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Post-code classics: Best films of the 1970s


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My list:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-01-12%2Bat%2B12.00.

1. SOLDIER BLUE (1970) (revisionist western)
2. THE GETAWAY (1972) (action thriller)
3. NORMA RAE (1979) (social message drama)
4. THE BEGUILED (1971) (southern gothic)
5. CHINATOWN (1974) (neo-noir mystery)
6. HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973) (revisionist western)
7. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) (slasher film)
8. INTERIORS (1978) (family drama)
9. WATERSHIP DOWN (1978) (British animated adventure drama)
10. ROLLERBALL (1975) (science fiction sports film)

Notable Directors: Francis Ford Coppola; Stanley Kubrick; Hal Ashby; Martin Scorsese; Louis Malle; Steven Spielberg; Woody Allen; and Alfred Hitchcock.

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Here are some favorites of mine that could not have been made 10 or even 5 years before 1970:

The Boys In The Band (1970)- funny and emotionally draining look at the lives of a group of gay men. It has some of the wittiest and venomous dialogue yet heard on film.

Dirty Harry (1971) tough, violent thriller with strong language, some brief nudity and an unrepentantly violent anti hero cop.

Deliverance (1972) some brutal violence,( including a male rape) with some agonizing suspense and a tough look at how far one would go to survive.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) a documentary style horror film that is unrelenting in it's suspense and violence.

Taxi Driver (1976) a disturbing look at urban decay, child prostitution and a main character who is a racist anti social vigilante who may be an aspiring political assassin.

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14 minutes ago, alleybj said:

It seems odd that none of your best directors directed any of your best films

Actually Woody Allen is represented with INTERIORS. Did you miss that one?

I made my Top Ten for the decade based on my ten lists for the individual years 1970 - 1979. So films like BARRY LYNDON (Kubrick), FRENZY and FAMILY PLOT (Hitchcock), TAXI DRIVER and ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (Scorsese), COMING HOME (Ashby) and JAWS (Spielberg) do rate with me, and they are among my top ten for their respective years but they did not make it into my overall top ten for the 70s.

TAXI DRIVER is number 1 for me when I look at films from 1976, but it is 11 for me overall. That's because I rate two films from 1978 higher which pushed TAXI DRIVER down a notch. I also have included two films from 1974, which means my number 1 film from 1977 (AUDREY ROSE) is pushed down a few notches, to number 12 overall. Make sense?

THE GODFATHER is definitely not on any of my lists as I think it presents Italian-Americans in a very stereotypical way. 

Also someone can be a notable director but not have directed what I consider a best film.

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14 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Here are some favorites of mine that could not have been made 10 or even 5 years before 1970:

The Boys In The Band (1970)- funny and emotionally draining look at the lives of a group of gay men. It has some of the wittiest and venomous dialogue yet heard on film.

Dirty Harry (1971) tough, violent thriller with strong language, some brief nudity and an unrepentantly violent anti hero cop.

Deliverance (1972) some brutal violence,( including a male rape) with some agonizing suspense and a tough look at how far one would go to survive.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) a documentary style horror film that is unrelenting in it's suspense and violence.

Taxi Driver (1976) a disturbing look at urban decay, child prostitution and a main character who is a racist anti social vigilante who may be an aspiring political assassin.

Great choice. And I like your explanations very much.

I do like THE BOYS IN THE BAND but feel it is too stagey in spots and needed to be opened up a bit more. Plus I think it hurts the film that none of the men kiss on screen, which defeats the purpose of showing liberated gay men...or at least depicting closeted gay/bisexual men engaging in same sex romantic behavior. Imagine if we had a film about straight men talking about women for two hours and there was not one scene of any of them kissing a female, it would just seem incomplete.

DIRTY HARRY is great and it spawned a slew of sequels (and imitations) as you know. The 70s was a successful decade for Clint Eastwood.

I still haven't seen THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. I'm all cut up when I think about it.

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 We're (DEFINITELY) confusing "Most Influential" with "Best", and the former might make for a (much) more accurate header:

Watership Down, or any "serious" animation like the Ralph Bakshi "Lord of the Rings" was amazing in 1978 when Disney was making "The Rescuers", but now that we have Pixar, it...hasn't aged well.  And "The Plague Dogs" is now relegated to culty YouTube lists of "Sick movies that traumatized my childhood!"

