2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent portrayal of 70s filmmaking,
By A Customer
This review is from: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll Generation saved Hollywood (Hardcover)If you're interested in the background of the making of some of Hollywood's best movies (the Godfather, the Exorcist, Taxi Driver), then you should enjoy this often hilarious and always interesting study of filmmaking in the 1970s. The strength of this book is that it simply tells a great story, charting the successes and fallibilities of a group of filmmakers in a way that's enjoyable to read and accessible. And the fact that many of Biskind's "characters" - Beatty, Lucas, Spielberg, Scorcese - are already known to the reader makes the experience even more enjoyable.
Biskind's book suggests that the downfall of the 70s "auteur" style of direction was that Scorcese et al tried to make films of great artistry without paying sufficient attention to the financial demands of the business in which they worked - and this point is well made by the book being framed by the success of Easy Riders at the beginning of the decade and the financial disaster of Heaven's Gate in 1980. Given that we are seeing an increase at present in the number of mainstream movies that are also self-consciously "artistic" (such as American Beauty, Traffic, etc), the relevance of this books to filmmaking today is huge. But Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, could be read and enjoyed by anyone. It's a pity that this book is never likely to be adapted for cinema itself - since it gives a portrayal of the rise and fall of a group of 70s filmmakers that has the narrative pace, style and drama to make a great movie. Strongly recommended.