My 40 Top Films of the 1970's

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1.
The Godfather (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (175 mins.)
 
2.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture. (116 mins.)
“ I made the mistake of seeing this for the very first time while we were in the beginning days of the second Iraq war; some of the similarities were very eerie. Even more so, when Abu Garib occured a bit later. An observant film about the easy fall into Fascism and no way to escape once you begin to follow. Do not let little children watch this; although I'm sure many teens have seen it all with the "Saw" film series. ” - TheFabulousThomasJ
 
3.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. (121 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
 
4.
The China Syndrome (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant. (122 mins.)
Director: James Bridges
 
5.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A Brooklyn teenager feels his only chance to succeed is as the king of the disco floor. His carefree youth and weekend dancing help him to forget the reality of his bleak life. (118 mins.)
Director: John Badham
 
6.
Jaws (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A giant great white shark arrives on the shores of a New England beach resort and wreaks havoc with bloody attacks on swimmers, until a local sheriff teams up with a marine biologist and an old seafarer to hunt the monster down. (124 mins.)
 
7.
Midnight Express (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Billy Hayes, an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison. (121 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
 
8.
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The accidental mix-up of four identical plaid overnight bags leads to a series of increasingly wild and wacky situations. (94 mins.)
 
9.
Carrie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
10.
American Graffiti (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college. (110 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
 
11.
Taxi Driver (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, while attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process. (113 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
12.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen. (137 mins.)
 
13.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive". (93 mins.)
Director: John Waters
 
14.
An Enemy of the People (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A scientist stands against an entire town when he discovers their medicinal spa is polluted. (103 mins.)
Director: George Schaefer
 
15.
The Last Picture Show (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically. (118 mins.)
 
16.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In future Britain, Alex DeLarge, a charismatic and psycopath delinquent, who likes to practice crimes and ultra-violence with his gang, is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan. (136 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
17.
The Exorcist (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. (122 mins.)
 
18.
The Boys in the Band (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual is accidentally invited to a homosexual party. (118 mins.)
 
19.
MASH (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war. (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
 
20.
Cabaret (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them. (124 mins.)
Director: Bob Fosse
 
21.
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A dropout from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest. (98 mins.)
Director: Bob Rafelson
 
22.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate. (202 mins.)
 
23.
Harold and Maude (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral. (91 mins.)
Director: Hal Ashby
 
24.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A group of passengers struggle to survive and escape when their ocean liner completely capsizes at sea. (117 mins.)
Director: Ronald Neame
 
25.
The Way We Were (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two desperate people have a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart. (118 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
 
26.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary. (93 mins.)
Director: Mel Brooks
 
27.
Rancho Deluxe (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Two drifters, of widely varying backgrounds, rustle cattle and try to avoid being caught in contemporary Montana. (93 mins.)
Director: Frank Perry
 
28.
Paper Moon (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership. (102 mins.)
 
29.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. (106 mins.)
Director: Mel Brooks
 
30.
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A story of two men drag-racing across the U.S. in a primer grey '55 Chevy. Dennis Wilson is the mechanic, James Taylor is the driver. (102 mins.)
Director: Monte Hellman
 
31.
Chinatown (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder. (130 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
32.
Hair (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Claude Bukowski leaves the family ranch in Oklahoma for New York where he is rapidly embraced into the hippie group of youngsters led by Berger, yet he's already been drafted. He soon falls in love with Sheila Franklin, a rich girl but still a rebel inside. (121 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
 
33.
Shampoo (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Lovers undo a hairdresser from Beverly Hills around Election Eve in 1968. (109 mins.)
Director: Hal Ashby
 
34.
Car Wash (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Car Wash is about a close-knit group of employees who one day have all manner of strange visitors coming onto their forecourt... (97 mins.)
Director: Michael Schultz
 
35.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's aristocratic position in 18th-century England. (184 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
36.
Sounder (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food. (105 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
37.
The Bad News Bears (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An aging, down-on-his-luck ex-minor leaguer coaches a team of misfits in an ultra-competitive California little league. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Ritchie
 
38.
Breaking Away (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A small-town boy obsessed with the Italian cycling team vies for the affections of a college girl. (101 mins.)
Director: Peter Yates
 
39.
Annie Hall (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall. (93 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
40.
The Last Waltz (1978 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band. (117 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese