Welcome, one and all, to today’s list posting! This time around, I’m going to be heading back in time talk about my top five films from the 1970s. Now, I was born in 1984, so I didn’t get to see any of these until long after original their release date. Despite this though, there’s something about each of these that seems so undeniably enjoyable to me. So, let’s have a look at these five classics…
5) Jaws (1975)
Often cited as creating the ‘Summer Blockbuster’ genre, this adaption of Peter Benchley’s novel was a truly remarkable piece. Combining a strong cast, great practical special effects, and a story that’s unafraid to shock, the film was the first to give me nightmares. The shark, in particular, was a beautifully imagined mechanical beasty. In all, it still holds up well today and is well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet. Oh, and let’s not forget that iconic theme music!
4) The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Speaking of campy cult classics, this musical sci-fi comedy is another success story that is familiar to many people. Written by a pre-Crystal Maze Richard O’Brien, the original stage show was a surprise hit in 1973, and it didn’t long for the film rights to be snapped up. Parodying the B-Movies of the ’30s by way of catchy songs, the film featured a bunch of memorable characters, all brought to life by a memorable cast. From Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Susan Sarandon’s Janet Weiss to Meat Loaf’s cameo as Eddie, everyone seems to have a favorite. Plus, we all know how to do the Time Warp.
3) The Warriors (1979)
Based on a 1965 novel of the same name, The Warriors is perhaps one of the best-known examples of a ‘cult classic’. Garnering plenty of negative responses from critics, the film rose to fame thanks to a loyal fan base. Honestly, it would be fair to call it a little campy at times. The costumes are all very bright and recognizable – c’mon, who hasn’t seen a Baseball Fury at least once? – and the different gangs are pretty cheesy in their themes. Despite this though, the action holds up pretty well in most scenes, and the movie never drags to watch. Thrown in a great soundtrack, and this is a pretty fun watch.
2) The Exorcist (1973)
While William Peter Blatty has stated that he never intended or viewed The Exorcist as a horror film, the reaction it garnered from viewers would disagree. The film pushed boundaries that others didn’t in the era, and people were routinely seen fleeing from or vomiting in cinemas during its showings. The film featured some top-notch special effects, and not just when it came the possessed Reagan McNeil; no, many don’t realize that Max von Sydow was actually far younger than his character, Father Merrin, and that it was facial prosthetics that made him appear so old. This is a film that I spot new things in with each viewing. It’s a marvelous example of what you could do, even with our present-day modern effects.
Before we get to the top spot, there are a ton more great films from this era that just didn’t quite make my top 5. In no particular order, they include:
- Johnny Got His Gun (1971) – Rising to fame after being used in Metallica’s music video for the song ‘One’, this anti-war piece is a harrowing look at the aftermath of conflict.
- Moonraker (1979) – James Bond is in many ways a British tradition when it comes to films. This flashy outing for Roger Moore saw some great action sequences help guide it to being the highest grossing film of the franchise until Golden Eye.
- Robin Hood (1973) – A critical and financial success for Disney, it’s fallen out of favor in recent years. I still have a soft spot for it though, as do many others who first saw it as children.
- Rocky (1976) – This was one that I always remember watching with my Dad. While I did enjoy some of the sequels more, there’s no denying that this original really helped launch Sylvester Stallone to prominence.
- Alien (1979)
One of the newest films on the list, Scott Ridley’s 1979 sci-fi/horror film launched a full-blown franchise that has now encompassed multiple sequels, video games, comics, novels, and even toys. The film actually had a mixed reception upon release, but over time, this turned to near-unanimous love. While the cast all did a great job with their roles, it was Sigourney Weaver’s performance as the iconic Ellen Ripley that many remember. The H.R. Giger designed visuals also go a long way toward creating a sense of fear in the film, from the derelict ship where the crew encounters their first facehugger, to the full-grown xenomorph that stalks and kills the crew. For me though, what makes the film stand out is that, no matter how many times I watch it, I still start to think that everyone aboard the Nostromo could die.
So, those are my favorites, but what about you? How would your list look? Did you enjoy these particular titles? Let me know in the comments below.