The Weekly Discussion: The 70s in Cinema!

Welcome to the third installment of The Weekly Discussion. In the past two, we examined the most influential director of the 1960s and 1930s, respectively. I am planning on polling you to see who the most influential director of each decade of the 20th century is, in random order. This week, the poll looks at the sexy seventies!

Heaps of amazing, revolutionary movies were released in this decade, some of the highlights including The Godfather, Cries and Whispers, Barry Lyndon, Network, Apocalypse Now and countless others.

But which director had the biggest influence on the film industry in that decade? Vote in the poll below:

Thanks for voting. If you have anything to say about the subject of the 70s, directors, filmmakers and movies, then please leave a comment below. Thanks.

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About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on July 6, 2011, in Filmmakers, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This is a tough one. The natural inclination is to go with Kubrick. But then, Woody Allen certainly revolutionized the rom com and character development in general. Scorsese’s not on here and his influence is pretty far-reaching, IMO, most notably with camera movement and the way that we’ve come to embrace the anti-hero. And then there’s Spielberg, who inspired a whole generation to make crappy big budget movies that gobble up summer box offices (which is a shame because I think he’s quite skilled, himself).

    I’m going to have to sleep on this.

    • Crap, I can’t believe I forgot Scorsese! What am I, crazy? Mind you, I haven’t watched Taxi Driver in over a year. Time to pull that one off the shelf. I’ll quickly add him into the poll, if it’ll help you to make up your mind. I was going to vote myself, but then decided not to not only because it would be unfair to the end result, but I just couldn’t make up my mind!

  2. All those big hitters in one list. I went for Kubrick too in the end, but if I am honest it was a hard decision it could have gone many ways!

    Nice idea

    (although it is a little clever for my brain, meat and potatoes me)

    C

  3. I copped out and went with Scorsese. If I’m answering honestly, I think it’s Kubrick, but I love Scorsese’s films so much that I stopped torturing myself with the choice and went with my heart instead of my head.

  4. An embarrassment of riches. It’s easy to eliminate Spielberg (who gradually shaped up into a very fine director) and Lucas, who, after showing such great promise with American Graffiti copped out and pissed away his talent to become a one-man merchandising machine. I’m delighted that you gave the nod to Herzog and Lumet, who might have been easily overlooked, and both of whom did such consistently solid work that it’s almost unseemly to put them in a directorial horse race. For all his greatness, Woody Allen, one of the greatest comic minds in the history of cinema, really hasn’t been all that influential; his accomplishment seems to be singular, and it’s hard to think of a younger director who’s really emulated his style and sensibility. Kubrick is in a class of his own, sort of like Beethoven, so I don’t think he really belongs on this list. (Also, only two of his films, probably not his most important, were released in the 70s.) Coppola? A good choice, but, again, I find him to be more of an individual talent (though The Godfather has clearly influenced the genre of sprawling, multi-generational epic). In terms of actual influence, I think it’s pretty clear that Scorsese comes out on top, though many directors seem to borrow only the most superficial elements of his films (e.g., the gritty, realistic, vernacular dialogue and violence.) Scorsese also deserves extra credit as one of the most consistent directors of his generation–think of all of his promising peers of the 70s who, one by one, later fell by the wayside (e.g., Coppola, Lucas, William Friedkin).

    I’m more curious about some of your omissions. I think that Sam Peckinpah was just as influential as some of the other candidates, and certainly influenced Scorsese himself. (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is one of my favorite films of the decade.) I would argue even more strongly that Robert Altman–a director whom I’ve never liked very much–was, nevertheless, just as influential than any of the others on your list. (He was, for instance, a very clear and direct influence on one of your favorites, and mine, Paul Thomas Anderson, and also on David O. Russell.) Last, Michael Cimino deserves at least some consideration, though his influence was of a very different sort. It can certainly be argued that Heaven’s Gate (which I love) was the one film that changed the game in Hollywood–not necessarily for the better–more than any other of its time. Sorry to have hijacked your blog. A provocative topic!

    • Thanks for the interesting comment, japey, and no apology necessary; I like these big, criticizing comments (within reason). I suppose you’re righ about Peckinpah, but I would argue the biggest influence he had was with The Wild Bunch back in the 60s (even though I personally prefer his 70s work.) Altman… now you have a point there, too, but I must apologize for not having seen Nashville. It’s on my watchlist, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  5. I’m not a fan of his work per se but I voted for Kubrick.

  6. Tough one, I voted for Kubrick myself. Apocalypse Now is reason enough!

  7. While Coppola and Scorsese are my personal favorites on the list, I think it’s a toss up between Spielberg and Lucas for having changed the entire industry. Those two invented the blockbuster and Lucas revolutionized the business with the whole licensing of movie related paraphernalia. Parts of me love him while parts of me loathe him. I’m probably just jealous that I couldn’t come up with something as popular as Star Wars that I could milk for an eternity and and that make gobs of money.

    Here’s a question… how many times have you purchased the original Trilogy in its various video formats? So far, I have purchased it twice. Once when they released a letterboxed and remastered version on VHS, and a second time on DVD when my son discovered the Trilogy and became obsessed with it. We now have 3 light sabres, a Clone trooper helmet, countless Lego and action figure sets, several costumes, a Millenium Falcon and Death Star Transformer, a two foot tall AT-AT, a Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary, and so much more. Keep in mind that I’m talking about an almost 7 year old, and his 3 year old brother is equally obsessed. That being said… Lucas is the true revolutionary in this bunch. And I haven’t even mentioned his work with ILM and THX.

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