Top Five Favorite Movies from the ’70s

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

This week, it’s time to go back to the swinging ’70s and take a look at some of our favorite movies released that decade. Star Wars, The Godfather, Superman? Who made it, and who didn’t?


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  1. Trying to stay to five is tough so:
    Ones that are not picked as much but I have copies of (except The Conversation, which I really need to track down)
    The Conversation
    The Muppet Movie
    The Man Who Would Be King
    Blazing Saddles
    Young Frankenstien

    Ones that almost everyone picks and I think are great:
    Star Wars
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    • I was so close to putting “The Man Who Would Be King” in my compendium. It’s a movie where not much really happens, and even afterwards I didn’t think it had a big final act. But it’s memory lingers.

  2. 5 is hard. Particulary for me, I haven’t seen too many films from the 70’s.

    Dirty Harry. The Enforcer. Alien. A Fistful of Dynamite. Star Wars. This list would be waaaay different if I’d seen more.

  3. My five winners, along with the other nominees in no particular order…

    Action: The Spy Who Loved Me
    (The French Connection, Dirty Harry, King Kong, Rollerball)

    Comedy: Smokey & The Bandit
    (The Goodbye Girl, Young Frankenstein, Heaven Can Wait, Silver Streak)

    Obviously, these next two were the toughest…
    Horror: Halloween
    (Carrie, The Exorcist, Martin, Burnt Offerings)

    Sci-Fi: Alien
    (Westworld, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Damnation Alley)

    Drama: Being There
    (Breaking Away, The Last Picture Show, Murder on the Orient Express, The Great Santini)
    I don’t much like gangster or boxing movies, I guess…

    Musical: Saturday Night Fever
    (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Grease, The Muppet Movie, Charlotte’s Web)

    Even so, no foreign films included, and a crap-ton got left off!

  4. I’ll just mention two movies that have special resonance with me.
    1. Godzilla vs. Megalon
    IMDB says it had a US release date of 1976. This is the first movie I remember going to (my dad took me.) There was a guy in the lobby wearing a gorilla suit (don’t ask me why) handing out a comic book adaptation of the movie. I rooted for Megalon because I thought he looked way cooler than Godzilla. :)

    2. Prophecy (1979)
    No, not The Prophecy with Christopher Walken, it’s simply titled Prophecy. Caught this on TV a couple years ago and watched some of it. It’s pretty bad. :) The big deal was a mutant bear going around killing people. It’s on my list because, on one of our cross-country summer trips as a kid, we stopped at a gas station and I saw a billboard advertising the movie. The image of the embryonic mutant bear just fascinated my little mind. Ok, it scared me a little, too. :)

    • I swear I remember a double bill at the drive-in with The Prophecy and Food of the Gods (it may have been Prophecy/It’s Alive)… How I wish I could have driven in the mid to late 70’s… I would have lived at the drive-in every weekend.

  5. Matthew hit my #1 with the Warriors and Rodrigo with the Muppet Movie AND Blazing Saddles, so here’s my Top 5 not already mentioned on the show:

    5. Escape from the Planet of the Apes – The second best of the original Apes films, a helluva time travel story (which would also be on my list for Top 5 Episode #3) this one turns the PotA premise on its head, and is a weird mirror of the first film in that the Apes are now among modern humans. Great stuff.

    4. Smokey and the Bandit. Came out the same year as Star Wars, this low budget trucker chase movie is great. Released regionally at first, it became a national sensation. This movie sold as many black Trans-Ams as George Lucas sold plastic goo-gaws. I knew as many kids that wanted to be the Bandit as wanted to be Han Solo. I have a theory that Smokey and the Bandit is actually the story of Solo’s famous Kessel Run mentioned in Star Wars. Cledus, played by Jerry Reed is known as ‘the Snowman’… as in the Abominable Snowman, a Yeti, a giant hairy guy…you can see where I’m going here.

    3. The Hobbit – The Rankin/Bass adaptation of Tolkein’s original hobbit tale has much to answer for in my life as a nerd. Swords and Sorcery, dragons, trolls and goblins? All warped my tiny little mind when this aired on television in the late 70s. The music and voice work were really great and created a mood unique to any animation I’d seen at the time. Gollum, the Goblins and the Spiders scared the crap out of me. The reason was into D&D and why I read hundreds of fantasy novels in high school. Might be responsible for why I didn’t date much…

    2. The Omen – Scary stuff kids. What if your kid was the Antichrist? Bad stuff happens to everyone around you that’s what… I haven’t watched this in years cuz it freaks me out…a lot.

