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50 best movies from the 1970s

  • 50 best movies from the 1970s
    1/ Paramount Pictures

    50 best movies from the 1970s

    The 1970s were a magical time for movies with a whole new crop of stars and directors becoming household names from Robert Redford and Al Pacino, to Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen. After the tumultuous Sixties that included the Civil Rights Movement, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War, America was a different place and Hollywood reflected the changing culture like a cinematic mirror. Films started exploring new ground with changing gender roles, political mistrust, and more subversive forms of comedy. The result was a new era both in American cinema and around the world.

    To celebrate the cinematic heyday of the 1970s, this list was compiled to rank the best movies of the decade. Using data from IMDb, films with more than 5,000 user votes were ranked according to the highest user rating. In the case of ties, the higher slot went to the film with the most votes.

    Click through to discover the Italian-American series that cleaned up at the Oscars and find out which controversial director appeared on the list three separate times.

    RELATED: Click here to see the best comedy movies of all time

  • #50. Love and Death (1975)
    2/ Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

    #50. Love and Death (1975)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Woody Allen
    Runtime: 85 min.

    Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were one of the most popular on-screen couples of the 1970s and this period satire transported them to Napoleonic-era Russia where they essentially became characters in a movie version of a classic Russian novel. At the Berlin Film Festival in 1975, the film won a Silver Bear and Roger Ebert bestowed 3.5 stars upon the movie.

  • #49. Cabaret (1972)
    3/ Allied Artists Pictures

    #49. Cabaret (1972)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Bob Fosse
    Runtime: 124 min.

    The film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical “Cabaret” starred Liza Minnelli as a performer in Berlin while the Nazi party ascends to power. The movie earned eight Oscars, including statues for Minnelli, co-star Joel Grey, and director and dance genius Bob Fosse.

  • #48. Serpico (1973)
    4/ Artists Entertainment Complex

    #48. Serpico (1973)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Sidney Lumet
    Runtime: 130 min.

    The cop movie got gritty in the ‘70s with “Serpico.” Al Pacino stars as the title character, a good cop who breaks the unwritten rules of the New York Police Department to call out the corruption of his colleagues. The film grossed nearly $30 million, a huge success for the time.

  • #47. The French Connection (1971)
    5/ Philip D'Antoni Productions

    #47. The French Connection (1971)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: William Friedkin
    Runtime: 104 min.

    Another crime story, this time with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as New York narcotics cops who discover a massive cocaine smuggling ring by way of France. “The French Connection” was awarded the Academy Award for “Best Picture” in 1972 and the film picked up four more Oscar victories and a total of eight nominations.

  • #46. Blazing Saddles (1974)
    6/ Crossbow Productions

    #46. Blazing Saddles (1974)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Mel Brooks
    Runtime: 93 min.

    Mel Brooks cut his teeth writing TV comedy for Sid Caesar and Don Adams, but he moved into film directing with “Blazing Saddles” and earned a legion of fans. The Western satire tells the story of a town with a new black sheriff who tries to root out corruption. Brooks and his co-writers, including Richard Pryor, won the Writers’ Guild Award in 1975 for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.

  • #45. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
    7/ Columbia Pictures

    #45. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Robert Benton
    Runtime: 105 min.

    Dustin Hoffman was a mega-star in the ‘70s; this divorce drama paired him with another legendary actor in Meryl Streep. “Kramer vs. Kramer” took the divorce epidemic of the ‘70s and put it front and center as a formerly married couple fights against each other for custody of their son. Hoffman and Streep both won Oscars for their roles and the film won for “Best Picture."

  • #44. Dirty Harry (1971)
    8/ Warner Bros.

    #44. Dirty Harry (1971)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Don Siegel
    Runtime: 102 min.

    While Westerns were his main genre, Clint Eastwood found new life as a tough San Francisco cop searching for a madman bomber in “Dirty Harry.” The film was so successful that it spawned four sequels and changed police films forever.

