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50 best movies from the 1970s

50 best movies from the 1970s

The 1970s were a magical time for movies, with a whole new crop of stars and directors becoming household names, from Robert Redford and Al Pacino to Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen. After the tumultuous Sixties that included the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War, America was a different place, and Hollywood reflected the changing culture like a cinematic mirror. Films started exploring new ground with changing gender roles, political mistrust, and more subversive forms of comedy. The result was a new era, both in American cinema and around the world.

To celebrate the cinematic heyday of the 1970s, this list was compiled to rank the best movies of the decade. Stacker compiled data on all 1970s movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to have a premiere date between 1970 and 1979, have a Metascore, and have at least 1,000 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating and votes. All data updated as of Jan. 12, 2020.

This decade, part of the "New Hollywood" era of movies, was led by the film school generation. These filmmakers challenged the traditional, stagnant perspective of Hollywood while also encouraging the academic study of film and distribution of international films. These latter initiatives really gave birth to the field of film criticism as we know it today. Which, in turn, has changed how films are crafted and made and led to the demise of the New Hollywood age at the end of the ‘70s.

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#50. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

- Director: John Carpenter
- Stacker score: 84.9
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 91 minutes

John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” came out several years before his well-known, cult classic flicks like “Halloween” and “The Thing,” but remains, in his own estimation, the most fun film he’s ever made. The action tale is about a group of unlikely allies, including a police officer, several criminals, and a secretary, who must work together in order to defend the precinct, and their lives, from a group of bloodthirsty gang members.

#49. Network (1976)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Iconic playwright Paddy Chayefsky penned the script and won the Academy Award for this satire of network news that shows an anchor vowing to commit suicide on the next nightly news broadcast. Named as one of the greatest American films of all time, “Network” cleaned up at the Oscars in 1977 with four victories from a grand total of 10 nominations, including five separate actor nods.

#48. All the President's Men (1976)

- Director: Alan J. Pakula
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 138 minutes

The Watergate story gets the cinematic treatment in “All the President’s Men,” the heroic tale of two Washington Post journalists who expose one of the biggest scandals in American political history. Acting icons Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman teamed up to play Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the journalists at the center of the expose, who wrote the book on which the film is based.

#47. Halloween (1978)

- Director: John Carpenter
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Just the mention of this horror film can trigger the menacing theme music in someone’s head. Jamie Lee Curtis was the breakout star of “Halloween," a horror movie classic about an escaped killer who returns home to continue his murderous ways. There have been 10 more “Halloween” movies made since including sequels, reboots, and sequels of reboots.

#46. Serpico (1973)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 130 minutes

The cop movie got gritty in the ‘70s with “Serpico.” Al Pacino stars as the title character, a good cop who breaks the unwritten rules of the New York Police Department to call out the corruption of his colleagues. The film grossed nearly $30 million, a huge success for the time.

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#45. The Last Detail (1973)

- Director: Hal Ashby
- Stacker score: 85.4
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Hailed as one of Jack Nicholson’s all-time best performances, “The Last Detail” follows two Navy lifers (played by Nicholson and Otis Young) who are tasked with escorting a young sailor from the brig to prison. After taking pity on the younger man, whose only crime is stealing $40, the duo decides to show him a good time before dropping him off. When it was released the film made headlines for its abundant use of profanity, including record-breaking instances of the F-word.

#44. Out 1 (1971)

- Directors: Jacques Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 729 minutes

Out 1” is a truly unique cinematic experience in many ways. Shot entirely in French and with no script, the movie, which takes place just after the civil unrest in the spring of 1968, has a 13-hour run time. Typically shown in 90- to 100-minute installments, the film lacks an easy-to-define plot but is essentially about the ways a pseudo-deaf-mute, a con artist, two theater troops, and a mysterious society called the Thirteen interact. While it certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, the experimental film has garnered plenty of critical praise.

#43. Deep Red (1975)

- Director: Dario Argento
- Stacker score: 85.9
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Released at the height of Giallo cinema (a mystery/thriller genre) in Italy, “Deep Red” has been deemed one of the style’s most definitive entries. The creepy film follows a musician who begins to investigate a series of murders committed by a perpetrator wearing leather gloves, and finding himself seemingly foiled every step of the way. The New Yorker affectionately called the film “over the top,” while acknowledging the way it shaped the genre and many modern-day horror films.

#42. The Sting (1973)

- Director: George Roy Hill
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Paul Newman and Robert Redford reunited with their “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” director George Roy Hill in this heist film about a pair of con men trying to run a grift on a mob boss (Robert Shaw). “The Sting” won Best Picture at the Oscars in 1974 and hauled a total of eight Academy Awards. Producer Julia Phillips made Oscar history as the first female producer to win a Best Picture statue.

#41. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 125 minutes

Al Pacino stars in a tale of a Brooklyn robbery gone bad that won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.Dog Day Afternoon” was adapted from a LIFE magazine story about the true-life event that inspired the film. The movie was added to the National Film Registry in 2009.

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#40. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

- Director: Víctor Erice
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 98 minutes

Widely considered one of the best Spanish films of all time, “The Spirit of the Beehive'' is set towards the end of Franco’s fascist regime and follows a young girl who becomes obsessed with the film “Frankenstein.” Roger Ebert described the film as a “poetic work about the imagination of children,” and praised the way it demonstrates how imagination can both lead us into trouble and set us free from it.

#39. Love and Death (1975)

- Director: Woody Allen
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 85 minutes

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were one of the most popular on-screen couples of the 1970s and this period satire transported them to Napoleonic-era Russia where they essentially became characters in a movie version of a classic Russian novel. Roger Ebert bestowed 3.5 stars upon the movie, which won a Silver Bear at the 1975 Berlin Film Festival.

#38. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 138 minutes

Considered a pinnacle of the science fiction genre, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” tells the story of a blue-collar worker who makes mankind’s first contact with extraterrestrial life. A passion project for director Steven Spielberg, the film faced several production obstacles, including running over schedule and over budget. Ultimately, the film ended up being a worthwhile endeavor, bringing in a stunning $116.3 million at the box office.

#37. The Passenger (1975)

- Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 126 minutes

In “The Passenger,” Jack Nicholson stars as a desperate journalist who steals another man’s identity, not knowing that he’s rebirthed himself as a wanted arms dealer. For years after its initial release, the film was unavailable to the public, as Nicholson (who owns the rights) kept it under lock and key until 2005, when it was re-released in theaters and on DVD, much to the delight of fans.

#36. Frenzy (1972)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 86.5
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 116 minutes

Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film “Frenzy” is a return to his roots: a macabre, sometimes humorous, thriller that follows a desperate RAF pilot who’s wrongfully suspected of being a serial killer. The only indicators that this movie wasn’t made during Hitchcock’s prime is the nudity and increased levels of on-screen violence.

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#35. The Deer Hunter (1978)

- Director: Michael Cimino
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 183 minutes

Meryl Streep's first Oscar nomination came for her work in "The Deer Hunter," which also won Best Picture, Best Director, and a number of other awards. The film made the after-effects of the Vietnam War real for audiences everywhere, with a story about three friends (Robert De Niro, John Savage, and Christopher Walken) who go off to war and return as broken men.

#34. Jaws (1975)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 124 minutes

Steven Spielberg scored the first big hit of his career with this tale of a great white shark haunting a New England beach town. “Jaws” was a massive success, and basically created the notion of a summer blockbuster, earning $100 million less than 60 days after its release. Its impact was so large that people are still afraid to go swimming in the ocean.

#33. Dirty Harry (1971)

- Director: Don Siegel
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 102 minutes

While Westerns were his main genre, Clint Eastwood found new life as a tough San Francisco cop searching for a madman bomber in “Dirty Harry.” The film was so successful that it spawned four sequels and changed police films forever.

#32. Breaking Away (1979)

- Director: Peter Yates
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 101 minutes

In “Breaking Away,” Dennis Christopher stars as Dave, a working class kid from Bloomington, Indiana who is so obsessed with the Italian cycling team that he “transforms” himself into a Italian exchange student and diligently trains for an upcoming race against his idols. The sunny, feel-good flick was nominated for several Academy Awards (taking home the trophy for Best Original Screenplay) as well as several Golden Globes (winning Best Film).

#31. Tristana (1970)

- Director: Luis Buñuel
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 99 minutes

An adaptation of an obscure novel by Benito Perez Galdos, “Tristana” follows a young orphaned woman who is subject to the romantic advances of her older, wealthy guardian while trying to carve out a life of her own. By the time of its release, Luis Buñuel had been working on the project for 20 years.

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#30. Don't Look Now (1973)

- Director: Nicolas Roeg
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 110 minutes

Based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, “Don’t Look Now” follows a couple who, while grieving the death of their young daughter, move to Venice and encounter two women who bring warnings from “the beyond.” A classic horror film, the movie is renowned for its unique editing style as well as the way it masterfully builds up tension, dread, and uncertainty on its way toward a truly creepy ending.

#29. Mean Streets (1973)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 87.5
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro star in this gangster flick about a small-time mobster who’s torn between love, his own higher morals, and devotion to his childhood friend who’s indebted to a number of violent creditors. While “Mean Streets” is, in many ways, a classic genre film, it stands apart thanks to its focus on sin, absolution, and redemption.

#28. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Legendary writer and director John Huston adapted Rudyard Kipling’s story about two British ex-soldiers who attempt in 1885 to become royalty in a Middle Eastern nation. Sean Connery and Michael Caine starred in the film, and Huston was Oscar-nominated for the script. The film was extremely well-received by critics and audiences alike.

#27. The Wild Child (1970)

- Director: François Truffaut
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 83 minutes

Based on the story of Victor of Aveyron, “The Wild Child” is about a young French boy who is found in the woods, having had no human contact for the first few years of his life, and the doctor who attempts to civilize him. Truffaut’s ninth feature film, the movie has been described as moving, lovely, and pure.

#26. Killer of Sheep (1978)

- Director: Charles Burnett
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 80 minutes

Charles Burnett made “Killer of Sheep” for $10,000 as his UCLA film school master’s thesis project. The movie, which never earned a wide release, is a collection of vignettes centering around a poor family in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. While it contains no central narrative, its near-perfect depiction of what life is like for Black Americans living in the ghetto earned the film legions of devoted fans.

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#25. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

- Director: Milos Forman
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 133 minutes

Jack Nicholson cemented his place in 1970s movie history with an Oscar-winning starring role in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the film adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel about a group of patients at an oppressive mental health facility. The movie took home an impressive slate of awards, including Best Picture at the 1976 Oscars and Best Motion Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes.

#24. A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

- Director: John Cassavetes
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 155 minutes

The third film collaboration between actor/writer/director John Cassavetes and perpetual muse Gena Rowlands was “A Woman Under the Influence.” Rowlands plays a woman committed to a psychiatric institution; the film explores the impact on her and her family. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1990, only the second year the registry existed.

#23. Barry Lyndon (1975)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 185 minutes

Adapted from an 1844 William Makepeace Thackeray novel, Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” details the rise of an Irish outlaw who falls in love with a rich widow and assumes the station of her husband, an aristocrat, in 18th-century England. Kubrick was Oscar-nominated for the prestigious trifecta of writing, directing, and producing but failed to win any of the awards.

#22. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

- Director: Elio Petri
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 115 minutes

A commentary on corruption, “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion” follows a high-level homicide detective who kills his own mistress, then deliberately plants evidence that should lead to his own conviction. The Italian crime flick won the Academy Award for Best Foriegn Language film.

#21. Patton (1970)

- Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 172 minutes

For almost three hours, viewers became engrossed in the life of one of America’s greatest generals while watching “Patton.” George C. Scott won the Academy Award for his role as the hero leader of the film, while the picture itself won seven total Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay for Francis Ford Coppola’s writing work.

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#20. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 88.5
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Film critic Roger Ebert called Robert Altman’s “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” a “perfect film.” The anti-Western, which subverts many of the classic Western tropes and conventions, follows a gambler and a prostitute as they become business partners, fall in love, and eventually square up against a larger corporation that is hell-bent on taking them and their thriving businesses out.

#19. Solaris (1972)

- Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 167 minutes

Remade in 2002, “Solaris” is often included in lists as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. The slow moving picture follows a psychologist who sets out to understand what’s happening on a Soviet space station, where several astronauts have died and the others are experiencing emotional distress. Through a series of (spoilery!) twists, the film explores our individual grasps on “reality” as well as the implications of virtual reality that were beginning to be discussed at the time.

#18. Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 140 minutes

In this crime caper, a recently-released thief, a prison escapee, and an alcoholic former cop team up to pull off an elaborate jewelry heist while being pursued by the mob. The film’s climactic scene, which lasts almost half an hour and contains almost no dialogue, is an iconic piece of modern filmmaking, establishing “Le Cercle Rouge” as a piece of classic cinema.

#17. Badlands (1973)

- Director: Terrence Malick
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 94 minutes

One of two Malick films to make the list, “Badlands” is about a murderous duo in South Dakota, with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek playing the killer pair. The movie was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1993.

#16. Days of Heaven (1978)

- Director: Terrence Malick
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Richard Gere had one of his first major starring roles in “Days of Heaven,” the Terrence Malick film about a farm laborer who convinces his girlfriend to marry a wealthy, but ill farm owner to inherit his fortune. The film tallied a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture - Drama and the BBC named it one of the greatest American films of all time.

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#15. The French Connection (1971)

- Director: William Friedkin
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Another crime story, this one features Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as New York narcotics cops who discover a massive cocaine smuggling ring by way of France. “The French Connection” was awarded the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1972, and the film picked up four more Oscar victories and a total of eight nominations.

#14. American Graffiti (1973)

- Director: George Lucas
- Stacker score: 89.1
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 110 minutes

George Lucas’ second feature film, “American Graffiti” is a coming of age story told through a series of vignettes set in Lucas’ hometown of Modesto, California. Over the course of one evening, four teenagers cruise around town, engaging in one last night of revelry, before making decisions that will forever alter the course of their lives. The movie was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar at the 1974 Academy Awards.

#13. Annie Hall (1977)

- Director: Woody Allen
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 93 minutes

Woody Allen’s only film to score Best Picture at the Academy Awards was “Annie Hall,” the story of an unconventional love pairing that explores not only the relationship between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton’s characters but also the true nature of love itself. The movie has earned nearly perfect scores from critics and grossed nearly ten times the film’s budget.

#12. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

- Director: Luis Buñuel
- Stacker score: 89.6
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 minutes

A surrealist and satirical film, “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” is a collection of scenes, some of which are dreams, that center around a group of six upper-class friends who are attempting to partake in a meal together. Luis Buñuel’s most successful film, the 1972 release took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

#11. Alien (1979)

- Director: Ridley Scott
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 117 minutes

As cinema advanced throughout the ‘70s, so did the special effects, and “Alien” took advantage of that with a story of a space vessel crew with an unexpected passenger. Director Ridley Scott had his first major box office hit and the film’s visual effects team took home the Oscar for their innovative work.

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#10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

- Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Upon its premiere, The New York Times called “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” a “marvelously particular kind of lunatic endeavor,” a phrase that seems to perfectly define this British comedy film. Written, performed, and directed by the Monty Python comedy troupe, the film is a parody of the King Arthur and Holy Grail legends, chock full of laugh-out-loud jokes that have become permanent fixtures in our pop culture lexicon. In 2005, the cult classic was turned into an award-winning Broadway show called “Spamalot,” which is slated to get a movie adaptation sometime this year.

#9. Chinatown (1974)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 130 minutes

A film noir story of murder, intrigue, and water rights captured the attention of America in 1974 when Jack Nicholson played private detective Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski’s period piece set in early 20th-century Los Angeles. A critical and commercial success, the film garnered Nicholson his fourth Oscar nomination and wound up on a number of AFI’s lists of best American films.

#8. The Last Picture Show (1971)

- Director: Peter Bogdanovich
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Director Peter Bogdanovich makes the list for the second time with “The Last Picture Show,” a black-and-white coming-of-age story of high schoolers in a small Texas town, featuring a cast of future all-stars. Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, and Randy Quaid all have roles in the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

#7. Nashville (1975)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 90.1
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 160 minutes

With 24 main characters, “Nashville” is a perfect example of director Robert Altman’s propensity for ensemble casts and complex storylines in his pictures. The musical docudrama follows a group of people involved in the gospel and country music industries, as they prepare for a concert that will benefit a populist outsider campaigning for president. Written in the direct aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the film is heavily political and perfectly depicts the country’s wary attitude towards all things political.

#6. Star Wars (1977)

- Director: George Lucas
- Stacker score: 91.7
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Another triumph of special effects, “Star Wars” blazed a new trail in science fiction filmmaking. The story of a futuristic world where good and evil are decided in space has earned legions of fans, several Oscars, and launched an entire galaxy of sequels.

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#5. Taxi Driver (1976)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92.2
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 114 minutes

Cinephiles everywhere left theaters saying, “You talkin’ to me?” after seeing “Taxi Driver” for the first time. Robert De Niro stars as an unstable cab driver who plots two assassinations that he believes will make him a hero to two women he’s grown attached to. It was the second De Niro-Scorsese collaboration and the movie was included as a Best Picture nominee at the 1977 Academy Awards.

#4. Apocalypse Now (1979)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 92.7
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 147 minutes

In the 1970s, it appeared that Francis Ford Coppola could do no wrong—“Apocalypse Now” is another example of that. Adapted from Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” the 1979 film updates the setting from the Congo to the Vietnam War and focuses on a rogue American military officer who tries to become a god to a Southeast Asian village. Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall starred in the Best Picture nominee from 1980.

#3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Runtime: 202 minutes

The mafia sequel based on Mario Puzo's book went back in time to show a younger Don Vito Corleone—with Robert De Niro playing the role Marlon Brando made famous—back in Italy, while his son Michael (Al Pacino) tightened his grip on his family in the present. The film is the rare sequel to earn the same level of accolades as the original, with an astounding eight Academy Awards going to Coppola’s film including Best Picture.

#2. The Conformist (1970)

- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Stacker score: 93.8
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 113 minutes

Legendary filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and the Coen Brothers frequently cite Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist” as having a significant impact on their own work, thanks to its distinctive techniques, arresting visuals, and unique storytelling methods. In the political thriller, audiences follow a young fascist who’s tasked with assassinating his former professor (a party enemy). It’s a story about the ease of sinking into a morally bankrupt ideology that remains all too relevant to today’s world.

#1. The Godfather (1972)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Runtime: 175 minutes

The most popular film of the 1970s is also one of the greatest crime movies of all time. “The Godfather” tracks New York’s Corleone crime family as Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) cedes power to his son, played by Al Pacino. In 1973, the film was named Best Picture and its impact went far beyond awards season. The movie has created its own subculture, with university classes, books, and more all following the massive success of the mob movie.

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