Black Christmas is cult-fanboy "influential" for predating Halloween, but by slasher-movie standards, it's a mess.  Either you like Margot Kidder's character, or you're reminded of how misogynistic Bob Clark was when he made the Porky's movies.

Rollerball...okay.  I'll  give you that one.  😁  Although it wasn't particularly "influential", but is a darn good time-capsule of the days when 70's American culture was united by ABC Monday Night Football, and every political TV Guide column talked about "violence" and "Big-corporation involvement in sports".

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40 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Plus I think it hurts the film that none of the men kiss on screen

According to interviews on the DVD extras, the director William Friedkin wanted to have a kissing scene between Hank (Laurence Luckinbill) and Larry (Keith Prentice), the two actors refused at first. But Friedkin convinced them to film it and then they would all take at look at it and decide.  When they all viewed it, they agreed it was not needed and the scene was cut.

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On 3/6/2021 at 1:24 PM, Det Jim McLeod said:

According to interviews on the DVD extras, the director William Friedkin wanted to have a kissing scene between Hank (Laurence Luckinbill) and Larry (Keith Prentice), the two actors refused at first. But Friedkin convinced them to film it and then they would all take at look at it and decide.  When they all viewed it, they agreed it was not needed and the scene was cut.

But I think Friedkin later said he regretted that decision and the kiss should have stayed in the finished film.

It just seems to me they were scared. 

***

There's a 1979 British film called SCUM that ran into a similar problem. Two years earlier the story (which is about juvenile offenders) had been filmed for the BBC's acclaimed anthology series Play for Today. There is a scene in the TV production that depicts one of the butch boys turning one of the femme boys into his little wifey.

The scene is very explicit and shows their initiation as a couple which culminates in a kiss where it is implied they're going to have sex while another boy is standing out in the hallway to make sure none of the adult guards in the detention center comes by and finds out what is occurring.

The episode was pulled right before broadcast because the BBC is funded by tax revenues and the network feared a backlash. It had already been filmed but it was kept in a vault for years. Play for Today ended its run in 1984 and that 1977 episode remained under lock and key until the early 90s when the director died and the episode was finally aired as a tribute to his work.

Because the television production was shelved and remained unaired, the producers decided to re-film the story as a feature for theatrical distribution. They employed almost the same group of actors except for one or two slight recasts with the supporting characters. They figured they could keep the sex initiation scene as well as enhance some of the grittier and more violent aspects of the main storylines. 

But when it came time to re-film the sex initiation scene the kid who played the butch boy objected and said that filming it for the TV anthology series had made him uncomfortable. (If I recall, I think he had also been married during the two year period between the television production and the feature film, and his wife didn't want him to kiss another bloke in a movie that was going to be released into theaters.) So the scene was altered and was filmed leading up to the kiss, without the kiss occurring this time, but it being implied off-camera.

The writer of the play, which had been adapted for the TV series and who had re-adapted the piece for a feature film was furious when he found out that this pivotal kissing scene was not filmed and basically left out. He felt that this was a major turning point for the boys while they were stuck at the juvenile detention facility and without it the story lost most of its gravitas.

I have watched both versions, the Play for Today episode where the boys kiss as well as the feature film where they do not kiss. And I have to agree that while the feature film has more hard-hitting violence and bleakness in it, the loss of the kiss does hurt the storyline. One of the main points of the story is that these boys develop a system of power and control within the detention facility. And part of the coercive control is based on sexual exploitation of each other as well as physical abuse and mental cruelty/bullying. The story needs all those elements to illustrate the reality of what boys on the inside experience because the system is so corrupt.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

10. ROLLERBALL (1975) (science fiction sports film)

Rollerball (1975)? I'm going to be honest, TB, that's the one movie on your list that makes me scratch my head. Now, granted, I've only seen that movie once and more decades than I care to contemplate have passed since then. But I don't recall anything especially noteworthy about it. Why does that one rate so highly for you?