  • #43. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
    9/ Wolper Pictures Ltd.

    #43. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: Mel Stuart
    Runtime: 100 min.

    Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book got the big-screen treatment in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” a candy-coated story about a poor boy who wins a contest to visit the most secretive chocolate factory in the world. Gene Wilder played the titular eccentric chocolatier; the film was remade in 2005 with Johnny Depp as the lead.

  • #42. Halloween (1978)
    10/ Compass International Pictures

    #42. Halloween (1978)

    IMDb rating: 7.8
    Director: John Carpenter
    Runtime: 91 min.

    Just the mention of this horror film can trigger the menacing theme music in someone’s head. Jamie Lee Curtis was the breakout star of “Halloween," which has since become a horror movie classic about an escaped killer who returns home to continue his murderous ways. There have now been 10 “Halloween” movies made including sequels, reboots, and sequels of reboots, with another film slated for release this fall.

  • #41. Punishment Park (1971)
    11/ Churchill Films

    #41. Punishment Park (1971)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Peter Watkins
    Runtime: 91 min.

    This low-budget film uses the language of documentaries to tell an alternate reality story about a government program that rounds up counter-culture types and sends them to prison. “Punishment Park” refers to a survival game where prisoners can win their freedom by making it to the end of a three-day trial in the desert. The film has a distant cousin in the modern “Purge” franchise.

     

  • #40. 3 Women (1977)
    12/ Lion's Gate Films

    #40. 3 Women (1977)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Robert Altman
    Runtime: 124 min.

    Robert Altman was one of the most visible auteurs of the ‘70s with films like “MASH” and “Nashville.” His “3 Women” starred Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek as physical therapist roommates who share an odd relationship. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where Duvall won the award for Best Actress.

     

  • #39. Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
    13/ World Entertainment

    #39. Johnny Got His Gun (1971)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Dalton Trumbo
    Runtime: 111 min.

    The Vietnam War was one of the biggest events of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and this adaptation of Dalton Trumbo’s horrific World War I story fit right in with the anti-war sentiment of the day. Timothy Bottoms plays the lead, a soldier who’s rendered quadriplegic by the war in addition to losing his sense of sight, smell, and hearing. Trumbo wrote the novel in 1938 and won the National Book Award, then wrote and directed the film version over 30 years later.

  • #38. The Holy Mountain (1973)
    14/ Producciones Zohar

    #38. The Holy Mountain (1973)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
    Runtime: 114 min.

    The Holy Mountain” is a surrealist fantasy that spent a lot of time on the festival circuit with appearances at Cannes and Filmex (the Los Angeles International Film Exposition). The film is almost entirely without dialogue and tells a trippy story about a thief who undergoes several transformations on an interplanetary journey. Some of The Beatles are said to have been investors in the film.

  • #37. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
    15/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #37. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: John Huston
    Runtime: 129 min.

    Legendary writer and director John Huston adapted Rudyard Kipling’s story about two ex-British soldiers in 1885 who attempt to become royalty in a Middle Eastern nation. Sean Connery and Michael Caine starred in the film and Huston was Oscar-nominated for the script. The film was extremely well-received by critics and audiences alike.

  • #36. Days of Heaven (1978)
    16/ Paramount Pictures

    #36. Days of Heaven (1978)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Terrence Malick
    Runtime: 94 min.

    Richard Gere had one of his first major starring roles in “Days of Heaven,” the Terrence Malick film about a farm laborer who convinces his girlfriend to marry a wealthy, but ill farm owner to inherit his fortune. The film tallied a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Drama” and the BBC named it one of the greatest American films of all time.

  • #35. Badlands (1973)
    17/ Warner Bros.

    #35. Badlands (1973)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Terrence Malick
    Runtime: 94 min.

    The second consecutive Malick film to make the list, “Badlands” is about a murderous duo in South Dakota with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek playing the killer pair. The movie was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1993.

  • #34. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
    18/ Warner Bros.

