The 1970s was a decade of giants. This is the decade where the great directors stretched to deliver some of the greatest work the cinema has ever known. Big ideas, important themes, daring stories, brilliant performances, and filmmaking that set the bar so high that no decade has ever quite reached. The 1970s was, perhaps, the greatest decade in the history of film.
Check out filmcritic.com's collective list of the decade's best films.
And without further ado, my personal list:
1. Network (1976) -- Simply put, the most incendiary satire of all-time, featuring the most complexly intelligent, cracklingly funny, bitingly poignant screenplay ever, by Paddy Chayefsky. Screenplays like this just aren't written anymore...and they weren't back then, either. Network is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, and its brilliance holds up 34 years later.
2. Taxi Driver (1976) -- Martin Scorsese's first of several extraordinary masterpieces, a film that underlines the political anxiety of the decade, set Scorsese's brilliant filmmaking style in motion, and gave us one of the cinema's most indelible characters, Travis Bickle.
3. A Clockwork Orange (1971) -- A frightening look into a downward spiral of a future, made with calculating precision and nasty ironic humor by Stanley Kubrick.
4. Day for Night (1973) -- Francois Truffaut's greatest film, and one of the great influencers of filmmakers to come. Made with a wealth of humor and unmatched reverence for the joys and trials of filmmaking, Day for Night is the greatest film ever made about making movies.
5. The Godfather (1972) -- The great mob epic of our time. A giant, a legend, a classic.
6. Scenes from a Marriage (1974) -- Ingmar Bergman's haunting masterpiece, about a love that stands the test of time, even if it fails the tests of marriage and fidelity.
7. The Godfather, Part II (1974) -- Greatest sequel of all-time, continuing the Corleone saga in an epic just as sprawling and brilliant as its forebear.
8. Cries and Whispers (1972) -- Another Bergman masterwork, this one his most brutally painful film, about women whose love and resentment boil to the surface as they care for their cancer-ridden sister.
9. Apocalypse Now (1979) -- Coppola's third gargantuan film of the decade (after the two Godfathers), this one is the greatest war picture ever made, a brilliant symphony of frightening images that will linger forever.
10. Rocky (1976) -- Possibly the greatest crowd-pleaser in cinema history, plain and simple.
Honorable Mentions:Nashville (1975) -- Altman's sprawling work of brilliance.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) -- The surrealistic masterpiece by Luis Bunuel.
Mean Streets (1973) -- Scorsese's first great film of the decade, and the first great film of his legendary career.
Annie Hall (1977) -- Wonderful Woody.
Manhattan (1979) -- Wonderful Woody, volume 2.