Top 100 Movies of the 1970’s

The films of the 1970s had a distinctive look and feel to them. New styles in filmmaking and the rise of independent filmmakers resulted in films that were more realistic and edgy.

Here are our selections for the top 100 English-language movies of the 1970’s that defined the decade.

1. Patton – Director: Franklin J. Schaffner (George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young and Michael Strong) Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North (7 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
2. M*A*S*H – Director: Robert Altman (Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman and Robert Duvall) Screenplay: Ring Lardner Jr. (1 Oscar out of 5 nominations)
3. Five Easy Pieces – Director: Bob Rafelson (Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Susan Anspach, Lois Smith and Ralph Waite) Screenplay: Adrien Joyce (4 Oscar nominations)
4. Women in Love – Director: Ken Russell (Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson and Jennie Linden) Screenplay: Larry Kramer (1 Oscar out of 4 nominations)
5. I Never Sang For My Father – Director: Gilbert Cates (Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Dorothy Stickney and Elizabeth Hubbard) Screenplay: Robert Anderson (3 Oscar nominations)
6. Love Story – Director: Arthur Hiller (Ryan O’Neal, Ali MacGraw, John Marley and Ray Milland) Screenplay: Erich Segal (1 Oscar out of 7 nominations)
7. Ryan’s Daughter – Director: David Lean (Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills and Sarah Miles) Screenplay: Robert Bolt (2 Oscars out of 4 nominations)
8. Diary of a Mad Housewife – Director: Frank Perry (Richard Benjamin, Frank Langella and Carrie Snodgrass) Screenplay: Eleanor Perry (1 Oscar nomination)
9. The Great White Hope – Director: Martin Ritt (James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Chester Morris, Hal Holbrook and Beah Richards) Screenplay: Howard Sackler (2 Oscar nominations)
10. Airport – Director: George Seaton (Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Barry Nelson, Dana Wynter, Lloyd Nolan and Barbara Hale) Screenplay: George Seaton (1 Oscar out of 10 nominations)
1. A Clockwork Orange – Director: Stanley Kubrick (Malcolm McDowell, Patrick MaGee and Adrienne Corri) Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick (4 Oscar nominations)
2. The Last Picture Show – Director: Peter Bogdanovich (Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Eileen Brennan) Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich (2 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
3. The French Connection – Director: William Friedkin (Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco and Marcel Bozzuffi) Screenplay: Ernest Tidyman (5 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
4. Harold and Maude – Director: Hal Ashby (Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles and Cyril Cusack) Screenplay: Colin Higgins (2 Golden Globe nominations)
5. Klute – Director: Alan J. Pakula (Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi and Roy Scheider) Screenplay: Andy Lewis and Dave Lewis (1 Oscar out of 2 nominations)
6. Sunday Bloody Sunday – Director: John Schlesinger (Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch, Murray Head and Peggy Ashcroft) Screenplay: Penelope Gilliatt (4 Oscar nominations)
7. Nicholas and Alexandra Director: Franklin J. Schaffner (Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Harry Andrews, Irene Worth, Tom Baker, Jack Hawkins, Michael Redgrave and Laurence Olivier) Screenplay: James Goldman (2 Oscars out of 6 nominations)
8. McCabe and Mrs. Miller – Director: Robert Altman (Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, John Schuck, Corey Fischer, Bert Remsen, Shelley Duvall and Keith Carradine) Screenplay: Robert Altman and Brian McKay (1 Oscar nomination)
9. A New Leaf – Director: Elaine May (Elaine May, Walter Matthau, Jack Weston, George Rose, James Coco, Doris Roberts and Renee Taylor) Screenplay: Elaine May (2 Golden Globe nominations)
10. Fiddler on the Roof – Director: Norman Jewison (Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Paul Mann, Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, Neva Small and Paul Michael Glaser) Screenplay: Joseph Stein (3 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
1. The Godfather – Director: Francis Ford Coppola (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and John Cazale) Screenplay: Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola (3 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
2. Cabaret – Director: Bob Fosse (Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey and Marisa Berenson) Screenplay: Jay Allen (8 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
3. Sounder – Director: Martin Ritt (Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Carmen Matthews, Taj Mahal and James Best) Screenplay: Lonne Elder III (4 Oscar nominations)
4. Sleuth – Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine) Screenplay: Anthony Shaffer (4 Oscar nominations)