    #34. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Clint Eastwood
    Runtime: 135 min.

    Clint Eastwood both directed and starred in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” as the title character, a Missouri farmer who becomes a rebel Confederate soldier and winds up on the run from Union soldiers. The film was adapted from Forrest Carter’s “The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales” and the author was later discovered to be a pseudonym for Asa Carter, a racist klansman from Alabama.

  • #33. The Conversation (1974)
    19/ The Directors Company

    #33. The Conversation (1974)

    IMDb rating: 7.9
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    Runtime: 113 min.

    Francis Ford Coppola makes his first appearance on this listwith three more to comewith “The Conversation,” starring Gene Hackman. In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, America was more attuned to surveillance stories than ever before. “The Conversation” is a thriller about a spy who becomes concerned that his spying targets are about to be murdered. Coppola was nominated for Academy Awards for his screenplay as well as “Best Picture,” which he lost to himself for “The Godfather Part II.”

     

  • #32. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
    20/ The Mirisch Production Company

    #32. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Norman Jewison
    Runtime: 181 min.

    The film version of the hit Broadway musical took viewers back to the shtetl where a Jewish fatherTopol in the role that Zero Mostel first made famousdeals with the marriage of his daughters and the growing anti-Semitism in Russia. The highly successful film scored eight Oscar nods, including three victories.

  • #31. Being There (1979)
    21/ BSB

    #31. Being There (1979)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Hal Ashby
    Runtime: 130 min.

    Mistaken identity is at the core of “Being There,” where a lowly gardener (Peter Sellers) becomes a high-level political adviser through no fault of his own. The film was partially shot at the incomparable Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, the largest private home in America with 255 rooms, and helped revitalize Sellers’s career. The American Film Institute named it one of the 100 funniest American movies in history.

  • #30. Harold and Maude (1971)
    22/ Mildred Lewis and Colin Higgins Productions

    #30. Harold and Maude (1971)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Hal Ashby
    Runtime: 91 min.

    Director Hal Ashby makes another appearance on the list with an earlier work from 1971. “Harold and Maude” is about a mismatched pair who come together in friendship. Harold (played by Bud Cort) is a teenager obsessed with death and Maude (Ruth Gordon) is an elderly lady who teaches him to appreciate life. Both Cort and Gordon were nominated for Golden Globes for their acting in the film, which has gone on to become a cult classic.

  • #29. Patton (1970)
    23/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #29. Patton (1970)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
    Runtime: 172 min.

    For almost three hours, viewers became engrossed in the life of one of America’s greatest generals in “Patton.” George C. Scott won the Academy Award for his role as the hero leader of the film while the picture itself won seven total Oscars including “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” and “Best Screenplay” for Francis Ford Coppola’s writing work.

     

  • #28. All the President's Men (1976)
    24/ Warner Bros.

    #28. All the President's Men (1976)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Alan J. Pakula
    Runtime: 138 min.

    The Watergate story gets the cinematic treatment in “All the President’s Men,” the heroic tale of two Washington Post journalists who expose one of the biggest scandals in American political history. Acting icons Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman teamed up to play Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the journalists at the center of the expose and the men who wrote the book on which the film is based.

  • #27. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
    25/ Dawn Associates

    #27. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: George A. Romero
    Runtime: 127 min.

    Zombies are the real stars of “Dawn of the Dead,” a horror classic about a zombie apocalypse mostly set in a mall. The film is a sequel to George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” which has produced multiple sequels and reboots, with the most recent installment (“Day of the Dead: Bloodline”) premiering in January 2018.

  • #26. Papillon (1973)
    26/ Corona-General

    #26. Papillon (1973)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
    Runtime: 151 min.

    Papillon” is a prison escape movie about two Frenchmen sentenced to a labor camp on a jungle island where they’re forced to plot their exit by any means necessary. The top billing went to Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, which helped the film become a big commercial success.

  • #25. Manhattan (1979)
    27/ Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

    #25. Manhattan (1979)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Woody Allen
    Runtime: 96 min.

