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Great 70s films
June 3, 2011 8:35 PM   Subscribe

What great 70s films should I be adding to my movie queue?

Looking for movies that had something to say, a viewpoint, beyond just entertainment value.

Yes:

Dog Day Afternoon
Badlands
Apocalypse Now
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Network
All The President's Men
Harold and Maude

No:

Star Wars
Rocky
Jaws

Please stick to movies released between 1970 and 1979. I may cover other decades in future questions, but for now I'm just asking about the 70s. Thanks!
posted by marsha56 to Media & Arts (61 answers total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
 
THX1138
posted by latexalibi at 8:37 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Godfather I/II
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Annie Hall
Chinatown
A Clockwork Orange
Deliverance
...Among many, many others.

The 70s were a great decade for film.
posted by phunniemee at 8:38 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes: 3 Days of the Condor, Colossus: the Forbin Project, Sorcerer

No: The Omega Man
posted by circular at 8:39 PM on June 3, 2011


And Fantastic Planet
posted by latexalibi at 8:39 PM on June 3, 2011


I have a lot more, but I'll go with Cruising, Al Pacino.

Technically, released in 1980, but it's a 70's story.
posted by jbenben at 8:39 PM on June 3, 2011


You'd probably like The Conversation as well.
posted by circular at 8:41 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Days of Heaven.
posted by indognito at 8:46 PM on June 3, 2011


Dolemite. To a lesser, but equally awesome extent, Disco Godfather. While the entertainment level of these movies is off the charts (largely due to their low production value), Rudy Ray Moore is credited as "The Godfather of Rap", so instead of "something to say", these movies maybe helped get a genre of music off the ground.
posted by King Bee at 8:47 PM on June 3, 2011


Looking for Mr. Goodbar
posted by trip and a half at 8:49 PM on June 3, 2011


The Towering Inferno, kind of.
Saturday Night Fever, kind of.
Taxi Driver
posted by Melismata at 8:51 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


3 Women

Do you want American films only?
posted by trip and a half at 8:52 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do you want American films only?

No, foreign films are great too, so long as they are available here.
posted by marsha56 at 8:55 PM on June 3, 2011


Walkabout
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Day for Night
Small Change
posted by rtha at 9:02 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Last Detail. A gem hidden in Jack Nicholson's body of work, great commentary on military life/politcs.
posted by King Bee at 9:04 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eraserhead
posted by brevator at 9:04 PM on June 3, 2011


Hm, I guess Alien fits here, too. Pretty remarkable film.
posted by circular at 9:07 PM on June 3, 2011


Taxi Driver
posted by brevator at 9:08 PM on June 3, 2011


- Being There
- Aguierre: Wrath of God
- The Conformist
- Serpico
- McCabe and Mrs Miller
- Two-Lane Blacktop
- French Connection
- Strawdogs
- Marathon Man
- Bad Lands
- Mean Streets
- The Exorcist
- The Long Goodbye (totally underrated)
- The Parallax View
- Nashville
- Grey Gardens
- The Man Who Fell to Earth
- The Tenant (the Polanski)
- Annie Hall
- Rosemary's Baby
- Patton
- Deer Hunter
- Manhattan (Woody Allen)
- The Laughing Policeman (so dark)
- Midnight Express
posted by Gucky at 9:12 PM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


That Alien came out in 1979 kind of freaks me out. I would have put it much later. I feel old. Anyway, nthing Alien.
posted by rtha at 9:14 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, we did a '70s movie marathon a while back. If you haven't seen it in a while, Rocky is far, far better than any of the sequels and actually captures that perfect '70s depressing in a way that took me by surprise.
posted by Gucky at 9:15 PM on June 3, 2011


Check this out, especially near the bottom of the page.
posted by kimota at 9:15 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I must second The Long Goodbye. Fantastic film.
posted by King Bee at 9:16 PM on June 3, 2011


Cet obscur objet du désir
Le souffle au coeur
Swept Away
The Night Porter
Dodesukaden

Just a few off the top of my head.
posted by trip and a half at 9:20 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bob Fosse was terribly underrated as a film director. Lenny, Cabaret, and All That Jazz are all worth watching.
posted by cazoo at 9:25 PM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


On a lighter note, off the top of my head:

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Animal House
Blazing Saddles
Young Frankenstein
The Sting
The Jerk
Sleeper
posted by Room 641-A at 9:32 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding Nashville.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:42 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Duel
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:46 PM on June 3, 2011


The Candidate
posted by John Cohen at 9:47 PM on June 3, 2011


Posse is a western from 1975. Absolutely a western from 1975.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:49 PM on June 3, 2011


Sybil.

