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10 Great Overlooked Films From The 1970s

10 Great Overlooked Films From The 1970s

If you’ve had a conversation with a serious cinephile in the last week or so, there’s probably only been one real subject of discussion. Well, once you’ve finished talking about “Heaven Is For Real,” anyway. Tuesday saw the release of a shiny new Blu-ray of the brand new restored version of William Friedkin‘s “Sorcerer.” Long unavailable on home video, Friedkin’s 1977 remake of “The Wages Of Fear” was an expensive flop buried in part by the release of “Star Wars,” but it has only grown in estimation over the years, and after a long legal wrangling, was finally reclaimed by the director last year, and hit stores earlier this week.

This means that one of the holy grails of 1970s American cinema has had its reputation mostly restored; what was dismissed in many quarters on release is now deemed to be one of the director’s finest films, to sit alongside “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection.” But the reevaluation of “Sorcerer” is only the tip of the iceberg: as one of the most celebrated decades in the history of the medium, there are plenty more relatively undiscovered classics where that came from.

Not everything can be “The Godfather” or “Nashville,” and so for every ’70s movie that won the acclaim they deserved, there’s another that was overshadowed or undersung, and is somewhat forgotten these days. In celebration of the release of “Sorcerer,” we’ve picked out ten other films from the 1970s that we love, but aren’t as widely known as they should be, in the hope that a reevaluation of the kind that Friedkin’s film has had might be forthcoming. Read our ten picks below — which are admittedly random and perhaps subjective, but hopefully off the beaten path enough to pique your interest — and pick your own favorites in the comments section below.

“Wanda” (1970)
Like Charles Laughton‘s “Night Of The Hunter,” “Wanda” belongs to the tiny sub-category of great directorial outings by actors who only helmed the one picture. Sadly, it’s nowhere near as well-known as Laughton’s masterpiece, but it certainly deserves to be. Barbara Loden was best known for her Broadway roles and a part opposite Warren Beatty in “Splendor In The Grass” (directed by her husband, Elia Kazan), but “Wanda” is sort of borderline revolutionary, a remarkable drama that presages contemporary independent cinema by several decades. Loden also takes the title role of a fading beauty in a Pennsylvania mining town who abandons her life to hook up with a bank robber. It feels like something of a parallel life for her — she hailed from a North Carolina background, and said in an interview “If I had stayed there, I would have gotten a job at Woolworth’s, I would’ve gotten married at 17 and had some children, and would have got drunk every Friday and Saturday night.” The result is like a European arthouse take on a Douglas Sirk film, meditative and bruising, with Loden the almost inscrutable and passive center of events. It carefully and compellingly walks the line between docu-drama realism and something more experimental (it feels like an obvious precursor to the modern slow cinema movement, and will test less patient viewers as a result). It’s a fascinating film about a fascinating woman (as much a rarity in the 1970s as it is now), and it’s a crying shame that Loden didn’t make a follow-up before her premature death from breast cancer in 1980.

“Martin” (1978)
George Romero
’s obviously best-known for his pioneering ‘Dead’ series of zombie films, most notably 1968’s “Night Of The Living Dead” and 1978’s “Dawn Of The Dead.” But Romero’s own favorite of his pictures is one that doesn’t have anywhere near the same kind of genre-changing reputation, in the shape of lo-fi horror “Martin.” And he might be right to consider it his best film. Romero abandons zombies to dig into, for the only time in his career, the vampire mythos, but it’s not quite that simple. The film centers on John Amplas’ title character, a young man who claims to be a vampire. Romero never includes any supernatural elements, and keeps it deliberately ambiguous as to whether that’s the case, or whether Martin is simply psychotic. The result is the most grounded genre film he ever made, and probably as a result, it might be his most terrifying: the psychology of the character, complete with a troubled relationship to sexuality and a powerful ego, seems drawn more from real-life serial killers than from Bram Stoker’s Count and his like. And yet Martin is curiously sympathetic too: Amplas’ finely tuned performance embodies a certain kind of adolescent desperation even as he’s draining blood from his victims. The film’s arguably limited by its budget in places, but the social satire and top-notch filmmaking of Romero’s Dead trilogy remains here in spades. “Let The Right One In,” among many others, simply wouldn’t exist without this one.

“Girlfriends” (1978)
It feels that for years, almost no one had seen “Girlfriends.” Claudia Weill’s film was overlooked on release, and severely neglected after, unavailable on DVD many years. But the film did have one notable supporter: Stanley Kubrick, who in an interview, famously said “I think one of the most interesting Hollywood films, well not Hollywood — American films — that I’ve seen in a long time is Claudia Weill’s ‘Girlfriends.’ That film, I thought, was one of the very rare American films that I would compare with the serious, intelligent, sensitive writing and filmmaking that you find in the best directors in Europe.” As with so many things, Kubrick was bang on. The script (by Vicki Polon) focuses on the friendship between Susan (Melanie Mayron), an aspiring photographer, and Anne (Anita Skinner), her apartment-mate, who’s on the verge of moving out, and their gradual estrangement over time. Shot gradually over a period of about a year or so, thanks to a grant from the AFI, and with a supporting cast including Bob Balaban, Eli Wallach and Christopher Guest. It’s to some extent a film of its time, dealing with the conflict between having a career and being a wife that would feel somewhat out of time now (or then again, perhaps not…), but there’s a universality to Susan and Anne’s friendship that means that it still feels as fresh as a daisy. Indeed, thanks to the patronage of Lena Dunham (who says she was introduced to the film after she broke through), and the success of “Frances Ha,” with which it shares a lot of DNA, the film’s finally starting to get the reputation it deserves, but there’s still some way to go.