    One of Woody Allen’s most famous films stars Allen as a divorced middle-aged man who starts dating a 17-year-old (Mariel Hemingway), but falls in love with his best friend’s mistress who’s much more age-appropriate. Shot in black-and-white, the film earned multiple major film award nominations, ultimately winning “Best Film” at the 1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.

  • #24. Young Frankenstein (1974)
    28/ Gruskoff/Venture Films

    #24. Young Frankenstein (1974)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Mel Brooks
    Runtime: 106 min.

    Another black-and-white throwback favorite, “Young Frankenstein” is a Mel Brooks parody of vintage monster movies. Gene Wilder helped co-write the silly script and they received an Academy Award nomination for their work. AFI included the film as one of the funniest American films of all time and Brooks considers it the best work of his career.

  • #23. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
    29/ Warner Bros.

    #23. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Sidney Lumet
    Runtime: 125 min.

    Al Pacino stars in a tale of a Brooklyn robbery gone bad that won the Academy Award for “Best Original Screenplay.” “Dog Day Afternoon” was adapted from a LIFE Magazine story about the true-life event that inspired the film. The movie was added to the National Film Registry in 2009.

  • #22. Annie Hall (1977)
    30/ Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

    #22. Annie Hall (1977)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Woody Allen
    Runtime: 93 min.

    Woody Allen’s only film to score “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards was “Annie Hall,” the story of an unconventional love pairing that explores not only the relationship between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton’s characters, but also the true nature of love itself. The movie has earned nearly perfect scores from critics and grossed nearly ten times the film’s budget.

  • #21. The Exorcist (1973)
    31/ Warner Bros.

    #21. The Exorcist (1973)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: William Friedkin
    Runtime: 122 min.

    The demonic tale of “The Exorcist” has spawned multiple sequels and remakes over the years, but none has been as successful as the terrifying original. The story follows two priests as they try to rid a teenage girl of the demons that possess her. The film was based on a book that details the alleged true story of a 12-year-old girl possessed by evil in the D.C. suburbs.

  • #20. Jaws (1975)
    32/ Zanuck/Brown Productions

    #20. Jaws (1975)

    IMDb rating: 8.0
    Director: Steven Spielberg
    Runtime: 124 min.

    Steven Spielberg scored the first big hit of his career with this tale of a great white shark haunting a New England beach town. “Jaws” was a massive success and basically created the notion of a summer blockbuster, earning $100 million less than 60 days after its release. Its impact was so large that people are still afraid to go swimming in the ocean.

  • #19. Opening Night (1977)
    33/ Faces Distribution

    #19. Opening Night (1977)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: John Cassavetes
    Runtime: 144 min.

    Opening Night” was written, directed by, and featured John Cassavetes with Gena Rowlands as the lead role, playing an aging actress confronted with the reality of her own mortality. The film didn’t do well commercially, but played as part of the Berlin Film Festival in 1978 and Rowlands earned the prestigious Silver Bear for her role.

  • #18. Paper Moon (1973)
    34/ The Directors Company

    #18. Paper Moon (1973)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: Peter Bogdanovich
    Runtime: 102 min.

    Real-life father-daughter pair Ryan and Tatum O’Neal star in this Great Depression-set film about a con man who teams up with a young girl who may or may not be his own daughter. Ten-year-old Tatum O’Neal won the “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar for her part, making her the youngest actress to ever win the award.

  • #17. The Last Picture Show (1971)
    35/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #17. The Last Picture Show (1971)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: Peter Bogdanovich
    Runtime: 118 min.

    Director Peter Bogdanovich makes the list for the second slot in a row with “The Last Picture Show,” a black-and-white coming-of-age story of high schoolers in a small Texas town featuring a cast of future all-stars. Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, and Randy Quaid all have roles in the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including “Best Picture.”

  • #16. Sleuth (1972)
    36/ Palomar Pictures

    #16. Sleuth (1972)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
    Runtime: 138 min.