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8 minutes ago, LiamCasey said:

Rollerball (1975)? I'm going to be honest, TB, that's the one movie on your list that makes me scratch my head. Now, granted, I've only seen that movie once and more decades than I care to contemplate have passed since then. But I don't recall anything especially noteworthy about it. Why does that one rate so highly for you?

Thank you for asking!

It really stays with you. ROLLERBALL is a very serious, contemplative thesis on where society was headed. Or rather, where the filmmakers thought society might be headed. Interestingly, it's set in 2018, which is when I first watched it. The sequence where Pamela Hensley's character shoots down a bunch of trees is justifiably famous. It doesn't even include James Caan or costar John Houseman at all. Their scenes take place indoors and are intercut with what Hensley and her group are doing outside. Maud Adams, as Caan's on-again/off-again wife, makes the most of what is basically an extended cameo. This story has a lot of good ideas. The scenes where the game takes place, an intriguing mixture of athleticism and brutality, give the story much-needed action. But it's really not an action flick. It's a think piece.

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 8.26.33 AM.jpg

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

My list:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-01-12%2Bat%2B12.00.

1. SOLDIER BLUE (1970) (revisionist western)
2. THE GETAWAY (1972) (action thriller)
3. NORMA RAE (1979) (social message drama)
4. THE BEGUILED (1971) (southern gothic)
5. CHINATOWN (1974) (neo-noir mystery)
6. HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973) (revisionist western)
7. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) (slasher film)
8. INTERIORS (1978) (family drama)
9. WATERSHIP DOWN (1978) (British animated adventure drama)
10. ROLLERBALL (1975) (science fiction sports film)

Notable Directors: Francis Ford Coppola; Stanley Kubrick; Hal Ashby; Martin Scorsese; Louis Malle; Steven Spielberg; Woody Allen; and Alfred Hitchcock.

 

2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

My list:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-01-12%2Bat%2B12.00.

1. SOLDIER BLUE (1970) (revisionist western)
2. THE GETAWAY (1972) (action thriller)
3. NORMA RAE (1979) (social message drama)
4. THE BEGUILED (1971) (southern gothic)
5. CHINATOWN (1974) (neo-noir mystery)
6. HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973) (revisionist western)
7. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) (slasher film)
8. INTERIORS (1978) (family drama)
9. WATERSHIP DOWN (1978) (British animated adventure drama)
10. ROLLERBALL (1975) (science fiction sports film)

Notable Directors: Francis Ford Coppola; Stanley Kubrick; Hal Ashby; Martin Scorsese; Louis Malle; Steven Spielberg; Woody Allen; and Alfred Hitchcock.

Three offhand, of mine that DEFINITELY Make the cut ..

 

Straw Dogs ..

Klute ..

and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter...

(No particular order for Any of those.. ..theyre ALL +the Bees Knees ...

👌👍👍👍

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3 minutes ago, Aritosthenes said:

Three offhand, of mine that DEFINITELY Make the cut ..

Straw Dogs ..

Klute ..

and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter...

Yes, KLUTE is a favorite of mine as well. I consider it Jane Fonda's best performance. And she gave a lot of wonderful performances over the years.

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6 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, KLUTE is a favorite of mine as well. I consider it Jane Fonda's best performance. And she gave a lot of wonderful performances over the years.

Yeah. Pretty Much Completely Agree with Her Klute Performance ..

-

I also like .. Barbarella.. ...of Hers.....

😬😑😑😑😑😑🤦‍♂️🤦‍♀️

_

"And" Klute Probably Gets Shelved Away in my "Favourite Crime Thriller" Category Drawer .. of Any and All Time ..

Kiss Me Deadly.

This Gun For Hire.

The Big Sleep. (Bogey Bacall)

Trance.

Dreamland.

The Neccessary Death of Charlie Countryman .

Dead Man Down .

 

 

(Along with S. Dogs & Klute ...

 

 

 

 

..also are themes, / variations of EXQUISITE Crime Thrillers ..

