The American Blockbuster
Movies That Defined Their Generations
by Benjamin Crace
October 2022, 317pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7780-3
$107, £83, 94€, A147
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7781-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Although they were invented in Europe, it was American entrepreneurship and innovation that turned films from a novelty into an industry that has changed the course of history.

Providing an indispensable resource for students and general readers, this book serves as an entry point for a conversation on America's favorite pastime, focusing in on generational differences and the evolution of American identity.

In an age marked by tension and division, Americans of all ages and backgrounds have turned to film to escape the pressures of everyday life. Yet, beyond escapism, popular cinema is both a mirror and microscope for our collective psyche. Examining the films that have made billions of dollars through a new lens reveals that popular culture is a vital source for understanding what it means to be an American.

This book is divided into four sections, each associated with a different generation. Featuring such era-defining hits as Jaws, Back to the Future, Avatar, and The Avengers, each section presents detailed film analyses that showcase the consistency of certain American values throughout generations as well as the constant renegotiation of others. Ideal for any cinephile, The American Blockbuster demonstrates how complex and meaningful even the summer blockbuster can be.


  • Provides readers with a completely different take on their favorite films
  • Extrapolates what "American" might mean and analyzes common values in the 21st century
  • Locates film as a crucial element to the understanding of late modern aesthetics, culture, spirituality, politics, and economics
  • Features a broad array of films spanning from the 1970s to today
Benjamin Crace, PhD, is assistant professor of English at the American University of Kuwait. He contributed to ABC-CLIO’s Dystopian States of America: Apocalyptic Visions and Warnings in Literature and Film.
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