Cleopatra Jones.

Barry Lyndon.

The Wicker Man.

All the Altman films you can find, even the bad ones.

Also, Saturday Night Fever may not be the film you assume it is. Check that out.
posted by hermitosis at 10:29 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


O Lucky Man! (1973)
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 10:59 PM on June 3, 2011


The Hot Rock
Heaven Can Wait
Blume in Love
A Touch of Class
The Candidate
The Way We Were
The Sting
Three Days of the Condor
Slaughterhouse-Five
Norma Rae
Diary of a Mad Housewife
Young Frankenstein
I Never Sang for My Father
The French Connection
Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York
Jaws
Marathon Man
Manhattan
All That Jazz
Sometimes a Great Notion
The China Syndrome
The Front Page
Plaza Suite
Pete 'n' Tillie
Apocalypse Now
Serpico
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
Play It Again, Sam
Interiors
Nashville
Coming Home
The Last Picture Show
Cabaret
American Graffiti
Harry and Tonto
Three Days of the Condor
Nashville
All the President's Men
Network
Annie Hall
Julia
The Turning Point
All That Jazz
Being There
Kramer vs. Kramer

The Hot Rock
Heaven Can Wait
Blume in Love
A Touch of Class
The Candidate
The Way We Were
The Sting
Three Days of the Condor
Slaughterhouse-Five
Norma Rae
Diary of a Mad Housewife
Young Frankenstein
I Never Sang for My Father
The French Connection
Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York
Jaws
Marathon Man
Manhattan
All That Jazz
Sometimes a Great Notion
The China Syndrome
The Front Page
Plaza Suite
Pete 'n' Tillie
Apocalypse Now
Serpico
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
Play It Again, Sam
Interiors
Nashville
Coming Home
The Last Picture Show
Cabaret
American Graffiti
Harry and Tonto
Three Days of the Condor
Nashville
All the President's Men
Network
Annie Hall
Julia
The Turning Point
All That Jazz
Being There
Kramer vs. Kramer
Death on the Nile
Logan's Run
posted by Ellemeno at 11:30 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoops, I posted my list twice in the same post. Luckily there is a space between the first and the repeat. Sorry.
posted by Ellemeno at 11:31 PM on June 3, 2011


Seconding and emphasizing, The Last Picture Show. It blew my mind.
posted by Duffington at 12:35 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Holy Mountain is one of the most visually rich movies I have ever seen. Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky who was to direct that acid trip Dune mentioned on the blue recently.

For campy, swinging Britain fun Pussycat Pussycat I love You is a lot of fun and what Austin Powers seems to be based on (but don't let that deter you).
posted by munchingzombie at 12:54 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Killer of Sheep (1977, Charles Burnett)
Trafic (1971, Jacques Tati)
Rabid (1977, David Cronenberg)
The Sprit of the Beehive (1973, Victor Erice)
The Hired Hand (1971, Peter Fonda), if only for the score.

Experimental stuff:
One Way Boogie Woogie (1977, James Benning)
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1971-2) and Lost, Lost, Lost by Jonas Mekas
Stan Brakhage's 1970s output
Hollis Frampton's 1970s output

Two transcendent pornos. (Seriously. The 1970s were very important for "adult movies" and these are among the best):
Behind the Green Door (1972, Jim & Artie Mitchell)
Thundercrack! (1975, Curt McDowell)
posted by bubukaba at 1:01 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did someone say "Grease"? If not...there's a very good reason for it.

Robert De Niro
Al Pacino

good stuff from both of them in the 70's.

Why didn't anyone mention Shaft?

Also Superfly.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:11 AM on June 4, 2011


To be annoying, most film scholars consider "the seventies", at least when it comes to American films, to be 1967 - 1978. You'd be wiser to examine the films of 67 - 69 among the later period films rather than with the earlier films. They'll certainly make more sense in that context.

If you do that, you should check out

The Graduate
Easy Rider
Hombre
Bonnie and Clyde
The Dirty Dozen
Cool Hand Luke
In the Heat of the Night
Point Blank
In Cold Blood
Who's That Knockin' at My Door
Faces
The Swimmer
The Wild Bunch
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Midnight Cowboy
The Odd Couple
Head
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Bob & Alice & Ted & Carol
Putney Swope
Downhill Racer
David Holzman's Diary
The Shooting
2001
Rosemary's Baby
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Night of the Living Dead
Bullitt

Yeah, all those classics came out in that 3 year period.