 

 

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36 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It really stays with you. ROLLERBALL is definitive James Caan. Kubrick's influence is obvious but it's not a 2001 clone. I think it's a very serious, contemplative thesis on where society was headed. Or rather, where the filmmakers thought society might be headed. Interestingly, it's set in 2018, which is when I first watched it. The sequence where Pamela Hensley's character shoots down a bunch of trees is justifiably famous. It doesn't even include Caan or costar John Houseman at all. Their scenes take place indoors and are intercut with what Hensley and her group are doing outside. Maud Adams, as Caan's on-again/off-again wife, makes the most of what is basically an extended cameo. This story has a lot of good ideas. The scenes where the game takes place, an intriguing mixture of athleticism and brutality, give the story much-needed action. But it's really not an action flick. It's a think piece.

 

Yes, first-time audiences giggle at the tree-shooting scene, but in context of Jewison's message--ie.,  that the Corporate Utopia may have replaced war with NFL Rollerball, but they haven't replaced violence, with the arena audiences starting to rush the glass stadium-guards like pumped NHL hooligans-- it's creepily disturbing.

 Unlike the clueless '02 remake (which gave us a kewl pirate channel run by a Russian gangster, dood!), the '75 version gives us a dystopia where "the Corporations" have literally replaced the governments, and now frown upon the idea of individuality, that James Caan becoming the new personal Joe Namath of the game sends a Dangerous Message to the masses, and when Caan avoids the, ahem, persuasion from the management to retire, the game starts becoming hazardous to his health.  Where all safety, replacements and penalty rules have now been removed in the championship match, for higher TV ratings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fvtUcOnp7w

 Yeah, I first thought it was "campy" too, but on a second viewing in context, it does become Kubrick-unsettling as the red lights multiply on the scoreboard during the climactic game...  😮

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16 hours ago, TopBilled said:

My list:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-01-12%2Bat%2B12.00.

1. SOLDIER BLUE (1970) (revisionist western)
2. THE GETAWAY (1972) (action thriller)
3. NORMA RAE (1979) (social message drama)
4. THE BEGUILED (1971) (southern gothic)
5. CHINATOWN (1974) (neo-noir mystery)
6. HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973) (revisionist western)
7. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) (slasher film)
8. INTERIORS (1978) (family drama)
9. WATERSHIP DOWN (1978) (British animated adventure drama)
10. ROLLERBALL (1975) (science fiction sports film)

Notable Directors: Francis Ford Coppola; Stanley Kubrick; Hal Ashby; Martin Scorsese; Louis Malle; Steven Spielberg; Woody Allen; and Alfred Hitchcock.

Numskull overhere, Did. Miss, ..FOUR ... 😑😑😑😑🙄😑

 

If my "Final" Calculations are Correct... .that is🙄😑.

*going back to that, .Favourite; "Crime Thriller" Drawer of mine.. ...from +hours earlier ..

Savages.

Memento.

the Whistlers

and You Were Never Really Here.

. ..... ... ..

Also.. + Additionally...

 

..Depending Upon What.. ... Parameters One Gives the Working Definition of Crime Suspense Thrillers ..

 

I Would Also Have to Add the Big Bang (Antonio Banderas Vehicle),. Both .Largo Winches,. .the Long Kiss GoodeNight,. .Run For the Sun,. .the Survivalist,. .Revenge,.    .A Lonely Place to Die,. .High Rise,. .Adoration,. .Enemy,. .. Along with Open Grave.     to that Same Drawer of Goodness,. ..Depending upon how one tweaks.. tinkers.. ...and fudges with the working definition of "suspense". "crime",. And "thriller".

 

(And Believe it or not.. ... for the sake of simplicity.. - ...im not even Mentioning Comedies.. ....with(in) that heading.. 😂 ... .

. ...

Not that im intentionally trying to do so, ,,but If THAT.. Doesnt Give,..One; a Headache, - .. ...i dont know what will 😂🤦‍♂️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️😂😂

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I'd put THE GODFATHER on a list due to it's quality as a MOVIE.  And don't think for a minute most people believe that all Italians are mobsters due to this movie.  One would need be an IDIOT to believe that.   Fact is, most(if not all) major crime syndicates at the time WERE made up of Italian families and acquaintances.

