLYDE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, DR. DOOLITTLE, and THE GRADUATE. Each movie had something to say about how Old Hollywood was coping -- or not coping -- with the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the Sixties. But BONNIE AND CLYDE and THE GRADUATE in particular were movies that suggested a New Hollywood was being born among the ashes of the old.

This is the most wonderful, amazing, and insight
Jun 22, 2011 Megankellie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comedy nerds, film nerds
Recommended to Megankellie by: film nerd.
This is pretty film-geekily interesting and just the complete detail you want behind the scenes of the five movies that were nominated for Best Picture in 1967 - In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and Dr. Dolittle. Great history and context and the detailed battle of getting something produced and marketed. So detailed, you start from the second the screenwriters behind Bonnie and Clyde thought of the script and the million years until they sa ...more
Charles Matthews
Oscar plays it safe. You can trust the Academy to pick a “Forrest Gump” over a “Pulp Fiction,” an “Ordinary People” over a “Raging Bull,” or a “Kramer vs. Kramer” over an “Apocalypse Now.”

Or a well-made, socially conscious melodrama like “In the Heat of the Night” over groundbreaking movies like “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Graduate.” That’s part of the story that Mark Harris tells in his richly fascinating book, “Pictures at a Revolution,” which focuses on the five nominees for best picture in 1
This is your book if you appreciate thoroughness, historical accuracy and narrative momentum with your cinema journalism. Mark Harris captures the essence of mid-60s filmmaking in a bottle, exhaustively documenting the making and promotion of the five films nominated for the best picture Oscar in 1967: Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and (seriously) Dr. Doolittle. Harris masterfully weaves the story of each film's creation into a united t ...more
If you're a big movie and movie history buff like me, this book is a must-read! It's a wonderful glimpse into what it was like right at the cusp of "old" and "new" Hollywood, full of direct quotes from many of the actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers who weathered the changes. It mainly focuses on 5 movies that, in their own ways, heralded the change: Look Who's Coming to Dinner; In the Heat of the Night; Bonny & Clyde; The Graduate; and Doctor Dolittle. It was quite fascinating!
This book was a honking huge volume. Luckily, I really enjoy books about production history, I was already familar with all of the films... and we had talked a little bit about the birth of "New Hollywood" in several of my critical studies film classes at USC. So, I came into the book knowing that I would love it.

Oh, boy, did I ever.

Mark Harris really delves into a detailed history of each movie, from conception to pitching to production to marketing to the actual Academy Awards ceremony. I lov
Harris' Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood chronicles five films nominated for best picture for the Oscars in 1968: Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming For Dinner, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, and Dr. Dolittle. Harris gives in-depth research about the backgrounds of the films and by comparing them, explores the social and philosophical changes in the Zeitgeist of the time. The book illustrated the generation gap between parents and their children ...more
Neil Fox
A remarkable book - captures a fascinating time for American cinema beautifully and underscores it with a nuanced understanding of wider societal issues. Both anecdotal and analytical it's superbly written, engaging and rewarding, particularly for movie lovers.
This narrative nonfiction work traces the making of the five Best Picture contenders at the 1968 Oscars to paint a picture of the revolution happening in Hollywood in the 1960s as the old studio system and production code crumbled and audiences hungered for something new, influenced by Italian Neorealism and French New Wave imports. His profiles of key players in the industry--both old and new--are delightful and insightful. I don't read much nonfiction but Harris was thoroughly engaging and kep ...more
Immediately the best, most fascinating and rigorously researched book on film I've ever read; but of course, it isn't JUST about movies, but about entire cultural paradigm shift, and so much more. It took me, oh, maybe twenty pages or so to get a feel for Harris' rhythm-- initially, I wondered if it might be just a bit dry-- but once I got the hang of it I was never anything less than totally captivated by it, and the kinds of historical anecdotes he digs up are s utterly bizarre, they couldn't ...more
Richard Block
New Hollywood, Old Bitchiness

Mark Harris is the wife/husband of author Tony Kushner, and his brilliantly detailed book about the 'revolutionary' year of 1967 makes a good read if that's your era - it is my era. It cannot be faulted for research or conclusions, and yet... It is also full of bitchiness, gay rumours and endless smugness about it's subjects that I felt like having a quick shower after reading it.

He takes the 5 films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and tells their stories from t
Ted Hunt
This is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It examines the changes that were taking place in the American motion picture industry in the 1960's by examining the five movies that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar for 1967: The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Dr. Dolittle, In the Heat of the Night, and Bonnie and Clyde. In doing so, the book shows how the "old" Hollywood was being supplanted by something very different. The behind the scenes look at these m ...more
Craig Werner
Chock full of interesting information and anecdotes about the five films nominated for the 1968 Oscars (for movies released in 1967). It's a telling list: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and--pause to allow for guffaws--Doctor Doolittle, which wasn't even a commercial success. Writing in a breezy journalistic style that never gets in the way, Harris argues that this was the moment that marked the transition from the "Old Hollywood"--studio ...more
This book is journalism at its absolute best; impeccable research and a wonderful story. The best histories are not just about their own subject, but give you a whole feel for the time and place. Harris has got into every part of this story; he's spoken to everyone, and read everything, but most of all he can really tell a great story. One of the best film books I've read, and I've read many. This is up there with Steven Bach's Final Cut for me.
The fifth star was within grasp, but there were a few times when I wondered about why the author transitioned as he had from one story facet to the next. It was occasionally just a tad jarring to be listening about Sidney Poitier one moment, then Dustin Hoffman the next - perhaps without benefit of chapter headers