5. Lady Sings The Blues – Director: Sidney J. Furie (Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan and Isabel Sanford) Screenplay: Chris Clark, Suzanne de Passe and Terence McCloy (5 Oscar nominations)
6. What’s Up, Doc? – Director: Peter Bogdanovich (Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn and Kenneth Mars) Screenplay: Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton (1 Golden Globe nomination)
7. Travels With My Aunt – Director: George Cukor (Maggie Smith, Alec McCowen, Louis Gossett Jr. and Cindy Williams) Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen and Hugh Wheeler (1 Oscar out of 4 nominations)
8. The Ruling Class – Director: Peter Medak (Peter O’Toole, Alastair Sim, Arthur Lowe, William Mervyn and Coral Browne) Screenplay: Peter Barnes (1 Oscar nomination)
9. Deliverance – Director: John Boorman (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) Screenplay: James Dickey (3 Oscar nominations)
10. The Poseidon Adventure – Director: Ronald Neame (Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Jack Albertson and Pamela Sue Martin) Screenplay: Stirling Silliphant and Wendall Mayes (2 Oscars out of 9 nominations)
1. The Exorcist – Director: William Friedkin (Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller and Linda Blair) Screenplay: William Peter Blatty (2 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
2. American Graffiti – Director: George Lucas (Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charlie Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Bo Hopkins and Harrison Ford) Screenplay: George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck (5 Oscar nominations)
3. The Sting – Director: George Roy Hill (Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan and Harold Gould) Screenplay: David S. Ward (7 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
4. Paper Moon – Director: Peter Bogdanovich (Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman and Randy Quaid) Screenplay: Alvin Sargent (1 Oscar out of 4 nominations)
5. The Paper Chase – Director: James Bridges (Timothy Bottoms, Lindsay Wagner, John Houseman, Graham Beckel, James Naughton and Edward Herrmann) Screenplay: James Bridges (1 Oscar out of 3 nominations)
6. Don’t Look Now – Director: Nicolas Roeg (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland) Screenplay: Alan Scott and Chris Bryant (1 BAFTA Film Award out of 7 nominations)
7. The Way We Were – Director: Sydney Pollack (Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand, Bradford Dillman and Lois Chiles) Screenplay: Arthur Laurents (2 Oscars out of 6 nominations)
8. A Touch of Class – Director: Melvin Frank (George Segal, Glenda Jackson, Paul Sorvino and K Callan) Screenplay: Melvin Frank and Jack Rose (1 Oscar out of 5 nominations)
9. The Last Detail – Director: Hal Ashby (Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Carol Kane and Michael Moriarty) Screenplay: Robert Towne (3 Oscar nominations)
10. Save the Tiger – Director: John G. Avildsen (Jack Lemmon, Jack Gilford and Laurie Heineman) Screenplay: Steve Shagan (1 Oscar out of 3 nominations)
1. Chinatown – Director: Roman Polanski (Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman and Diane Ladd) Screenplay: Robert Towne (1 Oscar out of 11 nominations)
2. The Godfather: Part II Director: Francis Ford Coppola (Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg and Michael V. Gazzo) Screenplay: Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola (6 Oscars out of 11 nominations)
3. Murder on the Orient Express – Director: Sydney Lumet (Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York and Colin Blakely) Screenplay: Paul Dehn (1 Oscar out of 6 nominations)
4. The Conversation – Director: Francis Ford Coppola (Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams, Michael Higgins, Elizabeth MacRae, Teri Garr, Harrison Ford and Robert Duvall) Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola (3 Oscar nominations)
5. Young Frankenstein – Director: Mel Brooks (Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr and Kenneth Mars) Screenplay: Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks (2 Oscar nominations)
6. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore – Director: Martin Scorsese (Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Alfred Lutter, Harvey Keitel, Diane Ladd, Vic Tayback, Valerie Curtin and Jodie Foster) Screenplay: Robert Getchell (1 Oscar out of 3 nominations)
7. Harry and Tonto – Director: Paul Mazursky (Art Carney, Herbert Berghof, Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, Chief Dan George, Barbara Rhoades and Cliff De Young) Screenplay: Paul Mazursky and Josh Greenfeld (1 Oscar out of 2 nominations)
8. Lenny – Director: Bob Fosse (Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Miner, Stanley Beck and Gary Morton) Screenplay: Julian Barry (6 Oscar nominations)