    This whodunit features two top British actors, Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, in a film based on the Tony award-winning play. The story starts with a crime fiction writer inviting his wife’s lover to his country estate and an elaborate plan unravels including fraud, theft, and murder. Both Caine and Olivier were nominated for Academy Awards for their roles, but lost to an even bigger star, Marlon Brando.

  • #15. Barry Lyndon (1975)
    37/ Peregrine

    #15. Barry Lyndon (1975)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: Stanley Kubrick
    Runtime: 185 min.

    Adapted from an 1844 William Makepeace Thackeray novel, Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” details the rise of a Irish outlaw who falls in love with a rich widow and assumes the station of her husband, an aristocrat, in 18th-century England. Kubrick was Oscar-nominated for the prestigious trifecta of writing, directing, and producing (i.e. “Best Picture”), but failed to win any of the awards.

  • #14. Network (1976)
    38/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #14. Network (1976)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: Sidney Lumet
    Runtime: 121 min.

    Iconic playwright Paddy Chayefsky penned the script and won the Academy Award for this satire of network news with an anchor vowing to commit suicide on the next nightly news broadcast. Named as one of the greatest American films of all time, “Network” cleaned up at the Oscars in 1977 with four victories from a grand total of 10 nominations, including five separate actor nods.

  • #13. The Deer Hunter (1978)
    39/ EMI Films

    #13. The Deer Hunter (1978)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: Michael Cimino
    Runtime: 183 min.

    Meryl Streep is currently the most nominated actor in Academy Award history, but her first nomination came from this picture, which also won “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” and a number of other awards. “The Deer Hunter” made the after-effects of the Vietnam War real for audiences everywhere with a story about three friends (Robert De Niro, John Savage, and Christopher Walken) who go off to war and return as broken men.

     

  • #12. Rocky (1976)
    40/ Chartoff-Winkler Productions

    #12. Rocky (1976)

    IMDb rating: 8.1
    Director: John G. Avildsen
    Runtime: 120 min.

    One of the most beloved sports films of all time made its star, Sylvester Stallone, a household name as a boxer who beats the oddstime and time again in sequel after sequel. The first film in the franchise won “Best Picture” and inspired a whole generation of wannabe boxers to punch slabs of meat and run up steps triumphantly.

  • #11. A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
    41/ Faces

    #11. A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

    IMDb rating: 8.2
    Director: John Cassavetes
    Runtime: 155 min.

    The third film collaboration between actor/writer/director John Cassavetes and perpetual muse Gena Rowlands was “A Woman Under the Influence.” Rowlands plays a woman committed to a psychiatric institution and the film explores the impact on both her and her family. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1990, only the second year the registry existed.

  • #10. Chinatown (1974)
    42/ Paramount Pictures

    #10. Chinatown (1974)

    IMDb rating: 8.2
    Director: Roman Polanski
    Runtime: 130 min.

    A film noir story of murder, intrigue, and water rights captured the attention of America in 1974 when Jack Nicholson played private detective Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski’s period piece set in early 20th-century Los Angeles. A critical and commercial success, the film garnered Nicholson his fourth Oscar nomination and wound up on a number of AFI’s lists of best American films.

  • #9. The Sting (1973)
    43/ Zanuck/Brown Productions

    #9. The Sting (1973)

    IMDb rating: 8.3
    Director: George Roy Hill
    Runtime: 129 min.

    Paul Newman and Robert Redford reunited with their “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” director George Roy Hill in this heist film about a pair of con men trying to run a grift on a mob boss (Robert Shaw). “The Sting” won “Best Picture” at the Oscars in 1974 and hauled a total of eight Academy Awards. Producer Julia Phillips made Oscar history as the first female producer to win a “Best Picture” statue.

  • #8. Taxi Driver (1976)
    44/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #8. Taxi Driver (1976)

    IMDb rating: 8.3
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    Runtime: 114 min.

