The 1970’s brought us some of the most influential films in cinema history, saw Francis Ford Coppola at his best, and had clear influences from the Vietnam War. With powerhouses such as the Godfather parts 1 and 2, how do the finest films of the decade stand up against each other?
10. Chinatown- The classic film noir that would go on to influence great films such as L.A. Confidential, Chinatown sees Jack Nicholson play a P.I. that gets in way over his head and stubbles entertainingly into a web of lies of deceit.
9. Taxi Driver- The highlight from De Niro/Scorsese partnership depicting the life of the NY underground from the perspective of an ex-Vietnam war veteran turned cab driver. The depth in the portrayal of the chronically lonely man in a time filled with hardship is nearly unparalleled cinema.
8. Annie Hall- Woody Allen broke down the barrier between audience and actor by having his character talk directly to the camera in this classic romance film that is often regarded as his finest work with solid acting, a great comedic script, and a best picture Oscar to top it all off.
7. Jaws- This Spielberg classic remains one of the greats for its ability to be scary while staying away from classic horror clichés and providing us with depth-filled characters. Also, that soundtrack is iconic.
6. Alien- The supreme suspense and an incredibly iconic moment with the alien popping out of the man’s chest are just two of things that make this movie stand out from the rest of the sci-fi/horror group. A platform for Sigourney Weaver as an actress to showcase her true talent, and the film that put Ridley Scott on the map.
5. The Deer Hunter- Another Roman Polanski classic that uncompromisingly removes the glorified veil that cinema had placed on war by analyzing the connection between three friends pre, during, and post Vietnam war, with Russian roulette being one film’s primary foundations.
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- A movie filled with great performances, primarily from Nicholson, that uses a bleak and dark environment to throw in dashes of humorous banter in an altogether engrossing character study.
3. A Clockwork Orange- Stanley Kubrick at his most bizarre best in this film that is not only visually alluring and rich in a frenzied sort of way, but also provides as a interesting testament to the themes of freedom, youth, and anarchy.
2. The Godfather (parts I and II)- Regarded by many as the best film of all time, the Godfather and its sequel both serve as brilliant testaments to the pursuit of the American dream while vividly recreating the engrossing world of mafia and setting new benchmarks for American cinema as a whole.
1. Apocalypse Now- Haunting, chaotic, insane, and perfect in every aspect, Apocalypse Now takes cinema to new levels by using an influential time in American history to discuss various themes of insanity and desperation in uniquely visional manner.
Honorable Mentions: The Exorcist, French Connection, Star Wars: A New Hope, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Sting, Dirty Harry, All The President’s Men, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, Close Encounters of the Third Kind