With this post, I am starting a best-of-the-decades series. Each week I will post a list of what I feel are the greatest films of a particular decade. This week I will begin the series with my favorite films from the ’70s. This decade contained the bulk of the American New Wave, which was arguably the greatest period in American film history.
Just like last week, these films are ordered alphabetically for practicality.
1. All the President’s Men (1976) The crown jewel of the paranoid genre that was the 70s conspiracy thriller.
2. Annie Hall (1977) Long before romantic comedies became formulaic and bland, there was Annie Hall, the greatest the genre has ever had to offer.
3. Blazing Saddles (1974) Mel Brooks taking on Westerns? Sign me up.
4. Chinatown (1974) I’m a sucker for “man against the world” movies, and this is by far the best example of one I have ever seen. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is one of the coolest characters to ever grace the screen.
5. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) “Attica! Attica!” Al Pacino gives the audience a lesson in acting.
6. Enter the Dragon (1972) The hall-of-mirrors scene alone is enough to merit the film a spot on this list.
7. The French Connection (1971) It has one of the most iconic chase scenes in film history and Gene Hackman at his peak.
8. The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) They have to be included together. There are so many amazing scenes in theses two films that I cannot even begin to discuss them. Brando. De Niro. Pacino. Caan. Duvall. Cazale. These two are as close to perfect as a film can be.
9. Jaws (1975) Spielberg’s first foray into blockbuster filmmaking. He never looked back.
10. Mean Streets (1973) This film gave us the glimpse of the partnership between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro.
11. Network (1976) Peter Finch’s final monologue is unbelievable. It won him the first posthumous Oscar for acting.
12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Nurse Ratched is terrifying, Jack Nicholson is on his A game and Christopher Lloyd is in it.
13. Rocky (1976) One of four films from 1976 on the list. It is THE underdog story.
14. Star Wars (1977) Do I need to explain why this is on here?
15. Taxi Driver (1976) Most movie fans will argue that Raging Bull is the pinnacle of the Scorsese-De Niro partnership. Taxi Driver gets my vote. Travis Bickle is probably my favorite character from any movie on this list.
Well, that is the list. Before you get upset, yes, I realize that Apocalypse Now is not on the list. The explanation is simple: I have never seen the original version of it. Also, honorable mention goes out to the Russian roulette scene in The Deer Hunter. What other films do you think I missed? Do you think any of these films do not belong? Can you make an argument for Shaft? Respond in the comments section.