9. A Woman Under the Influence – Director: John Cassavetes (Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk and Fred Draper) Screenplay: John Cassavetes (2 Oscar nominations)
10. The Towering Inferno – Director: John Guillermin (Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner and Susan Flannery) Screenplay: Stirling Silliphant (3 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Director: Milos Forman (Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, William Redfield, Brad Dourif, Sydney Lassick, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Scatman Crothers) Screenplay: Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman (5 Oscars out of 9 nominations)
2. Nashville – Director: Robert Altman (Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Barbara Harris, Michael Murphy, Lily Tomlin, Gwen Welles and Keenan Wynn) Screenplay: Joan Tewkesbury (1 Oscar out of 5 nominations)
3. Dog Day Afternoon – Director: Sydney Lumet (Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, James Broderick, Lance Henriksen and Carol Kane) Screenplay: Frank Pierson (1 Oscar out of 6 nominations)
4. Jaws – Director: Steven Spielberg (Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss and Lorraine Gary) Screenplay: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb (3 Oscars out of 4 nominations)
5. Barry Lyndon – Director: Stanley Kubrick (Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee and Hardy Kruger) Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick (4 Oscars out of 7 nominations)
6. Picnic At Hanging Rock – Director: Peter Weir (Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse, Anne-Louise Lambert, Dominic Guard, Tony Llewellyn-Jones and Jacki Weaver) Screenplay: Cliff Green (1 BAFTA Film Award out of 3 nominations)
7. The Sunshine Boys – Director: Herbert Ross (Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin, F. Murray Abraham, Howard Hesseman, Ron Rifkin, Lee Meredith, Carol Arthur and Rosetta LeNoire) Screenplay: Neil Simon (1 Oscar out of 4 nominations)
8. Lies My Father Told Me – Director: Jan Kadar (Jeffrey Lynas, Yossi Yadin, Marilyn Lightstone and Len Birman) Screenplay: Ted Allan (1 Oscar nomination)
9. The Man Who Would Be King – Director: John Huston (Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer and Saeed Jaffrey) Screenplay: John Huston and Gladys Hill (4 Oscar nominations)
10. Shampoo – Director: Hal Ashby (Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill and Carrie Fisher) Screenplay: Robert Towne and Warren Beatty (1 Oscar out of 4 nominations)
1. Network – Director: Sydney Lumet (Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight) Screenplay: Paddy Chayefsky (4 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
2. All The President’s Men – Director: Alan J. Pakula (Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Meredith Baxter, Ned Beatty, Stephen Collins, Penny Fuller, Robert Walden and F. Murray Abraham) Screenplay: William Goldman (4 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
3. Taxi Driver – Director: Martin Scorsese (Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepard, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Leonard Harris and Albert Brooks) Screenplay: Paul Schrader (4 Oscar nominations)
4. Marathon Man – Director: John Schlesinger (Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane, Marthe Keller and Fritz Weaver) Screenplay: William Goldman (1 Oscar nomination)
5. Rocky – Director: John G. Avildsen (Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith and Thayer David) Screenplay: Sylvester Stallone (3 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
6. Bound for Glory – Director: Hal Ashby (David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland and Randy Quaid) Screenplay: Robert Getchell (2 Oscars out of 6 nominations)
7. Carrie – Director: Brian De Palma (Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, P.J. Soles and Priscilla Pointer) Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen (2 Oscar nominations)
8. Silver Streak – Director: Arthur Hiller (Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Ray Walston, Valerie Curtin, Scatman Crothers and Fred Willard) Screenplay: Colin Higgins (1 Oscar nomination)
9. The Omen – Director: Richard Donner (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Spencer Stephens, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson and Leo Mckern) Screenplay: David Seltzer (1 Oscar out of 2 nominations)
10. Family Plot – Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, William Devane, Ed Lauter, Cathleen Nesbitt and Katherine Helmond) Screenplay: Ernest Lehman (1 Golden Globe nomination)
1. Annie Hall – Director: Woody Allen (Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst and Christopher Walken) Screenplay: Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman (4 Oscars out of 5 nominations)
2. Star Wars – Director: George Lucas (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Alec Guinness) Screenplay: George Lucas (6 Oscars out of 10 nominations)
