1970's

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1.
A Touch of Zen (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks. (200 mins.)
Director: King Hu
 
2.
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
“ Before George Lucas became known as the man who created the Star Wars universe, he made another classic film, "American Graffiti". Francis Ford Coppola helped finance less than one million dollars, to this still somewhat unknown Lucas and his movie, which ended up being one of the top grossing films to this date. ” - sooutofoptions
 
3.
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
 
4.
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
 
5.
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
 
6.
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
“ This wonderful homage to the film noir of the 50's contains all the vintage elements. The film is set in Los Angeles during the 1930's. Jack Nicholson plays J.J. Gittes, a somewhat seedy private investigator who takes on a simple sounding case of infidelity. Faye Dunaway is the femme fatale who pulls Gittes into a complex mystery of false identities, investment schemes, controlling of the water supply and incest. Roman Polanski directs a moody picture from Robert Towne's wonderful script inspired by Chandler. Polanski also makes a cameo in the picture as a thug with a knife. The production design perfectly creates L.A. of the 30's and the tempo of the film accelerates as it pulls you deeper into the mystery. Appears on AFI's Best Movies of all time list at 19. ” - sooutofoptions
 
7.
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.)
“ Speilberg's second major release proved to the world that "Jaws" wasn't a one hit wonder for this young director, who also wrote the story for this film. And unlike most directors, Speilberg did not let the amazing special effects take away from the story. Richard Dreyfuss stars as one of many people who begin having strange dreams and sighting of UFO's. ” - sooutofoptions
 
8.
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
“ The first film to try and deal with the Vietnam War was groundbreaking. Blasted at first for being over 3 hours long and containing graphic voilence and racial stereotypes, the film ended up winning 5 Oscars including Best Picture. ” - sooutofoptions
 
9.
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.)
“ One of the few horror films to ever receive any form of critical recognition. ” - sooutofoptions
 
10.
The French Connection (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. (104 mins.)
 
11.
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.)
 
12.
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.)
 
13.
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.)
 
14.
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
“ This movie probably hasn't held up very well over time. Partly because the inventive way Robert Altman directed this film has been copied many times over the last few decades, but mainly because the movie spawned an extremely popular television series. But when M*A*S*H came out in it's first release it was something quite new. The story follows a medical unit during the Korean War. It graphically showed bloody, war surgery for the first time (tame by present standards), and the crazy antics of the medics who used humor to deal with the horrors of war. This was Altman's first major success. One technique Altman would use throughout his film career was the freedom he would give his actors. Many of the scenes would have realistic dialogue because the actors were allowed to improvise their lines. ” - sooutofoptions
 
15.
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
“ Like "A Clockwork Orange", this motion picture was a premonition of the future, but unlike "Orange" the ideas of this film have come to pass. The story is centered around a network, mainly the news department, and a decline in ratings. A change is made in management and a young Faye Dunaway is brought in to improve the network. The old anchor of the news, played by Peter Finch, is asked to leave. He can't take this and explains on air, that he's going to kill himself. This soon becomes a big ratings draw and Dunaway decides to continue with Finch as he begins to rant and rave with his own opinions, including the classic line, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore." Wiliam Holden plays the older News Director who begins to have an affair with Dunaway even though he doesn't like her handling of the network and turning the news into an entertainment event. The ending may have been a little farfetched in the 70's, but seems like everyday fair in today's world of television hype, when an assasination is staged by the network to bring in more ratings. The film had more acting nominations than any other at the time, with an Oscar going to Finch, though he had died a few months before the ceremony. Appears on AFI's Best Movies of all time list at 66. ” - sooutofoptions
 
16.
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
“ It was the first motion picture to win the top 5 Oscars (Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, & Screenplay) since "It Happened One Night" in 1934. It took quite some time for this story to make it to the screen. After starring in the play for a short time, Kirk Douglas had bought the rights for this story and asked an unknown, Milos Forman, to direct. Unfortunately, legal problems stopped production for 13 years and Kirk Douglas finally decided to forget about producing and passed the project on to his son, Michael Douglas. Michael got the ball rolling again, and unknown to him, asked the same Milos Forman, now quite successful, to direct. After putting together a wonderful cast of actors the film was finally in production. ” - sooutofoptions
 
17.
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.)
 
18.
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
“ An absolutely wonderful comedy from Mel Brooks. During this same year Brooks also brought us "Blazing Saddles", a satire on the western, but where that film's humor was crude, this was intelligent. Brooks choose to satire the old Universal Horror films, specifically "Frankenstein" and "The Bride of Frankenstein". Brooks shot the film in black and white, and used many of the same sets, especially the laboratory, found at the Universal lot. ” - sooutofoptions
 
19.
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.)
 
20.
The Paper Chase (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A first-year law student at Harvard Law School struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of his sternest professor. (113 mins.)
Director: James Bridges
 
21.
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