Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My list for the best films of the 70's

Well...I knew I forget at least one filmmaker, and sure enough I did: the great Bernardo Bertolucci. His The Conformist is a masterpiece and would have certainly placed in the top 50 somewhere...perhaps I thought it came out in the late 60's, I don't know, but I'm sorry I omitted it. So, there, that's me rectifying the problem. This list was a lot of fun to construct, but just like any kind of comprehensive list, it's all pretty arbitrary, because I could easily justify any film in my top 5 being in the number one slot. Although, the more I think about it the more I feel good about the choice I went with (my all time favorite film from my all time favorite filmmaker). Construct your own lists or if you want discuss my list, here in the comments if you'd like, but I would prefer you head over to Wonders in the Dark, who is hosting this big 'ol shindig. My list comes after the jump...

Supplementary list:
50.) Play it Again, Sam (Allen)
49.) The Outlaw Josey Wales (Eastwood)
48.) The Conversation (Coppola)
47.) Mean Streets (Scorsese)
46.) Star Wars (Lucas)
45.) Night Moves (Penn)
44.) Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (Jones)
43.) Five Easy Pieces (Raffelson)
42.) Small Change (Truffaut)
41.) A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavettes)
40.) The Exorcist (Friedkin)
39.) The Last Waltz (Scorsese)
38.) The Last Detail (Ashby)
37.) Animal House (Landis)
36.) Claire’s Knee (Rohmer)
35.) Day for Night (Truffaut)
34.) Walkabout (Roeg)
33.) Three Days of the Condor (Pollack)
32.) Fellini Satyricon (Fellini)
31.) Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (Grau)
30.) Aguirre, The Wrath of God (Herzog)
29.) Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Van Peebles)
28.) Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (Fulci)
27.) Autumn Sonata (Bergman)
26.) Black Christmas (Clark)

Now the top 25:

25.) McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman)
24.) Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir)
23.) The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Peckinpah)
22.) Amarcord (Fellini)
21.) Bay of Blood (Bava)
20.) Dirty Harry (Siegel)
19.) Suspiria (Argento)
18.) Interiors (Allen)
17.) Halloween (Carpenter)
16.) 3 Women (Altman)
15.) Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Herzog)
14.) Don’t Look Now (Roeg)
13.) Deep Red (Argento)
12.) Nashville (Altman)
11.) Scenes from a Marriage (Bergman)
10.) Alien (Scott)
9.) Taxi Driver (Scorsese)
8.) The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich)
7.) Days of Heaven (Malick)
6.) Chinatown (Polanski)
5.) Le Cercle Rouge (Melville)
4.) The Godfather Saga (Parts 1 and 2) (Coppola) (Yes I view these two as a whole)
3.) Barry Lyndon (Kubrick)
2.) Apocalypse Now (Coppola)
1.) Cries and Whispers (Bergman)


  1. Well Kevin, as I stated under the WitD thread this was a diverse listing that seems to pay equal attention to the popular and the ecclectic, and I can't say enough how absolutely thrilled I am that you went with CRIES AND WHISPERS, which is also one of my favorite films of all time, as well as a major work from the man who I also consider the greatest in the history of the cinema. It was great to read of your personal experiences with the exposure to this film, and of your long-standing adoration for it. It's a film that endlessly rewards repeat viewings. As to the Bertolucci additions, I quite agree! Your impassioned veneration for APOCALYPSE NOW is also well noted here.

  2. The list starts to get really interesting when Roeg, Altman and Weir start showing up. It's a disgrace that Klute doesn't make the cut though.

  3. Oh, IL CONFORMISTA. I saw that twice in one day and seriously considered selling my camera afterwards. So much of that film grabs me, and if I start talking about it I will be here all night.

    (The scene where we're introduced to Giulia...the execution...the two guards carrying wings and a head...that scene at the end where Giulia looks up with hollowed-out eyes...the tableau, my god, the tableau.)

    Good list, that. Some unexpected choices and some classics. Any list with that much Altman is a good thing. :)

  4. Sam:

    These lists are a lot of fun. Thanks for hosting them. I'm sure there will be a lot more discourse once Alan starts unveiling his top 25.

  5. Betty:

    If by interesting you mean bad I can understand. My tastes are a bit unorthodox, and even though I ranked some of these films above others, that in no way means I think they are THAT much better. Sadly I haven't seen Klute, but I'm a big Pakula fan and have always been meaning to catch it. Maybe I'll do that this summer.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  6. Chelsea:

    I know of your love for Bertolucci's film quite well. It is undeniably a masterpiece, and is quite possibly the directors greatest film (although I slightly prefer The Last Emperor). It's a film I often refer to when I speak about the use of lighting. As always, thanks for stopping by!

  7. By 'interesting' I mean films that would probably appear on my list too. I thought the top 10 itself was a slightly dull selection, but since they are classics I can appreciate why they are there. Nicolas Roeg is the forgotten master of 70s cinema and it's always nice to see him make a list, especially "Don't Look Now" which I think wins out as the most sophisticated and cleverly made film of the 70s. Hal Ashby is another, but "The last Detail" over "Harold and Maude"?

    You should really make the effort to see "Klute" which I honestly think is the best American film of the 70s, and the best thing Pakula ever made. Jane Fonda deserves her oscar for it. I would be very surprised if it didn't make your list.

    I am also going to recommend a film I think it is 99% likely you have never heard of: "The Baby". Directed by Ted Post (a run-of-the-mill hack who directed a couple of Eastwood vehicles) and starring a bunch of actresses who went on to specialise in daytime soaps, the most famous of which is Ruth Roman who enjoyed a brief stint as Hitchcock girl. Can a film that no-one has ever heard of be that good? Well yes and no. It's exploitation origins shine through, but in its own way it's a masterpiece. It's a film that simply defies decription with an ending that will leave you absolutely speechless, and it's the very best kept secret of 1970s cinema.

  8. Betty:

    Thanks for clarifying. I love what you say about Roeg...he most definitely is one of the forgotten masters of the 70's. It just so happens that he's doing the film adaptation of Night Train, which is based on the book by one of my favorite authors Martin Amis. The casting looks good as it will be interesting to see how Roeg adapts Amis' very British take on the American crime story.

    As for The Last Detail I will say that I have a soft spot in my heart for that movie as it was one of the first vulgar films I ever saw...and I laughed all the way through it. It was also the first time I saw drama and comedy being blended together so seamlessly. You're right about Ashby's other films, though; but, the one with Nicholson will always be at the top for me.

    I will definitely look in to finding The Baby as you've definitely piqued my interest with your extolling of this little known film.

    Thanks for stopping by!