3. Julia – Director: Fred Zinnemann (Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards and Maximilian Schell) Screenplay: Alvin Sargent (3 Oscars out of 11 nominations)
4. The Turning Point – Director: Herbert Ross (Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Tom Skerritt. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne) Screenplay: Arthur Laurents (11 Oscar nominations)
5. The Goodbye Girl – Director: Herbert Ross (Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason and Quinn Cummings) Screenplay: Neil Simon (1 Oscar out of 5 nominations)
6. Equus – Director: Sidney Lumet (Richard Burton, Peter Firth and Jenny Agutter) Screenplay: Peter Shaffer (3 Oscar nominations)
7. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Director: Steven Spielberg (Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr and Melinda Dillon) Screenplay: Steven Spielberg (1 Oscar out of 8 nominations)
8. The Late Show – Director: Robert Benton (Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy, Eugene Roche and Joanna Cassidy) Screenplay: Rodolfo Sonego and Robert Benton (1 Oscar nomination)
9. 3 Women – Director: Robert Altman (Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule) Screenplay: Robert Altman (1 BAFTA Film Award nomination)
10. Saturday Night Fever – John Badham (John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller and Donna Pescow) Screenplay: Norman Wexler (1 Oscar nomination)
1. The Deer Hunter – Director: Michael Cimino (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Cazale and John Savage) Screenplay: Deric Washburn (5 Oscars out of 9 nominations)
2. Coming Home – Director: Hal Ashby (Jane Fonda, Jon Voight and Bruce Dern) Screenplay: Waldo Salt and Robert C, Jones (3 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
3. Days of Heaven – Director: Terrence Malick (Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard and Linda Manz) Screenplay: Terrence Malick (1 Oscar out of 4 nominations)
4. Midnight Express – Director: Alan Parker (Brad Davis, Bo Hopkins, Randy Quaid and John Hurt) Screenplay: Oliver Stone (2 Oscars out of 6 nominations)
5. Heaven Can Wait – Director: Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia and Jack Warden) Screenplay: Elaine May and Warren Beatty (1 Oscar out of 9 nominations)
6. An Unmarried Woman – Director: Paul Mazursky (Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates and Michael Murphy) Screenplay: Paul Mazursky (3 Oscar nominations)
7. Foul Play – Director: Colin Higgins (Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Burgess Meredith, Brian Dennehy, Rachel Roberts, Eugene Roche and Dudley Moore) Screenplay: Colin Higgins (1 Oscar nomination) 
8. Interiors – Director: Woody Allen (Diane Keaton, Mary Beth Hurt, Richard Jordan, E.G. Marshall, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton, Sam Waterston and Kristin Griffith) Screenplay: Woody Allen (5 Oscar nominations)
9. Halloween – Director: John Carpenter (Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis) Screenplay: John Carpenter and Debra Hill (1 Saturn Film Award nomination)
10. California Suite – Director: Herbert Ross (Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine and Walter Matthau) Screenplay: Neil Simon (1 Oscar out of 3 nominations)
1. Kramer vs. Kramer – Director: Robert Benton (Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander and Justin Henry) Screenplay: Robert Benton (5 Oscars out of 9 nominations)
2. Apocalypse Now – Director: Francis Ford Coppola (Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Larry Fishburne and Dennis Hopper) Screenplay: John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola (2 Oscars out of 8 nominations)
3. Alien – Director: Ridley Scott (Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto) Screenplay: Dan O’Bannon (1 Oscar out of 2 nominations)
4. Breaking Away – Director: Peter Yates (Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, Paul Dooley and Barbara Barrie) Screenplay: Steve Tesich (1 Oscar out of 5 nominations)
5. Norma Rae – Director: Martin Ritt (Sally Field, Ron Leibman and Beau Bridges) Screenplay: Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. (2 Oscars out of 4 nominations)
6. All That Jazz – Director: Bob Fosse (Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange and Ann Reinking) Screenplay: Robert Alan Aurthur and Bob Fosse (4 Oscars out of 9 nominations)
7. My Brilliant Career – Director: Gillian Armstrong (Judy Davis, Sam Neill and Wendy Hughes) Screenplay: Eleanor Witcombe (1 Oscar nomination)
8. Being There – Director: Hal Ashby (Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas) Screenplay: Jerzy Kosinski (1 Oscar out of 2 nominations)
9. The China Syndrome – Director: James Bridges (Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas) Screenplay: Mike Gray, T.S. Cook and James Bridges (4 Oscar nominations)
10. The Rose – Director: Mark Rydell (Bette Midler, Alan Bates and Frederic Forrest) Screenplay: Bo Goldman and Bill Kerby (4 Oscar nominations)

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