Our discussion of contemporary cinema will begin with Hollywood, and trace the transformations within the Hollywood system outwards. This is not to suggest that Hollywood is central to an understanding of contemporary cinema, simply that such transformations are more recognisable through Hollywood and American cinema more generally. As a dominant mode of film (industry and form), we can see how institutional and cultural shifts slowly changed the American film both in terms of practice and in terms of the films themselves. The Hollywood system was, in fact, always transformative, and the classical Hollywood film was anything but stable. If we are to attempt to identify the ‘beginning of the end’ of the classical Hollywood period, we could end up going back to the early days of cinema. However, there are key moments within classical Hollywood’s later years that act as significant markers of change. The post-war years, in particular, saw a number of scandals, legal cases, and social crises and ideological shifts that are now considered to be part of the move from the classical to the post-classical era.