But the story was well done. For those of us who came of age during the '60s this is an excellent retrospective on the culture, generally, and the entertainment culture, specifically, w
Mark Harris examines the evolution of the motion picture industry in the 2nd half of the 20th century through an examination of the 5 movies nominated for Best Pictue in 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and Doctor Doolittle. "67, he argues, is the year that "Old Hollywood" (typified by Doctor Doolittle) lost its punch and a new generation (see the other 4 movies) took over. He talks about financing, casting , production, and , most int ...more
Fascinating subject and superbly written book about the point in cinema history where one old studio system comes to an end and a collection of writers, actors and directors with a new view took over the screen.

Some of the information in the book about certain details of the films, such as the way Poitier felt about his place in the racial cinema of the time, and really the pieces about how Anne Bancroft approached the role in The Graduate with such unbridled rage add another layer to some of th
Loved this book! Learned so much that I didn't yet know about the behind-the-scenes. I now have a greater appreciation for some of these directors and/or actors, screenwriters, and all who are involved in this art. I am so tempted to share some excerpts but will refrain from spoiling your reading pleasure! You've got to read this!
This is one of my all-time favorite nonfiction books, and was actually the basis of my final project for my readers' advisory class in library school, and it's funny and well-organized and sort of gently sweet in a way you don't always expect from a Hollywood history making-of kind of book.
I started reading this book this morning, and despite my rather hectic Monday schedule (on a truck I haven't driven in toto since forever ago), I am now roughly halfway through it, and if I don't finish it tonight, I certainly will tomorrow. This is one hell of a read, and deftly written.
Jeff Raymond
I've been really interested and fascinated with the history of cinema for some time. There's a lot of fascinating pieces to the overall history, although I find the Hays Code-era wranglings to be almost as interesting as the creation of the classic films themselves.

What if I told you there was a book that combined both?

Pictures at a Revolution covers the time in American movies surrounding the creation of five classic films that ended up being nominated for Best Picture in 1967, including Bonnie
I did the audiobook version of this...listening to only 30 minutes or so a day while at the gym. But it was a great way to take in the story, slow and deliberate. Harris weaves a very thorough tale with a sizable cast of characters. Sidney Poitier definitely emerges as the "star" of the story. Interesting were the bits about Rex Harrison and his wife Rachel Roberts. Jeez, whatta pair of jerks. Warren Beatty comes across as serious and low-key...just as you always thought he was. The tugging and ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Bob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Katherine, Joan, Matthew, Christopher
An in-depth look behind the scenes at the making of the five movies nominated for the 1967 Academy Award, focused not only on movie- and star-making, but on the social and political context of these films. The author's thesis is that four of the movies - both in their making and the messages - were game changes for Hollywood; having come of age in that time, I certainly can buy that argument for The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night (the outlie ...more
A wonderful look at the five pictures nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture in 1968. The book's primary theme - that Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate marked a distinct break from the Old Hollywood studio-driven method of producing movies - is described in numerous stories from the actors, directors, and producers of these two movies as well as those associated with other three nominees - In The Heat of The Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and (ugh!) Doctor Doolittle. While The Studio by J ...more
The author's thesis--and he builds a strong case--is that the films nominated for Best Picture in 1967 marked the point at which moviemaking shifted from the studio-driven, production-code era to the contemporary era of filmmaking. Considering the impact that "The Graduate" and "Bonnie and Clyde" had on films to come, it's hard to argue against his thesis. Harris does a great job of telling you how these two unlikely films--and the three others nominated that year--came to see the light of day, ...more
Just a great read - and not what I had anticipated. I'd read little about it prior and, for some reason, thought the book might focus on the Oscars. Wrong. It covers this whole period in film, during which time films were passing over from the studio system to a bold, progressive way of filmmaking - as reflected in the five films nommed for Best Pic as well as other films being made at and around this time. The changing political/social climate also comes into play here. A very addictive read fo ...more
There are moments in history that at least in retrospect can be seen as monumental or groundbreaking. If you're lucky, you'll know that it's groundbreaking when it's actually happening. 1967 was one of those years in cinema as New Hollywood, an edgier more provocative scene faced off against Old Hollywood, those fine with the status quo or even a return to even older ways. This was the year that would be the prologue before films of the 70's that would change cinema forever, films like The Godfa ...more
William Meeker
I enjoy reading fiction set in and non-fiction about the 1960s. Literature from and about this period attracts me because I was a child who was too young to remember (much less understand) what was happening then (N.B., I was born shortly after the Beatles' flight to the U.S. from Heathrow touched down at JFK Airport in February, 1964). Since I am a "movie buff" -- a term that was coined by the press in the late '60s -- it's only natural for me to be attracted to texts about the history of filmm ...more
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Mark Harris’s first book, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, was published this year. He writes the “Final Cut” column for Entertainment Weekly and has also written about pop culture for many other publications, most recently The New York Times, Details, GQ, Portfolio, The Washington Post, Slate, The Guardian, and The Observer Film Quarterly. A graduate of Ya ...more
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