Best 70’s Films

To many people’s surprise, including my own, the 70’s actually managed to spew up some of what are considered by film critics and people who take part in online polls, to be the greatest films ever made. However, the following is a list compiled based entirely on my own personal taste, which I can assure you is far more sophisticated than the aforementioned ‘film buff’ Rotten Tomato types.

1. Taxi Driver, 1976 (dir. Martin Scorsese) – Admittedly, this is exactly one of those films which consistently features on ‘best ever’ lists, but for good reason. Generally acknowledged by myself to be one of Scorsese’s best works, it features a fantastic and oddly rather attractive Robert De Niro giving a career defining performance. It’s a film you’d be hard pressed not to like and upholds a tone for its duration which is rarely captured at all in more contemporary cinema.

2. Last Tango in Paris, 1972 (dir. Bernardo Bertolucci) – This film caused an almost unprecedented controversy and attracted various levels of government censorship in different countries. It is an astounding film: both brutal and captivating. It was censored for a reason, and is not by any means a film for the weak of heart. I would perhaps list this under ‘most notable’ rather than ‘best’ films of the decade. My reason is that there is a slight unease around the infamous ‘rape scene’, which has caused some uproar and discomfort from audiences. The main problems I have with it are the comments Maria Schneider has made about it since the film’s release, and that fact she had not known she would have to perform that scene. But despite my personal reservations, I couldn’t leave it off of the list because it is in many ways unparalleled and is undoubtedly the most outrageous and intriguing film of the 70’s.

3. Monty Python and The Holy Grail, 1975 (dir. Terry Gillam, Terry Jones) – While Python does not perhaps hold any cinematic value in the traditional sense, it is still one of the funniest films I have ever seen. Python was consistently and amazingly ahead of its time, and most people who are familiar with it love it. There’s a second Python film from this decade I could have used, Life of Brian, but I had to pick one and Holy Grail was it.

4. Star Wars, 1977 (dir. George Lucas) – Star Wars holds no personal weight for me, in fact, I’m not even sure I have seen it all the way through. But it is nonetheless noteworthy, if only for the fact it marks the beginning of a franchise still endured to this day.

5. The Godfather, 1972 (dir. Francis Ford Coppola) – The second serial ‘best ever’ to be featured on this list, perhaps, I feel, not always rightly. Don’t believe the hype, if you go into this expecting to have your socks blown off you won’t. It is, of course, a very good film. But it’s psyched up so much its name is bigger than its body. Nevertheless, it’s by any one’s standard up there with the best from the 70’s, and so I label it as such.