I'll also toss on  THE FRENCH CONNECTION

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE, TWO, THREE

SERPICO

JAWS

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

BLAZING SADDLES

ROCKY

CLAUDINE

SOUNDER

Anything else I'd choose had already been mentioned.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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The 1970s was such a great decade for movies,  I can't limit it to just 10.  So here are my sweet 16 (in order of release):

1.  Patton

2.  Five Easy Pieces

3.  The Last Picture Show

4.  Klute

5.  Cabaret

6.  Jeremiah Johnson

7.  The Exorcist

8.  Lenny

9.   Chinatown

10.  Shampoo

11.  Three Days of the Condor

12.  Network

13.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind

14.  Days of Heaven

15.  Interiors

16.  Apocalypse Now 

 

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Best Neo Noirs of the 1970s

Darker Than Amber (1970)

Shaft  (1971)

Across 110th Street (1971)

The Getaway (1971)

Get Carter (1971)

Hickey & Boggs (1972)

Fat City (1972)

Trick Baby (1972)

Fleshpot on 42nd Street (1973)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

The Long Goodbye (1973)

The Mad Bomber (1973)

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Chinatown (1974)

Farewell My Lovely (1975)

Night Moves (1975)

Seven Beauties (1975)

Taxi Driver (1976)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

Mikey and Nicky (1976)

The Late Show (1977)

The Big Sleep (1978)
 

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3 hours ago, filmnoirguy said:

The 1970s was such a great decade for movies,  I can't limit it to just 10.  So here are my sweet 16 (in order of release):

1.  Patton

2.  Five Easy Pieces

3.  The Last Picture Show

4.  Klute

5.  Cabaret

6.  Jeremiah Johnson

7.  The Exorcist

8.  Lenny

9.   Chinatown

10.  Shampoo

11.  Three Days of the Condor

12.  Network

13.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind

14.  Days of Heaven

15.  Interiors

16.  Apocalypse Now 

Thanks for mentioning THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. I love that one!

I feel NETWORK is overrated though it has its merits.

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3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Best Neo Noirs of the 1970s

Darker Than Amber (1970)

Shaft  (1971)

Across 110th Street (1971)

The Getaway (1971)

Get Carter (1971)

Hickey & Boggs (1972)

Fat City (1972)

Trick Baby (1972)

Fleshpot on 42nd Street (1973)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

The Long Goodbye (1973)

The Mad Bomber (1973)

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Chinatown (1974)

Farewell My Lovely (1975)

Night Moves (1975)

Seven Beauties (1975)

Taxi Driver (1976)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)

Mikey and Nicky (1976)

The Late Show (1977)

The Big Sleep (1978)
 

Yes, love FAT CITY. Great performance by Stacy Keach and by the incomparable Susan Tyrrell.

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE is also a classic. So is the original SHAFT.

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I am also a big fan of Fat City, one of the best films of a decade that is not a favorite of mine, despite the commendably ambitious attempts of the filmmakers.  Most of the films already mentioned have genuine historical importance, but I have no particular desire to see many of them again. However, I'd like to mention a few that haven't been named yet:

Badlands

Foul Play--a standout in a decade not remarkable for comedy

The Man Who Would Be King

North Dallas Forty

Star Wars--original version only

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7 hours ago, kingrat said:

I am also a big fan of Fat City, one of the best films of a decade that is not a favorite of mine, despite the commendably ambitious attempts of the filmmakers.  Most of the films already mentioned have genuine historical importance, but I have no particular desire to see many of them again. However, I'd like to mention a few that haven't been named yet:

Badlands

Foul Play--a standout in a decade not remarkable for comedy

The Man Who Would Be King

North Dallas Forty

Star Wars--original version only

Has TCM ever shown North Dallas Forty?  If not, why not?

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5 hours ago, skimpole said:

Has TCM ever shown North Dallas Forty?  If not, why not?

Per MovieCollector's database, it has never aired. Probably because it's a Paramount film outside the Turner library and they don't think it's worth leasing because it doesn't star Cary Grant and it is not directed by Alfred Hitchcock. :) 

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8 hours ago, skimpole said:

Has TCM ever shown North Dallas Forty?  If not, why not?

Excellent question. TB is probably correct that it's being a Paramount film doesn't help. North Dallas Forty has a number of devoted fans. It's the rare movie that's actually about the business of professional sports, with some very funny moments along the way.

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