Top 70 from the 70s

A list of essential films from the 70s (American and European). Complied from IMDB's top 250 and from 20 top American Film critics for Take One magazine. I have not yet seen all these films.
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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.)
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
2.
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.)
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3.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients. (133 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
4.
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
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5.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe. (153 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
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6.
Alien (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, their landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious life-form, and soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
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7.
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
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8.
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
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
9.
The Sting (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker. (129 mins.)
Director: George Roy Hill
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10.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
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11.
Life of Brian (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah. (94 mins.)
Director: Terry Jones
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12.
Network (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit. (121 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
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13.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus. (125 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ watched - need to rewatch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
14.
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.)
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
15.
Rocky (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect. (120 mins.)
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16.
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
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17.
Stalker (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes. (163 mins.)
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18.
Manhattan (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress. (96 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
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19.
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
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20.
Mean Streets (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In director Martin Scorsese's look at New York City's little Italy, A small-time hood aspires to work his way up the ranks of a local mob. (112 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
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21.
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, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process. (113 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
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22.
Badlands (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands. (94 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
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23.
Blume in Love (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Lawyer Stephen Blume, specialized in divorces, lives a paradoxical situation when, having his own marriage break up... (115 mins.)
Director: Paul Mazursky
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24.
The Conversation (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered. (113 mins.)
“ need to rewatch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
25.
All the President's Men (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation. (138 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
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26.
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Two British soldiers in India decide to resign from the Army and set themselves up as deities in Kafiristan--a land where no white man has set foot since Alexander. (129 mins.)
Director: John Huston
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27.
Klute (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A small-town detective searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute. (114 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
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28.
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
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29.
The Shootist (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity. (100 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
30.
Fat City (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two men, working as professional boxers, come to blows when their careers each begin to take opposite momentum. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
31.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs and sleaze. (109 mins.)
Director: Russ Meyer
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
32.
The Parallax View (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator's assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the world's headlines. (102 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
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33.
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels. (97 mins.)
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
34.
Ganja & Hess (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
After being stabbed with an ancient, germ-infested knife, a doctor's assistant finds himself with an insatiable desire for blood. (110 mins.)
Director: Bill Gunn
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
35.
Harlan County U.S.A. (1976 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike. (103 mins.)
Director: Barbara Kopple
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
36.
Deliverance (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country. (109 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
“ need to finish watching ” - engagecontentmedia
 
37.
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.)
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38.
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An aging Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons--his sole purpose being to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Peckinpah
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39.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado. (93 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
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40.
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex. (129 mins.)
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
41.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad. (175 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
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42.
Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The European equivalent of "The Return of the Secaucus 7," this Swiss film looks at the lives of several... (116 mins.)
Director: Alain Tanner
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
43.
Patton (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton. (172 mins.)
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
44.
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 part-time sheriff teams up with a marine biologist and an old seafarer to hunt the monster down. (124 mins.)
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
45.
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
“ need to rewatch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
46.
Dirty Harry (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath. (102 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
47.
Grease (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. When they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance? (110 mins.)
Director: Randal Kleiser
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
48.
Coming Home (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A woman whose husband is fighting in Vietnam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there. (127 mins.)
Director: Hal Ashby
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
49.
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
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50.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Charlie receives a golden ticket to a factory, his sweet tooth wants going into the lushing candy, it turns out there's an adventure in everything. (100 mins.)
Director: Mel Stuart
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51.
All That Jazz (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer. (123 mins.)
Director: Bob Fosse
 
52.
The Hospital (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An over-burdened doctor struggles to find meaning in his life while a murderer stalks the halls of his hospital. (103 mins.)
Director: Arthur Hiller
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
53.
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
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
54.
The Last Detail (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two Navy men are ordered to bring a young offender to prison but decide to show him one last good time along the way. (104 mins.)
Director: Hal Ashby
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
55.
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
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
56.
Superman (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero. (143 mins.)
Director: Richard Donner
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57.
Enter the Dragon (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover. (102 mins.)
Director: Robert Clouse
“ watched ” - engagecontentmedia
 
58.
Tommy (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the object of a religious cult. (111 mins.)
Director: Ken Russell
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
59.
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
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
60.
Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Divorced working woman Alex and well-to-do Jewish family doctor Daniel Hirsh share not only the same... (110 mins.)
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
61.
The Candidate (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment. (110 mins.)
Director: Michael Ritchie
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
62.
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, an unemployed dancer and her 10-year-old daughter are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor. (111 mins.)
Director: Herbert Ross
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
63.
Julia (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
At the behest of an old and dear friend, playwright Lillian Hellman undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany. (117 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
64.
The Ruling Class (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A member of the House of Lords dies, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other, somewhat more respectable, members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensue. (154 mins.)
Director: Peter Medak
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
65.
Scenes from a Marriage (1973 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Ten years of Marianne and Johan's relationship are presented. We first meet them ten years into their marriage... (283 mins.)
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
66.
Day for Night (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew. (115 mins.)
“ need to rewatch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
67.
1900 (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The epic tale of a class struggle in 20th Century Italy, as seen through the eyes of two childhood friends on opposing sides. (317 mins.)
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
68.
Tristana (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
When the young woman Tristana's mother dies, she is entrusted to the guardianship of the well-respected though old Don Lope... (95 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
69.
Cries & Whispers (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When a woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden is visited by her two sisters, long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface. (91 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
70.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together. (102 mins.)
Director: Luis Bunuel
“ need to watch ” - engagecontentmedia
 
71.
Straw Dogs (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A young American and his English wife come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment. (113 mins.)
Director: Sam Peckinpah