Mike’s Top Tens of the Decade (1970-1979)

It’s time for another one of these. Perhaps my favorite recurring feature on the blog (next to the Pic of the Day). Me listing my favorite films of a particular decade. We’re up to the 70s now.

If you want to keep track of my progress on these lists, you can see the others here: 2000s, 1990s, 1980s.

This one will be just like those other ones. Same Ten films per year, same 11-15 (or 20, if it’s particularly strong) at the bottom, so when I come back to these lists, I can easily know which films almost made the cut so I don’t have to put too much work into updating them. The only difference is the fun list at the bottom. The first time was the “Terrible Ten” list of films I hated from that year. The second was “Films of my Childhood,” a list of films I saw and loved when I was a kid. This one will be, simply — 70s Recommendation. I will be recommending certain films from the decade (that don’t already appear on my Top Ten lists) that I feel greatly represent the 70s as a decade. You’ll see what I mean when you see the lists. Just know, though, that these films are either wonderfully representative (the way the Awesomely 80s Films were of that decade), or are real hidden gems of the decade that not many people may have seen (or would think to see) nowadays.

Also, as always, the list is based on what I’ve seen. As I see more films of the decade (and like them), the lists will be altered accordingly. Now, let’s get listing:

My Top Ten of 1979


All That Jazz

Apocalypse Now

Being There

Breaking Away

The China Syndrome

Escape from Alcatraz

Kramer vs. Kramer

Rocky II


11-15: The Great Santini, The In-Laws, Norma Rae, The Rose, The Villain

70s Recommendations: …And Justice for All, Going in Style, Mad Max, North Dallas Forty, The Warriors

+ Honorable Mention to: The Muppet Movie (because they’re just great)

+ Mention (not exactly honorable) to: Caligula (because you just have to)

My Top Ten of 1978

Animal House

Days of Heaven

The Deer Hunter



Heaven Can Wait


Midnight Express


An Unmarried Woman

11-15: The Cheap Detective, Coming Home, Dawn of the Dead, The Driver, Straight Time

+ Honorable Mention to: The Last Waltz

70s: Recommendations: The Boys from Brazil, The Brink’s Job, The End, Movie Movie, The Wiz

+ Honorable Mention to: The Lord of the Rings (fascinating to see how they did this)

My Top Ten of 1977

Annie Hall

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The Goodbye Girl


Looking for Mr. Goodbar

New York, New York

Saturday Night Fever

Slap Shot

Star Wars


11-15: The AscentA Bridge Too Far, High Anxiety, Race for Your Life Charlie Brown, The Spy Who Loved Me

+ Honorable Mention to: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

70s Recommendations: The Choirboys, Eraserhead, The Late Show, Smokey and the Bandit, Sorcerer

+ Honorable mention to: Allegro non troppo (It’s like Fantasia, only more fucked up.)

My Top Ten of 1976

All the President’s Men

The Bad News Bears


Marathon Man

Murder by Death


The Outlaw Josey Wales


Taxi Driver

The Shootist

11-15: Bugsy Malone, The Last Tycoon, Logan’s Run, Silent Movie, Silver Streak

70s Recommendations: Assault on Precinct 13, Buffalo Bill and the Indians or: Sitting Bull’s History Lesson, Harry and Walter Go to New York, Mother Jugs & Speed, Nickelodeon

My Top Ten of 1975

Barry Lyndon

Dog Day Afternoon


Monty Python and the Holy Grail

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Picnic at Hanging Rock

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Sunshine Boys

Three Days of the Condor


11-15: Farewell My Lovely, Give ‘Em Hell, Harry, The Man in the Glass Booth, Seven Beauties, Shampoo

70s Recommendations: The Day of the Locust, Death Race 2000, The Eiger Sanction, The Fortune, The Man Who Would Be King

My Top Ten of 1974

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

The Beast Must Die

Blazing Saddles


The Conversation

The Godfather Part II


The Towering Inferno

A Woman Under the Influence

Young Frankenstein

11-15: California Split, F For Fake, The Longest Yard, Murder on the Orient Express, The Taking of Pelham 123

+ Honorable Mention to: The Year Without a Santa Claus (TV special. Can’t officially incude it, but I love it)

70s Recommendations: Claudine, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Parallax View, Phantom of the Paradise, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

+ Honorable Mention to: Zardoz (because I don’t know where this film belongs. But you need to see this. Trust me. Don’t look it up. Just watch it. Preferably on something.)

My Top Ten of 1973

American Graffiti

Don’t Look Now

Emperor of the North

The Exorcist

The Last Detail

Mean Streets

Paper Moon



The Sting

11-20: Badlands, Bang the Drum Slowly, Charley Varrick, The Day of the Jackal, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, High Plains Drifter, The Long Goodbye, Save the Tiger, The Spirit of the Beehive, A Touch of Class

70s Recommendations: Live and Let Die, Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing, O Lucky Man!, The Seven-Ups, Soylent Green

+ Honorable Mention to: Enter the Dragon

My Top Ten of 1972



The Candidate


The Godfather

Pete ‘n’ Tillie

The Poseidon Adventure

The Ruling Class



11-15: The CowboysThe Getaway, Jeremiah Johnson, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, What’s Up, Doc?

70s Recommendations: Boxcar Bertha, Buck and the Preacher, The Heartbreak Kid, The Hot Rock, Super Fly

+ Mention (I don’t know how honorable it is) to: Pink Flamingos

My Top Ten of 1971

The Anderson Tapes

A Clockwork Orange

Dirty Harry

Fiddler on the Roof

The French Connection

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Nicholas and Alexandra

Straw Dogs

Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

11-20: Brian’s Song, Diamonds are Forever, Duck You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite), Get Carter, The Grissom Gang, Harold and Maude, Klute, The Last Picture Show, Summer of ’42, Walkabout

70s Recommendation: $, The Boy Friend, Carnal Knowledge, Duel, The Hospital, Le Mans, Little Murders, The Omega Man, Shaft, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

My Top Ten of 1970


The Great White Hope

Little Big Man

Love Story

Lovers and Other Strangers



Tora! Tora! Tora!

There Was a Crooked Man…


11-20: Five Easy Pieces, Gimme Shelter, Kelly’s Heroes, Let It Be, The Molly Maguires, The Out-of-Towners, The Owl and the Pussycat, Scrooge, The Twelve Chairs, Two Mules for Sister Sara

+ Honorable Mention to: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

70s Recommendations: Beyond the Valley of the DollsDiary of a Mad Housewife, Joe, The Phantom Tollbooth, Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon


One response

  1. 1970 Honorable Mention: Santa Claus is Comin to Town.
    I see what you did there. But in all seriousness though, I fucking LOVE that Christmas special. I’ve seen it more times than Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. And considering those two are shown more often (and on the big three networks), that is saying something. One of the things I like most about it is how dark it can be (especially the early scenes with the Winter Warlock and the Burgermeister burning the toys after yelling to the children of Sombertown that they would “never ever play again”. Chilling stuff).

    September 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm

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