On this site, we friggin’ love the 90s. Indeed, despite neither me nor Reuben being alive in the decade, we’ve both done top ten songs of the 90s and, check this, referenced nostalgia in both! As if we’re 90s kids! What a couple of bellends…
Still, with such an infatuation with the decade, it’s easy to forget about some other periods in time, one of which we are looking at today.
The 70s were, much like the 60s before them, were a transitional time for pop culture overall, but movies in particular. As colour film secured its grip and filmmakers began to creating more bombastic spectacles, including the first ever blockbuster, audiences the world over were introduced to characters that went on to define cinema to this day.
So, to celebrate the cultural innovation (and brush away the casual sexism and racism) of the era, let’s take a look at the top ten movies of the 1970s! (Surely, I don’t need to establish criteria here?!)
10. Mad Max (1979)
The original post-apocalypse flick, George Miller’s then little-known indie picture has since spawned two sequels and a reboot, and is set to become one of the biggest franchises in cinema once again. Showing the world delving in the madness through the eyes of a patrol officer, Mad Max is high-octane action personified, with the titular character’s V8 engine roaring through each frame (yeah, I know cars, and?) and sawed-off shotgun proving itself flippin’ lethal, like you’d expect from A SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN. Releasing just before the dawn of the 80s, Mad Max served as precursor to the explosive blockbusters we could expect.
9. The Exorcist (1973)
The 70s were also a time steeped in cinematic controversy, with both this and A Clockwork Orange being released within 3 years of each other. Indeed, while it may seem slightly tame by today’s standards, the religious context and horrific imagery of The Exorcist were shocking at the time, warranting multiple cuts and edits before an R-rated release. Regardless of the hullabaloo surrounding this film, it remains a truly chilling feature even today, with an excellent use of sound and lighting to create an eerie atmosphere, as well as some classic horror moments.
My review: DINGUS
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Oh and we also had this! Also no stranger to controversy, director Tobe Hooper was actually hoping for a PG rating due to his apparant limiting of on-screen gore; I would have loved to have been at that censor meeting. Needless to say, it was slapped with an R. Also regarded as one of the true greats in horror, Texas Chainsaw is also credited with originating many elements of the slasher genre, meaning that some of horror’s most famous
faces masks have a lot to owe to Leatherface. Personally, I love the grainy, low-budget aesthetic of the film and the tense cat-and-mouse story. And it’s friggin’ brutal.
7. Blazing Saddles (1974)
Moreover, as you can probably tell, we have another film here that is no stranger to a bit of a hubbub. Easily Mel Brooks’ finest work, this pastiche of old western films, offering up some interesting satire of race relations, has a wonderfully silly plot with a bounty of ludicrous gags spread throughout. The performances throughout are of a quality very rarely seen in modern comedies, with the late Gene Wilder rattling off another classic turn, and there is an overall attention-to-detail about the thing, with an abundance of glorious sight gags.
6. Rocky (1976)
Gaaad, remember a time before Sly was tanned almost as much as a certain babbling puddle of terrifying possibilities and was shooting indistinctly Asian soldiers in the face? I sure don’t, but, halfway into the decade, as the man later known as Rambo was making his money starring in softcore porn (*shudder*), he also penned what would become the defining movie in a genre of underdog sports flicks. Though the story and themes of Rocky are now seen as cliche, at the time, it was simply a feel-good tale of overcoming adversity, and hasn’t aged at all in that respect, as well as giving us a plethora of moments that would go on to define cinema.
5. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Perhaps one of Al Pacino’s most underrated films as an actor, his performance here as Sonny Wortzik, based on a real life Vietnam vet who’s bank robbery spiralled into an eight hour hostage situation, is utterly mesmerizing. Also notable is the extremely tense tone the film takes, keeping the audience on edge for the duration of the runtime. It may not be particularly important from a cultural aspect, but, in my opinion, it remains one of the best thrillers of all time.
My review: DONGLE
4. The Godfather (1972)
Of course this was gonna make an appearance, it’s the greatest movie of all time according to literally everyone. While I wouldn’t stretch that far, it’s no argument that Francis Ford Coppola’s gripping crime epic is a masterpiece of technical filmmaking. The direction, as said, is next to flawless, with the camerawork and lighting creating works of art from each frame, establishing an atmosphere fitting of a brooding criminal empire. Moreover, the cast, including legends like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan is truly an ensemble for the ages, with each actor bringing something equally special to the mix. While I could never call it my favourite film simply due to the effort you have to take to watch the bastard, I can safely say that it is an incredible spectacle of cinema.
IT’S THE TOP THREE. You know? I’ve really missed these…
3. Star Wars (1977)
There was no doubt that this genre-definer was making an appearance here, even if it does surprise me that it isn’t number one. What can I say about Star Wars that hasn’t been said a million times over? Though he may be more infamous now due to the prequel trilogy, George Lucas has successfully solidified himself in history thanks to this stroke of genius that spawned not only a franchise, but an entire phenomena that still rolls strong to this day, 40 years later. Personally, this is my favourite Star Wars film, over the more commonly picked Empire Strikes Back, thanks to the more stripped back plot and brilliant sequences.
2. Alien (1979)
If Star Wars is Superman, then Alien is Doomsday, a visceral counterpart birthed from the same genre. Famously designed by the legendary H.R. Giger, Alien took the sci-fi formula and warped it into an isolated, ominous entity, and remains one of my favourite examples of design in film, with the artistic direction bordering on visionary. Though the use of animatronics in the titular creature is very clear today, it doesn’t take away from the fear the Xenomorph ellicits to this day, almost adding to it even in it’s machine-like movements. The horror of this film also comes in the stellar direction, courtesy of Ridley Scott, who manages to create a hideously intense atmosphere, maybe one of the most intense in film history. Needless to say, Alien is also my personal favourite horror movie of all time for these reasons.
IT BE THE HONOURABLE MENTIONS! WHERE YOU’LL FIND ALL YOUR FAVOURITE 70S FILMS THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD HIT NO. 1, JUST TO PISS YOU OFF! 😀
Life Of Brian (1979)
The Warriors (1979)
Enter The Dragon (1973) (REVIEW)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
And Now For Something Completely Different (1971)
So we’ve had some sci-fi, some comedy, some horror, some transsexual adventures and glam rock seductions. Wait, we don’t have that last one? Well, let’s amend that, eh?
1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Weeeeeeellll, how ’bout that?! Even after proclaiming that my no. 2 spot is my favourite of an entire flippin’ genre, it is still miles away from being as good as Rocky Horror. Ranking at no. 3 on my favourite movies of all time, there is a certain addictive nature to this film, something buried deep within it’s sub-culture, that just draws you in. In my eyes, it’s the first, and by far the most befitting of the title, cult movie, with midnight screenings still being attended by dressed-up fans to this day. It helped pioneer techniques like spoofing, as well as fourth-wall breaking and other classic comedy tools. It’s also one of the only movies I have ever seen or heard of that I can describe as truly unique, I mean, how many other films have you seen that feature an intergalactic transvestite? In a time when such subjects were taboo, Rocky Horror wore its sexuality on its sleeve, making it very culturally important. I can’t describe how this film has introduced me into a culture that I now try to fully immerse myself in, and keep very close as a part of my personality, so that makes it, quite easily in my eyes, the best of film of the 1970s.
I’m sure my picks are completely wrong, so if you wanna correct me or just abuse me like the whore I am, leave a lovely lil’ comment.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations