Films you have to see: the 70s

3년 전

Something staggering happened to film-making in the 1970s. It was a zeitgeist thing, to some degree. On the back of the swinging sixties, pervasive moral attitudes were changing, which unleashed a hurricane of visceral cinemaphotography. 

I may have more candles on my birthday cake than I am happy with, but I was too young to remember these films the first time around! Fortunately for me, mine was the first generation where VCRs were commonplace (although we had a Betamax!), and lax application of the certification system means I was exposed to a smorgasbord of wonderful film making at an early age. 


"I'll make him an offer he can't refuse"

The Godfather, Parts I and II

I am a Godfather nut. I wrote a dissertation on these films, which are based on Mario Puzo’s novel. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and starring Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino (with an incredible supporting cast), these movies have become a benchmark for modern cinema. Both films are three hours long, and I must have seen them both twenty times. Part II is marginally my favourite, but it’s a close run thing. 

Spoiler alert – The Godfather Part III nearly spoiled the franchise! In fact, it made it a franchise, and that rarely bodes well in film-making. 


"Mmm...Juicy Fruit"

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 

Based on Ken Kesey’s terrific book, this details the story of ne’er-do-well Randle McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson at his rapscallion best), a career criminal who faked insanity (or did he?) to avoid a jail sentence. He clashes with the terrifying Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher in a career defining role) in a film that amuses and appals in equal measure. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was the first film I ever saw on our family Betamax, and it affected me hugely.


 "We gotta play with more bullets."

The Deer Hunter 

Michael Cimino’s sprawling epic about the Vietnam war has some of the most harrowing scenes featured in cinema history. Be warned – the Russian Roulette scenes with a young Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro are staggeringly powerful. The Deerhunter is a little slow paced in the first half as it builds to its conclusion, but will stay with you for days afterwards. Weeks, even.


"Are you talking to me?"

Taxi Driver 

Robert De Niro owned the 70s. I would call his portrayal of damaged Vietnam Veteran Travis Bickle career defining if anyone else had played him, but De Niro’s body of work is stupidly rich, and it would do him a misjustice. And no-one else could have played the role anyway. Taxi Driver also features a very young Jodie Foster, and this role led to John Hinckley Jr trying to kill Ronald Reagan for her. True story.


"I love the smell of Napalm in the morning."

Apocalypse Now 

Another Coppola film, this deeply flawed story of the madness of the Vietnam war features some of the most iconic lines in cinema history. Apocalypse Now features Marlon Brando at his deranged best, and with a strong supporting cast of Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper and Robert Duval, the film has become notorious for the problems encountered in its production. It’s a hard watch, but indispensable.

There are so many more. It was a golden age.



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@matbaker i may be slightly younger an 80's child, but I totally agree with you.Such classic films.Films i ought to have not watched having been so young at the time.I blame my much older brother but I cant complain as I got to watch these superb films.Just the acting was far superior then I have seen.When films struck a cord with your soul they really are something. May I add totally agree with Godfather 3 why bother?! The mad thing watching these film as an adult cant believe how graphic they were but I didn't even notice at the time.


Yanno, I tried to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with my kids recently. I saw it at ten and it blew me away. I had never seen anything so powerful. My kids - 12 and 13 - couldn't cope with it. I fear we are cossetting them too much.


Well its funny you discuss that specific film as at secondary school that was our creating writing topic.We read the book and analysed the film to decipher the connotations behind it.Very powerful subject matters however I feel we mollie coddle our kids.I know I do! You will see in my latest blog I watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory.Yep and the Gene Wilder version thats how far I would go. But we do need to make them aware of these films.We watched at a very young age.We turned out ok.( Not to scarred) I THINK!


It was different though. Not sure how or why, but it just was. I will be introducing them to these films. I just need to be patient!

I will check out your blog! See ya there!