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The 10 Best Films of the 1970s

One critic's list. Also see last week's picks for the 1960s here.

Kyle Smith


June 13, 2014 - 11:00 am
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10. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

A roaring, timeless Kipling adventure directed by John Huston and starring the incomparable duo of Sean Connery and Michael Caine, the film is simultaneously a swashbuckling imperialist adventure and a cautionary tale about venturing into dimly understood lands to take advantage of easy pickings there. The scene in which the two old soldiers laugh their way out of doom — their voices cause an avalanche that seals an unpassable chasm — is a mini-tutorial on the payoff from looking at the bright side.

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Top Rated Comments   
Dude! You wasted the 70's watching these movies? How about: Close Encounters, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Monty Python's The Holy Grail, Jaws, The Deer Hunter, Blazing Saddles (really! You missed this?), The Sting, Chinatown, A Clockwork Orange, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The French Connection, Kelly's Heroes, Halloween, Taxi Driver, and STAR WARS STAR WARS STAR WARS. Now get on Netflicks and have a good Fathers Day watching movies the commenter's recommended. I can't wait to see what you watched in the 80's. =D
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Apocalypse Now!?” “Five Easy Pieces?!” I thought you said good movies.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
American Graffiti is better than almost every one on the list.

Dirty Harry and The Outlaw Josey Wales definitely surpass all except perhaps Godfather II, which is pretty good. That the Clint films are vastly superior is proven through the fact that people actually still watch them - a lot. That cannot be said for most of the movies on the list.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (67)
All Comments   (67)
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I would have found room for 'Breaking Away'; and really, 'Jaws'. C'mon it screams the 70s and it's memorable. Half of these are forgettable.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 - The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
2 - The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola)
3 - The Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky)
4 - Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
5 - Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
6 - Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese)
7 - Sorcerer (William Friedkin)
8 - Gimme Shelter (Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin)
9 - Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog)
10 - The French Connection (William Friedkin)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hated the list. I would have had about 3 of the 10.

But reading through the comments, does remind me that the 70s were the best decade of my life for movies...

That's a part of my young life I miss. Walking into a theater now with my wife is more often than not, torturous.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This list is crap.
What about Jeremiah Johnson, the best (and basically only) mountain man movie ever? Also, Marathon Man, The Outlaw Josey Wales, A Clockwork Orange? Five Easy Pieces is a nice little film, mainly as a Jack Nicholson vehicle, but it doesn't deserve to be on here. Three Days of the Condor was ruined by the preposterous love story with the ghastly Faye Dunaway that was entirely irrelevant to the plot. It also has no claim to be here. All That Jazz was also a nice little gem, that's it.
Chinatown and Taxi Driver should both be in the top 5. They continue to influence, and they both are considered the masterpieces of their respective directors. You exclude them both. Unbelievable.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cabaret and Day of the Jackal are two 70s films I never tire of seeing. They have held up well over the last 40 years.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any top ten list of the 70's best movies that doesn't have Jaws or Mash on it is fundamentally flawed.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would also add Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair to the list. While not as great as the album, JCS was an impactul movie. And Hair, while different from the play, was very well done Both are far better musicals than All That Jazz. So is Cabaret.

And so is Young Frankenstein, which is one of the funniest movies ever made. But you can't get it if you don't know broadway show tunes.

And if you want to go camp, Death Race 2000 is the greatest B movie ever made. They actually made a video game designed after that movie. Yeah, I played it. While primitive by today's murderous video game standards, you drove around running over people, and they would turn into little crosses on the road. But that video game only lasted six months. Parental outrage had it pulled from the arcades.

And if you want to go obscure, Freebie and the Bean. James Caan and Allen Arkin, that was one funny movie.

Let's not forget Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

Ah, the 70s, a great decade to come of age in. All the best bands recorded their greatest albums, all the television shows were great, and some of the greatest films ever were made. It was a decade of hightened creativity, unlike the 80s or any subsequent decade.

But you wouldn't understand that if you didn't live it.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have to agree that Chinatown should be on there, and Sorcerer.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, David Forsmark, I totally agree with you. Jaws, that movie scared the hell of of me too. As a kid, I used to swim out to the fifth sand bar off Pardre Island, because that's where the best waves were for body serfing. But after I saw that movie, I never entered the gulf at more than ankle deep.

The French Connection was an iteresting movie, and Dirty Harry was the first movie made about the Zodiac killer, although few know that.

The Deer Hunter was just depressing. I had a friend who couldn't deal with it, because it really disturbed his mind. Apocalyspe Now was frankly boring.

Star Wars, yeah, I saw it when it first came out. In Lubbock, on our way to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. We couldn't stop talking about it. But it's basically a space age Western.

Patton is one of my favorite movies of all time. Along with Casablanca and Gone With the Wind, which were not made in the 70s, but still defined the time they were made. Both of them are set during times of war.

We are at a time of war now. A way between liberalism and conservatism, and a war between Christianity and Islamicism.

It's not depicted on film, as it would have been in days of old. But the simple fact remains that we are at war, an idealogical war.

So to talk today about what movies we liked or didn't like, without any reference to the culture, is really ridiculous. And this guy's list is particularly bad.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Almost this entire list as well as your best 60's list appear to have been taken from the standard critics canon of what, in their pathetic left-wing view, are great movies. You need to see a LOT more movies from both eras before you start making 'greatest' lists.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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