A great book to read about what happened in the late 60s in American cinema is Pictures at a Revolution.

And a couple 70s films that haven't been mentioned yet:

Carnal Knowledge
Five Easy Pieces
MASH
Dirty Harry
Death In Venice
Get Carter
French Connection II
Vanishing Point
Johnny Got His Gun
The Go-Between
Pat Garret and Billy the Kid
Harder They Come
Ruling Class
The Beguiled
Paper Moon
The Hospital
Scenes from a Marriage
The Boys in the Band
The Conformist
Friends of Eddie Coyle
Electra Glide in Blue (makes great double bill with Easy Rider)
Fat City
Don't Look Now
Day of the Jackal
King of Marvin Gardens
Le Cercle Rouge
Day for Night
Last Tango in Paris
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Cries and Whispers
Across 110th Street
Tomorrow
Prime Cut (makes great double bill with The Outfit)
Performance
Punishment Park
Claire's Knee
The Outfit
Two-Lane Blacktop
Scarecrow
The Panic In Needle Park
Puzzle of a Downfall Child

Those last three are all Jerry Schatzberg, who's pretty underrated, imo.
posted by dobbs at 1:28 AM on June 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Raging Bull, 1980 but damn, don't miss Raging Bull.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:40 AM on June 4, 2011


Seconding "Sorcerer." Netflix's DVD print is a disgraceful pan-and-scan, but I wouldn't miss this one. Before queuing it up, watch the 1950s original, "The Wages of Fear," via HD streaming. It's much slower and methodical than the remake, but it's a good introduction to the story.
posted by Gordion Knott at 2:08 AM on June 4, 2011


Seconding The Friends of Eddie Coyle. A hidden gem!
posted by Ironmouth at 4:01 AM on June 4, 2011


Network
Aguirre the Wrath of God
posted by brevator at 5:19 AM on June 4, 2011


nthing the Friends of Eddie Coyle. Really became the prototype for the genre.

So how come nobody is recommending anything by John Waters? These movies certainly say something...not sure what, but something.
1972 Pink Flamingos
1974 Female Trouble
1977 Desperate Living
posted by Gungho at 5:29 AM on June 4, 2011


The Heartbreak Kid
posted by John Cohen at 5:56 AM on June 4, 2011


johnny got his gun
Klute
posted by maggieb at 6:02 AM on June 4, 2011


Lotsa great movies here.

A guilty pleasure of mine from 1972: Jeremiah Johnson. Robert Redford and Will Geer. Isn't that enough?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:58 AM on June 4, 2011


Pacino was pretty damn great in And Justice For All, too.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:05 AM on June 4, 2011


Previous posters have picked off most of what I would have said but here are a few more:

Night Moves is a great forgotten Arthur Penn/Gene Hackmen movie that that nothing to do with the Bob Seger song.

Play Misty for Me is a cool little stalker thriller and Clint Eastwood's first movie as a director.

Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers. is a brilliantly creepy movie with an amazing cast.

Last American Hero is an odd little auto racing movie based on a Tom Wolfe article staring Jeff Bridges.

Don't forget about Hitchcock's last two movies Frenzy and Family Plot which are both worth watching.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 AM on June 4, 2011


Let me "third" Cabaret.
posted by BostonTerrier at 8:00 AM on June 4, 2011


Glad to see the mention of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie -- if you're feeling French I'd also suggest Going Places and Truffaut's Day For Night.
posted by Rash at 8:11 AM on June 4, 2011


lotsa Altman--McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, Three Women (personal favorite)
Pretty Baby, perhaps
Parallax View for sure (in some ways like a better Network)
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Don't Look Now
Five Easy Pieces
tons of Cassavetes--Husbands, A Woman Under the Influence (!), Opening Night, arguably even The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
In the Realm of the Senses
Rohmer's masterpiece Love in the Afternoon, also Claire's Knee
Chantal Akerman's stuff, the little Criterion has released is mostly from the '70s
the film adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five
Bertolucci's notorious stuff, 1900 and Last Tango in Paris
That Obscure Object of Desire, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Tarkovsky--Solaris, The Mirror
Fassbinder! The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Ali: Fear Eat Soul
sorta goes without saying: Kubrick, Scorscese (sp), Polanski
posted by ifjuly at 8:14 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rollerball
Mad Max
Westworld
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:53 AM on June 4, 2011


Couple of Russian films for you:

Moscow Doesn't Believe In Tears
Stalker
Solaris

First one (Moscow doesn't believe in tears) came out in 1980, so I'm cheating a little--but am including it because it is so awesome.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 8:55 AM on June 4, 2011


The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes
Zorns Lemma
Walkabout (and The Man Who Fell to Earth)
Day for Night
Being There
posted by 2ghouls at 10:56 AM on June 4, 2011


First of all, Over the Edge.

