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The End of Cinema (As We Know It)

American Movies and Movie Business, 1995–2009

4. 1976 to the Present

5. Film and Culture: Summary Essays

  1. Jon Lewis

Published Online: 13 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470671153.wbhaf095

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

How to Cite

Lewis, J. 2011. The End of Cinema (As We Know It). The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film. 4:5:90.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 NOV 2011


In 1963, the French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard famously remarked, “I await the end of cinema with optimism.” What Godard so anxiously awaited was a departure from a certain dominant form of narrative moviemaking: a final, formal alternative to the sort of story-films endemic to Hollywood's classical, invisible style. In the near future, Godard proposed, we might find a medium that could speak in a different sort of visual and aural shorthand; still celluloid, still moving pictures essentially, but such a complete formal departure from the 70-year tradition of “cinema” that we would need to call it something else. Godard no doubt appreciated that his comment was provocative, if only because in 1963 an end to cinema as a medium was difficult to imagine.


  • twenty-first century American cinema;
  • contemporary Hollywood;
  • 3-D and IMAX;
  • the end of cinema