    Cinephiles everywhere left theaters saying, “You talkin’ to me?” after seeing “Taxi Driver” for the first time. Robert De Niro stars as an unstable cab driver who plots two assassinations that he believes will make him a hero to two women he’s grown attached to. It was the second De Niro-Scorsese collaboration and the movie was included as a “Best Picture” nominee at the 1977 Academy Awards.

  • #7. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    45/ Warner Bros.

    #7. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

    IMDb rating: 8.3
    Director: Stanley Kubrick
    Runtime: 136 min.

    Surrealism and a terrifying vision of a dystopian future have made “A Clockwork Orange” an enduring classic. Stanley Kubrick indulged the “ultra-violence” in this upsetting story of a futuristic British gang member who’s forced to undergo a violent re-education. The Academy Awards responded by nominating the auteur for “Best Picture,” “Best Directing,” and “Best Adapted Screenplay.” In its original release, the film was rated X for its extreme sexual content, but the rating was changed to R in its re-release when Kubrick removed 30 seconds of footage.

  • #6. Apocalypse Now (1979)
    46/ Zoetrope Studios

    #6. Apocalypse Now (1979)

    IMDb rating: 8.5
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    Runtime: 147 min.

    In the 1970s, it appeared that Francis Ford Coppola could do no wrong and “Apocalypse Now” is another example of that. Adapted from Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” the 1979 film updates the setting from the Congo to the Vietnam War, and focuses on a rogue American military officer who tries to become a god to a Southeast Asian village. Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall starred in the “Best Picture” nominee from 1980.

  • #5. Alien (1979)
    47/ Brandywine Productions

    #5. Alien (1979)

    IMDb rating: 8.5
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Runtime: 116 min.

    As cinema advanced throughout the ‘70s, so did the special effects, and “Alien” took advantage of that with a story of a space vessel crew with an unexpected passenger. Director Ridley Scott had his first major box office hit and the film’s visual effects team took home the Oscar for their innovative work.

  • #4. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    48/ Lucasfilm

    #4. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

    IMDb rating: 8.6
    Director: George Lucas
    Runtime: 121 min.

    Another triumph of special effects, “Star Wars” blazed a new trail in science fiction filmmaking. The story of a futuristic world where good and evil are decided in space has earned legions of fans, several Oscars, and launched an entire galaxy of sequels. One of its more recent sequels, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the third-highest grossing film in history with over $2 billion in worldwide sales.

  • #3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    49/ Fantasy Films

    #3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

    IMDb rating: 8.7
    Director: Milos Forman
    Runtime: 133 min.

    Jack Nicholson cemented his place in 1970s movie history with an Oscar-winning starring role in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the film adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel about a group of patients at an oppressive mental health facility. The movie took home an impressive slate of awards including “Best Picture” at the 1976 Oscars and “Best Motion Picture - Drama” at the Golden Globes.

     

  • #2. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
    50/ Paramount Pictures

    #2. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

    IMDb rating: 9.0
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    Runtime: 202 min.

    It seems fitting that “The Godfather: Part II” would make it to #2 on this list. The mafia sequel based on Mario Puzo's book series went back in time to show a younger Don Vito CorleoneRobert De Niro playing the role Marlon Brando made famousback in Italy while his son Michael (Al Pacino) tightened his grip on his family in the present. The film is the rare sequel to earn the same level of accolades as the original with an astounding eight Academy Awards going to Coppola’s film including “Best Picture.”

  • #1. The Godfather (1972)
    51/ Paramount Pictures

    #1. The Godfather (1972)

    IMDb rating: 9.2
    Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    Runtime: 175 min.

    The most popular film of the 1970s is also one of the greatest crime movies of all time. “The Godfather” tracks New York’s Corleone crime family as Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) cedes power to his son, played by Al Pacino. In 1973, the film was named “Best Picture” and its impact went far beyond awards season. The movie has created its own subculture with university classes, books, and more all following the massive success of the mob movie.

     

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