This list is taken from Digital Dream Door’s list of 100 best movies from the 1970s. These are only the first 25. I really didn’t do so well this time.

Here are my other top 25 lists:

Silent :: 1930s :: 1940s :: 1950s :: 1960s :: 1970s :: 1980s :: 1990s :: 2000s

Underlined means I’ve seen it. Blue text means I haven’t. A ♣ means I want to see it.

  1. The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
  2. The Godfather part II (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
  3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, Milos Forman)
  4. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)
  5. Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
  6. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick)
  7. Star Wars (1977, George Lucas)
  8. Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
  9. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
  10. The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino)
  11. Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)
  12. Network (1976, Sydney Lumet)
  13. Rocky (1976, John G. Avildsen)
  14. Patton (1970, Franklin J. Schaffner)
  15. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Steven Spielberg)
  16. M*A*S*H (1970, Robert Altman)
  17. The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin)
  18. American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)
  19. The French Connection (1971, William Friedkin)
  20. Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorsese)
  21. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)
  22. Blazing Saddles (1974, Mel Brooks) (Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little)
  23. Last Tango in Paris (1972, Bernardo Bertolucci)
  24. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones)
  25. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, Jim Sharmon)
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4 thoughts on “1970s movies – top 25

  1. I think I beat you by three, but when I look through that list I realise that with modern media and the increasing number of films and classic art titles, the members of this list I haven’t seen, I probably never will. TV only showing films of the past two decades which appeal more to lower generations, and there being such a plethora of dvds that I’d never buy them. Somehow seems a shame to lose them. Or inversely, maybe it makes them special to the generations who had the opportunity to enjoy them?

    What are you favourite all time films then? Or if that seems too cliché and vague, the films that move you the most?

  2. Ah, you asked me to make a list. I’m always delighted to make a list. But I’ll post it instead.

    That’s interesting point about having too many movies to watch. At least we’ll never run out.

    Since I’ve been watching all these mystery movies and last year a bunch of horror movies, I’ve come to an odd conclusion. These older movies must have resonated with people of a certain time but they don’t work today.

    For example, the original Manchurian Candidate was before my time but I think it’s still powerful. On the other hand, I accidentally alienated a friend of mine when I disparaged Friday the 13th. She apparently loved it as a teenager. I saw it as an adult and it’s dull. (I apologize if I’ve besmirched a childhood memory. Once again.)

    It would be interesting to see what the younger generations think of our favorites. I showed my sister Pulp Fiction which I supposed she’d think was too cliche. She astonished me by loving it.

  3. I look forward to the post then.

    I always have so many to watch it feels daunting, even if no more movies were ever made from today I still don’t think I’d ever run out.

    I think you’re right about movies resonating with people who experience a certain time-frame of our history. I think the influences upon a director, and perhaps the meaning that they were trying to emphasise is expressed as someone of similar mind might understand. So a movie made in the 60’s, even with deep metaphorical importance, might feel as if it relays it’s message clumsily, or in a distorted fashion, to us who have a completely different sphere of understanding.

    I haven’t seen the Manchurian Candidate, although I wasn’t so keen on Friday the 13th having seen it quite recently, as you did.

    I think Pulp Fiction is at the beginning of our era, so the thoughts it has are still relatable by younger watchers, although mostly, the characters are just so cliché, and the style so blunt at times that it almost transcends the limited timeframe in which it was released. Tarentino films have a quality for that, as do Takeshi films.

  4. That’s an interesting thought of metaphors being specific to certain eras. It would explain some of the renowned movies that are seem so pallid now. Of course, film is a much younger medium than novels or stage plays. I suppose it’s still hard at this point to recognize the movies with more universal themes.

    I’ve only seen Takeshi’s Johnny Mnemonic, so I can’t comment. I like Tarentino’s Jackie Brown the best because I remember thinking he let the movie breathe a little. I should watch it again and see if I have the same reaction.

    I don’t think think my list of movies was what you were imagining. However, they do move me. Some of them broke my heart the first time I saw them.

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