    1. Animal House – One of the best ensemble comedies ever, established the trope of Slobs vs Snobs as we understand it to this day. Mark Metcalf as Doug Neidermeyer sets an unmatched precedent as the snob you love to hate. One of the most quotable movies ever made…’Do you mind if we dance wif your dates?’ ‘OVER? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?’ ‘FOOOOOOD FIIIIIIGGGGHHHHHT!’ This movie never gets old for me. Also, great music.

  6. Too many to choose, brain melting…

    In no particular order:
    Blazing Saddles “Sheriff Bart: Good morning ma’am. And isn’t it a lovely morning? Little Old Lady: Up yours, ******!” That line kills me every time, specially how he’s all depressed afterwards talking with Waco Kid.

    Alien, saw it when I was 6 did not sleep well that night, thought it was a Star Trek movie at first.

    Black Christmas, the 1st “see the action through the killer’s eye” slasher.

    Being There, the proof that if enough idiots think it, the naked king does indeed wear fine clothes.

    Rocky, if there is one movie I have to watch when it’s showed on tv it is this one.

  7. Mathew Mite find this interesting to know that there was actually a game of The Warriors for either the Xbox or 360 that was one of the few not crappy movie video games it was essentially a beat em up following the plot of the movie

  8. The ones that almost made it on my list:
    Logan’s Run – great movie that got turned into a crappy TV Show
    Three Musketeers – with Raquel Welsh! What’s not to like? Boobies!!!
    Capricorn I – the movie played off the ridiculous conspiracy theory that we didn’t really go to the moon. I loved this movie until O.J. Simpson got away with murder, then I destroyed both my VCR and Laserdic copies and will never watch this movie again.

    NO. 5 – Superman! Mario Punzo – the hottest writer of the era doing the script? A super-star cast! Real money thrown at the special effects. Margo Kidder was a dog, but hey, can’t have everything. The reversing the spin of the world to turn back time knocked this back into 5th place. Ridiculous premise and could never happen. Why didn’t Superman just fly faster than the speed of light and go back in time, and fix things before they happened. BTW – the memory stealing kiss happened in Superman II.

    NO. 4 – Animal House! How could you not have this on your list! Most quotable movie ever! To many classic comedy scene to mention!

    NO. 3 – Little Big Man! Dustin Hoffman claiming to be the sole white surviver of the Little Big Horn! Chief Dan George steals the movie. General Custer as a raving egomaniac – and this was a comedy!!!

    NO. 2 – Young Frankenstein! How could you have missed this? Warewolf! There Wolf! There Castle! What Knockers! A true classic! Everything Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks has done after this has gone down hill!

    NO. 1 – Star Wars Episode IV! The first super-blockbuster event movie ever! It revitalized the Sci-Fi genre! We wouldn’t have ever gotten Aliens or more Star Trek if not for Star Wars. Oh, and tell Matthew he is completely wrong. I saw Star Wars in the theater in 1977, and it always had “Episode 4” at the opening verbage. What they added later was “A New Hope” – when it was released in 77 Lucas did it as a standalone film, aping the old movie serials, and a named title wasn’t necessary. He didn’t expect it to be a smash hit, and didn’t have the money to make other films. But, after only a month, the theaters put up big paper banners blocking out the series of 12 (count em) twelve movies that Lucas wanted to make in the Star Wars series! Only after the first trilogy was released they they go back and slice in “A New Hope”. Speaking of which, I firmly believe George Lucas HATES his fans. How else could you explain Ewoks, the two Ewok movies, the Christmas Special and Jar Jar Binks?

  9. Space Cadet Juan on

    Star Wars did not say “Episode IV” from the beginning. It was only after it was such a huge hit that sequels were warranted that the opening crawl was redone to include that.

    If you don’t believe me, about 4 years back Lucas released a DVD set that had both the original theatrical releases in addition to the “I totally fucked these up by endlessly tinkering with them” versions. You will see the opening crawl for Star Wars has neither the “Episode IV” nor is it yet called “A New Hope” The first movie, to me, will always be just plain “Star Wars”.

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