ByJohn McGinn, writer at Creators.co
John McGinn

The 1970’s was quiet the decade. The decade gave us the first summer blockbuster season, the first true disaster films like Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno as well as introducing the world to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Bruce Lee (Though he was originally know for his role on Green Hornet.), the Alien franchise, and of course introduced us to the Godfather.

My best films of the 1970’s list took me long time to put together. In my first list I had over sixty films on the list, but some how managed to narrowed it down to 25. I also couldn’t pick a true number 1. Unlike the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s there are no real one, two or even ten films that truly stand above the rest. That’s why even though I have Alien as my number one it’s only number one because I had to put something there, and The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, Papillon, Jaws, or The Invasion of the Body Snatchers could have been number one. I even considered putting Monty Python and The Holy Grail as my best film of the 1970’s. Once you I got by the top 10 to 12 films there is a drop off from excellent to classic films to really good to great films. Now with all that in mind here is my 25 Best Films of the 1970’s.

25. The Getaway

Rating: 9/10

24. Kelly's Heroes: What a fun, entertaining, yet compelling war film Kelly's Heroes is. The film has an amazing cast that includes Clint Eastwood, Stuart Margolin, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Gavin MacLeod, Donald Sutherland, and Carroll O'Connor, and follows the story of a group of US soldiers in WWII who decide to steal millions of dollars worth of German gold from behind enemy lines. Brian G. Hutton war film effortlessly mixes humor, drama and action to make on of the best war films of all time. I would put Kelly's Heroes in my top 15 to 20 war films of all time.

Rating: 9/10

23. Wizards: Like MacAuthor, the animated film Wizards is highly underrated. Ralph Bakshi wrote, directed and produced this unique and original animated film that he go little to no support from FOX. The animation was unique for the time, and still is as was the adult themes for an animated film in a post apocalyptic world. Wizards is an uniquely original adult animated film that I highly recommend.

Rating: 9/10

22. Chinatown

Rating: 9/10

21. The Andromeda Strain

Rating: 9.25/10

20. MacArthur: In my view MacArthur is one of the most underrated films of all time. Yes there were some small historical inaccuracies, but MacArthur’s story is well written, and Gregory Peck did a wonderful job portraying one of the United States greatest generals and leaders in history in Douglas MacArthur, and Gregory Peck should have won an Oscar for his performance.

Rating: 9.25/10

19. The Exorcist

Rating: 9.25/10

18. Enter the Dragon: I was going to put a Bruce Lee film on this list no matter what. It was just to decide which one of Lee's to put on this list. I thought about putting Lee’s incomplete film Game of Death simply for the great scene with Lee facing off against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but decided to put Enter the Dragon on this list. I do think if Bruce Lee had successfully completed Game of Death it would have been his best film of his acting career.

Rating: 9.25/10

17. The Man Who Would Be King

Rating: 9.25/10

16. The Deer Hunter

Rating: 9.25/10

15. M.A.SH.: My first introduction to M.A.S.H. wasn't the 1970 film, but the acclaimed television series based on both the novel by Richard Hooker and the film, and starring Alan Alda. I grew up watching reruns of M.A.S.H. in the late 1980's and early 1990's. M.A.S.H. the television series is a masterpiece. The series takes a difficult yet overlooked subject in the Korean War and perfectly mixes comedy and drama to create poignant yet funny episodes with fully fleshed out characters. All right enough about M.A.S.H. the television series and let's talk about the film. I did watch the film until the early 2000's. The film stars Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt, Elliott Gould, and Robert Duvall, and takes place in M.A.S.H. unit during the Korean War. Both Donald Sutherland and Tom Skerritt were excellent in the dark comedy war film.

Rating: 9.25/10

14. The Godfather

Rating: 9.25/10

13. The Candidate

Rating: 9.25/10

12. Network

Rating: 9.5/10

11. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Rating: 9.5/10

10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Yes I know it's a remake of a great 1956 sci-fi film, but in my view director Philip Kaufman's film is the better film. Yes the film has many of the same themes of the first film, turning the film more into a horror/thriller than a sci-fi film. Kaufman's directing along with the acting by Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum and Brooke Adams helped to create one of the all time best sci-fi/horror films that has a terrifyingly dark ending that I absolutely loved.

Rating: 9.5/10

9. Apocalypse Now

Rating: 9.5/10

8. Jaws: There are many reasons why Jaws is a great film, but for me what puts it over the top is a simple, but probably the best scene of the film with Brody, Hooper, and Quint as they sit in the haul of the boat drinking and showing show their scars and telling the stories of how they got them culminating with Quint telling his tale of his time on the USS Indianapolis. Robert Shaw came up with the story and line for this moving scene that that added to the suspense of the film, and it is one of my most memorable scenes in film history.

Rating:9.75/10

7. The French Connection: Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider gave wonderful performances in this police thriller that launched both their careers, and just like Steve McQueen’s Bullitt it has one of the top five car chase scenes ever filmed.

Rating: 9.75/10

6. Papillon

Rating: 9.75/10

5. Catch-22: When I first watch Catch-22 based on Joseph Heller’s novel I didn’t understand the film or all the themes, but as a teen Matt my older brother gave me Heller’s novel to read, and to me it’s a great absurd, tragic, maddening and humorous World War II novel, and though director Mike Nichols film isn’t as good as the novel, Catch-22 is still a excellent film superior to the film that overshadowed Catch-22 in the good M.A.S.H. film.

Rating: 10/10

4. The Conversation

Rating: 10/10

3. Dawn of the Dead: Everyone needs to forget about the 2004 mediocre remake of George A. Romero's classic 1978 horror film and stick with the original. The darkly themed Dawn of the Dead cast a dark light our consumerism that still stands up in modern time. In Romero's sequel he ratchets up the violence to a gory level with guts being ripped out, heads being blown off, and more yet unlike the torture porn, and horror films of today Romero had something to back it up with timely themes, and a great story that helps elevate Romero's Dawn of the Dead to one of the best horror films of all time.

Rating: 10/10

2. The Godfather Part II: I personally enjoyed The Godfather Part II more than the first film, and believe it’s a superior film. The writing was better as I loved the flash backs to Vito Corleone’s early days that mirror what is happening with his son, both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s acting performances were brilliant, and it’s a shame that Pacino and De Niro wouldn’t work together or film a scene together until Michael Mann’s excellent heist film Heat.

Rating: 10/10

1. Alien: The decision to put Ridley Scott's 1979 film as what I believe to be the best film of the 1970's. It was very hard for me to chose between The Godfather Part II, Dawn of the Dead, and Alien. I'm sure if you ask me a few months from now there will be a great chance I'd chose on of the the other two film, but as of right now it's Alien. Alien perfectly blends science fiction and horror, and Alien is both one of the best horror and science fiction films of all time. Scott excellently paces the film filled with only the sounds of the Nostromo's machinery, and Jerry Goldsmith wonderful score that effortlessly builds tension. John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright give outstanding performances, and Sigourney Weaver in one of her first roles in film breaks through becoming a star, and becoming what I believe to be the first action heroine in film. Ridley Scott's Alien is the best film of the 1970's, and a film that can't me missed.

Rating: 10/10

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Honorable Mentions: The Onion Field, The Great Santini, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Mad Max, Kramer vs. Kramer, Capricorn One, Days of Heaven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Omen, All the President’s Men, Rocky, and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Good, but the Most Overrated Films of the 1970’s: Taxi Driver, Deliverance, A Clockwork Orange, and Patton.

Trending

Latest from our Creators