The 100 Best Films of the Seventies

Yesterday I wrote a list regarding the twenty-five best films of the seventies decade, and inevitably, so many great films got left off it because they didn’t make the cut, or in some cases, I forgot about them. Not this time. I want you to disregard the last list and focus on this one: a new list of the one-hundred best films of the seventies decade. This time I’m doing my best to cover everything – every genre, every truly great film – made between 1970 and 1979, because it is a hell of a decade and perhaps cinema’s greatest time. I was foolish to cut the list down to 25, so here’s a fuller one. This time, I have not ranked all one hundred films in order from best to worst or anything like that. Only the top 25 films are ranked, and they feature at the bottom of this post after the initial 75. The initial 75 are simply in alphabetical order. Please let me know what you think.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

Alien (1979)

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

American Graffiti (1973)

And Now For Something Completely Different (1971)

Animal House (1979)

Annie Hall (1977)

Badlands (1973)

Being There (1979)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Camera Buff (1979)

Carrie (1976)

Chinatown (1974)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

The Conversation (1974)

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972)

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

The Exorcist (1973)

Face to Face (1976)

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

The French Connection (1972)

Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971)

Gates of Heaven (1978)

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Harold and Maude (1971)

High Plains Drifter (1973)

The Holy Mountain (1973)

In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

Jaws (1975)

The Jerk (1979)

Kramer vs Kramer (1979)

Lacombe Lucien (1974)

La Grande Bouffe (1971)

Lancelot du Lac (1974)

Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Life of Brian (1979)

Mad Max (1979)

Manhattan (1979)

Midnight Express (1978)

The Mirror (1975)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

The Muppet Movie (1979)

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Murmur of the Heart (1972)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Papillon (1973)

The Passenger (1975)

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

Patton (1970)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1974)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Scar (1976)

Soldier of Orange (1978)

The Sorrow and the Pity (1971)

Stalker (1979)

The Sting (1973)

Straw Dogs (1971)

Suspiria (1977)

That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Towering Inferno (1974)

Tristana (1970)

Turkish Delight (1973)

W.R. Mysteries of the Organism (1972)

The Wicker Man (1973)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

Woodstock (1970)

Woyzeck (1979)

Young Frankenstein (1974)


The Top 25

25: The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

24: Eraserhead (1976)

23: El Topo (1970)

22: Amarcord (1973)

21: Barry Lyndon (1975)

20: Autumn Sonata (1976)

19: Deliverance (1972)

18: Network (1976)

17: The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

16: Stroszek (1977)

15: Scenes from a Marriage (1973)

14: Last Tango in Paris (1972)

13: Taxi Driver (1976)

12: Blazing Saddles (1973)

11: Days of Heaven (1978)

10: Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)

9: The Godfather (1972)

8: Cries and Whispers (1972)

7: Solaris (1972)

6: Apocalypse Now (1979)

5: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

4: Day for Night (1973)

3: The Last Picture Show (1971)

2: Grin Without a Cat (1977)

1: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)


Posted on June 3, 2012, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Wow, that’s a nice list. I can’t complain about that.

  2. Vintage Living Magazine

    Great list. 🙂

  3. American Grafitti but not Star Wars? I live in Petaluma, CA where AG was filmed, but I’m not a big fan of it. No love for All the President’s Men? I know you’re a Herzog fan, so I’m surprised to not see Fitzcaraldo.

    • I haven’t seen All the President’s Men or Star Wars. Well, I saw Star Wars when I was a kid but I have no memory of it.

  4. Oh yeah, Fitzcaraldo was ’82. Never mind.

  5. thefilmfreak

    A much more inclusive list than the 25, and although I think both are great lists, I must say I’m totally shocked that you don’t have any films by one of the greatest American directors, Robert Altman, whose output in the 70’s includes M*A*S*H, Nashville, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and The Long Goodbye.

    Other great films from the decade worth noting:

    The Last Detail
    The Conformist
    Dawn of the Dead
    Mean Streets
    Two-Lane Blacktop
    All the President’s Men
    All That Jazz
    Gimme Shelter
    Spirit of the Beehive
    Cria Cuervos…
    Grey Gardens
    The Marriage of Marie Braun

    • I haven’t seen any Altman films from the 70s (though I’ll be seeing NASHVILLE very soon).

      Thanks for the list of films; haven’t seen any of them but I will be seeing Marriage of Maria Braun soon.

      • thefilmfreak

        Wow, I would have thought you’d seen at least one of his films from that period. With the exception of Coppola, I think Altman and Ashby had arguably the best output during the 70’s, certainly for American directors. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Nashville. And I hope you get around to seeing some of the other films on this list…don’t think you will be disappointed with any of them.

        • I definitely need to check out more Altman and Ashby, as well as more John Cassavetes (only seen A Woman Under the Influence). Will take your recommendations. Thanks!

  6. Ooh good list. I have been thinking of making a 70s syllabus for a while now- this might be just what I need.

  7. yaykisspurr

    I’m not sure 70s films are “go to” for me. I like the 50s and 60s and then current movies. I’d love the expand my movie knowledge and looks like this is a great list to start from. Cheers!

  8. Alex Withrow

    Excellent choices… all my favorites are here for sure. Taxi Driver would definitely occupy my top spot. Glad it made your top 25!

  9. Glad to see Days of Heaven on here. Once again, a reminder of how many films I need to catch up with.

    I should revist Taxi Driver, but I have the suspicion that it’s not going to work for me.

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