As for your good list...

Dog Day Afternoon
Badlands
Apocalypse Now
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Network
All The President's Men
Harold and Maude


...the directors of those films are Sidney Lumet, Terrence Malick, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Alan J. Pakula, and Hal Ashby.

None of those men could do any wrong in the 1970s. Every one of their films from that decade would be right up your alley.

Additionally, Woody Allen's late '70s stuff (Annie Hall, Interiors, Manhattan), Peter Bogdanovich's black-and-white ones (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon), Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs Miller, Thieves Like Us, Nashville, and 3 Women (while all thirteen of his films from that decade are at least quite good, those are the excellent ones IMO). And of course, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon.

Also, Novecento, which is the only film I have ever seen that could truly only ever have been made in the seventies. You'll never look at any of its stars quite the same way ever again.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't list these before because they aren't quite '70s, but since other people are going there:
Heaven's Gate (1980, Michael Cimino)
Medium Cool (1969, Haskell Wexler)

And a couple more '70s ones:
Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974, Jacques Rivette)
La Région Centrale (1971, Michael Snow)
L.A. Plays Itself (1972, Fred Halsted)
Avanti! (1972, Billy Wilder)*
Cuadecuc, vampir (1970, Pere Portabella)
The Hart of London (1970, Jack Chambers)
The Devil, Probably (1972, Robert Bresson)
Oh damn, and speaking of Sidney Lumet - The Wiz (1974)!

Oh, and one of my pet favorites: 1972 evangelical Christian exploitation film A Thief in the Night.

Also, seconding all mentions of:
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Days of Heaven (1978, Terrence Malick
Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
Barry Lyndon (1975, Stanley Kubrick)
American Graffiti (just saw it last night!)
The Swimmer (1968, Frank Perry)
and all the Tarkovsky and some of the John Waters.

*The late '60s - early '80s are a really interesting time for American cinema because - among many, many other things - a lot of the super-famous Hollywood masters of the 1930s-'50s continued making films then, often not nearly as well remembered as their 'classics' but extremely interesting anyway. I haven't seen as many as I'd like of these, but two that I've liked are Sam Fuller's White Dog and Otto Preminger's Skidoo. Point being, digging around in the filmographies of some of your favorite 'earlier' directors might unearth some unexpectedly intriuging material!

posted by bubukaba at 1:55 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bound For Glory
Little Big Man
The Boys From Brazil
A Boy and His Dog
posted by maggieb at 4:31 PM on June 4, 2011


A Touch of Zen. It is a wuxia film, but it is more about people and Buddhism than it is about action, and it doesn't resolve like a wuxia film.
posted by ignignokt at 5:45 PM on June 4, 2011


I can't recommend highly enough super low budget British film Pressure. It paints a very rich and intelligent picture of the tensions and struggles leading up to the Brixton riots - some of the acting is a bit iffy (partly because some of the actors were sourced from the community - sometimes child extras just stare dead into the camera) but it deals with the complexity of issues around race and immigration in a really smart way and shows a side of the UK that generally doesn't make it into cinemas.

I see a few people have posted Zorn's Lemma so if experimental and artists' film is your deal then a good starting point would be the short The Girl Chewing Gum or anything else by John Smith. I'd also recommend artists such as: Guy Sherwin, Malcolm Le Grice, Jeff Keen, William Raban and Chris Welsby... but I might be straying from the point a bit.
posted by pmcp at 8:00 AM on June 5, 2011


I went on a minor "Walter Matthau in the '70s" tear a couple of years ago and didn't hit a single clinker...though obviously your mileage will vary, and it probably helped that I stopped after The Bad News Bears. The Laughing Policeman, Charley Varrick, Kotch, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3...all good stuff, and there are several others recommended above.

(It's kind of fun to dip your toes back into an era of filmmaking where Bruce Dern was considered the eye candy.)
posted by Lazlo at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2011


Afterthought: if I had to pick just one movie to second from the ones already recommended above it'd be Two-Lane Blacktop. I don't really know how to describe it except that it's absolutely not what I expected from a movie starring a couple of pop musicians as a wandering race-driving team.
posted by Lazlo at 3:22 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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