As part of a year-long exploration, I’m looking at my 50 favorite films from the 1970s. Periodically throughout the year I’ll be sharing my favorite films in 10-film chunks. Today, I’m looking at No. 50 to No. 41.
50. The Wicker Man (1973)
About: Perhaps you’ve heard of the Nicholas Cage re-make, but you owe it to yourself to see this original. Edward Woodward plays a buttoned-up, uber religious policeman sent to an island to look for a missing girl. Said island, is run by Christopher Lee and a group of cultists. It’s a fascinating and at times deeply unsettling tale that has stuck with me since I first saw it.
49. Mad Max (1979)
About: George Miller’s tales in this dystopic future have become iconic. This might be the most straight-forward of those films. I enjoy Mel Gibson as Max, and this one has some great chase and driving sequences.
48. Earthquake (1974)
About: I love a good disaster film. This is an epic disaster film that sees Los Angeles nearly destroyed by a series of earthquakes. This is based on a script co-written by Mario Puzo and features a stellar cast led by Charelton Heston. It’s also got a different kind of ending for these types of films.
47. Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
About: Clint Eastwood headlines this film, based on the book, about a daring escape from the most famous prison in the world. I like a good prison break film and this one works well.
46. M.A.S.H. (1970)
About: Before it became a long-running TV show, this story about doctors during the Korean War was a film. Robert Altman has a unique style and it’s applied well here, with good performances from Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland.
45. Carrie (1976)
About: The classic Stephen King novel brought to life by filmmaker Brian De Palma. Sissy Spacek is great in the lead role and this film has a number of iconic scenes. It’s classic horror.
44 National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
About: This film helped create a brand while offering some iconic comedy sequences. It made stars of the cast and crew in this project, none better than the late John Belushi.
43. Three Days of the Condor (1975)
About: The 1970s was a big decade for Robert Redford, and this is one of his iconic roles in the decade. Here, he plays a CIA researcher whose team is wiped out leaving him at the center of a mystery. Redford is great in the role and I enjoyed the story, which is based on a novel.
42. Grease (1978)
About: The 1970s was a big decade for musicals, too. There are a couple on this list, including this iconic musical starring Oliva Newton John and John Travolta. There’s a lot of great style and iconic musical numbers here, which is what has helped make it an enduring classic.
41. Mean Streets (1973)
About: This was a decade for young filmmakers that have become icons. One of those is Martin Scorsese. This early gangster film stars Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel in a gangster flick. It’s a genre and a partnership that Scorsese would lean on for years. This isn’t his best film of the decade but it’s worth checking out.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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