With its soundtrack of wall-to-wall rock ‘n’ roll classics, its distinctively loose round-round-get-around structure and its gleaming evocation of the period, it was an impressive show of directorial strength before Lucas’s arrested development in a galaxy far, far away.
Glasgow-born Bill Forsyth had already proved his winning way with teenage actors with his 1979 debut That Sinking Feeling, but it’s with his second film that he lodged a place in the all-time coming-of-age movie canon.
After a career as a critic, Anderson had emerged as a director during the 1950s Free Cinema movement, but here moved up a gear with a strikingly original satire on English life that segues between black and white and colour and between horror and rhapsody, before ending with armed revolution on the roof of the school.
1950s British school movies in the St Trinians tradition weren’t without their own genteel anarchy, but If…. Another late-60s British drama with a less than rosy sense of the state of the nation, Barney Platts-Mills’ debut feature has been less seen than If….
Produced by BBS (the same stable that brought the world New Hollywood milestones Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces), The Last Picture Show is an elegiac story about a bunch of school kids coming of age in a small Texas town.
Critic-turned-filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich had got his first break with Targets (1967) under the aegis of producer Roger Corman, who was responsible for many car, drug and beach teen exploitation movies in the 50s and 60s.
encapsulated the moment of 1968 with its story of students violently rebelling against the old world order typified by school, church and army.
Based on Lucas’s own youth, American Graffiti was the director’s last stop off before his epoch-making Star Wars series.
Both those films remain important footnotes in the history of the rise of the teenager, but Rebel without a Cause still speaks to anyone looking around at the universe and wondering where they might fit in.
Ray’s classic is about to be rereleased around the country, along with James Dean’s two other star turns in East of Eden (1954) and Giant (1956).
But, five years later, À nos amours made an even bigger impression, matter-of-factly confronting us with the promiscuity of 16-year-old Suzanne, played – in one of film’s most dazzling debuts – by Sandrine Bonnaire.
Moving between a holiday in the country and her family life in Paris, the film charts Suzanne’s precocious sexual adventures alongside the turbulence she experiences at home.