The American Friend (1977) 
German filmmaker Wim Wenders is known for his ‘80s films, “Wings of Desire” and “Paris, Texas,” but he came up during the New German Cinema movement of the late 1960s and so some of his best work comes from his fertile 1970s period, though unfortunately, not a lot of prestige-y, Criterion-like DVD/Blu-Ray editions of these films exist. 1974’s “Alice in the Cities” (the first installment of his roadtrip trilogy) is on Hulu‘s Criterion Channel, so that’s probably getting some attention soon, but even more deserving is 1977’s moody and existentialist neo-noir, “The American Friend.” An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith‘s novel “Ripley’s Game” (the same character modern audiences would know best from 1999’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley”), Wenders’ film starred Dennis Hopper as Highsmith’s sociopathic career criminal Tom Ripley. Living abroad as a wealthy American in Hamburg, Germany, Ripley gets into the art forgery game where he meets a dying picture framer (played by Wenders regular Bruno Ganz). A shady associate (Gerard Blain) ropes Ripley into a contract hit to square some debts, but ever the slimy operator, the American realizes his “friend” — suffering from an incurable blood disease with nothing left to lose — can easily be manipulated into taking the job for him. Enigmatic and atmospheric, the dynamic within is not unlike Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train” but played out with a sinister, ambiguous slow-burn that’s hauntingly unnerving and featuring terrifically textured cinematography from the great Robby Müller (known for shooting a lot of the classic Jim Jarmusch films of the ’80 and ‘90s and a few Lars Von Trier movies). Wenders’ being the cinephile that he was couldn’t resist adding some notable, Godard-like cameos, giving roles to then-still-unsung living film legends Samuel Fuller and Nicholas Ray (he was so enamored of Ray he would immediately thereafter shoot “Lighting Over Water,” a “co-directed” documentary about Ray dying of cancer and coming to terms with his last days). Low on plot, high on mood and suffused with a sick air of desperation, the humanity (or lack thereof) in the movie is chilling and tragic — which is in itself fine reason to give this one a second look.

The Outfit (1973) 
Grim, dark and downright nasty, when one realizes the director of the overlooked crime/revenge noir “The Outfit” is John Flynn, it all starts to makes sense. Flynn of course, directed the notoriously violent revenge movie “Rolling Thunder” (another picture that could have easily made this list). If the movie feels like it shares some of the narrative severity of John Boorman’s similarly unflinching crime drama “Point Blank” that’s because they’re both based off the same source material: Richard Stark’s thriller “The Hunter.” Fresh out of a long stint in prison, Robert Duvall stars as a hardened thief with steely resolve who learns that his brother has been murdered by two mob hit men. Exacerbating his anguish and anger, now that he’s out, the criminal learns that he and an old partner are on the next hit list for a previous bank crime connected to the same organization that offed his brother. Fuelled by the promise of bloody retribution, Duvall’s character than decides to go on a merciless offensive, and his vicious and violent vendetta essentially takes down every individual from the inside one by one. There’s a terrific supporting cast too: Karen Black as his girlfriend, excellent character actor Joe Don Baker as the partner he tries to warn and save, the great Robert Ryan who plays the lead mobster and various thugs played by Timothy Carey, Richard Jaeckel and Bill McKinney (let’s not forget Anita O’Day; Marie Windsor and Elisha Cook, Jr., who like Ryan and Carey, also appeared in Kubrick’s “The Killing”). Nicely unpolished and harsh-around-the-edges thanks to DP Bruce Surtees (Clint Eastwood‘s DP on many of his similarly bleak ’70s pictures), there’s so much to love in this fierce and unforgiving picture. It’s doubtful any special editions are going to come and give this one more play, but it’s available on the Warner Archive, so if you love down-and-dirty ‘70s crime films, we certainly recommend you add it your collection.

“Smile” (1975)
Better known for his later commercial work like “The Bad News Bears,” “The Golden Child” and “Fletch,” Michael Ritchie’s often overlooked by cinephiles in the 1970s-auteur club, and that feels like something of an injustice — it’s hard to think of a more impressive opening salvo in a career than 1969’s “Downhill Racer,” 1972’s “The Candidate,” the same year’s “Prime Cut” and 1975’s “Smile.” The latter in particular is overlooked even within Ritchie’s canon: a gentle, occasionally caustic but mostly warm satire looking behind the scenes at the fictional Young Miss America beauty pageant, with Bruce Dern’s head judge, Barbara Feldon’s executive director, and contestants including Melanie Griffith, Annette O’Toole and Colleen Camp all cropping up. The film feels like the midpoint of Robert Altman and Hal Ashby, and perhaps one of the reasons it’s been overlooked is that it arrived the same year as two similar masterpieces from those directors, in “Nashville” and “Shampoo,” and if this isn’t quite as flawless as those films (it’s admittedly somewhat sprawling and unfocused), it’s nevertheless worth a watch for many reasons. The performances, especially from Dern, Feldon and Michael Kidd, are uniformly top-notch, and Ritchie carefully balances the tone, stopping it from getting too broad while still highlighting the total absurdity of the institution he’s digging into, and making broader points about relations between the genders while he’s at it. Subsequent beauty-pageant movies like “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and “Little Miss Sunshine” have tended to feel like pale imitations next to it.

“The Shout” (1978)
Despite winning the Cannes Grand Prix, Jerzy Skolimowski’s “The Shout” has largely fallen into obscurity since. Partly that’s because the film’s been unavailable on DVD stateside for many years, and partly it must also be due to the odd career arc of its director: after critical successes (1967’s Berlin-winning “The Departure” and 1970’s “Deep End” among them) and a 30-year career, the Polish filmmaker stopped making films for 17 years, and his legacy became somewhat neglected. But if his successful return (2010’s “Essential Killing” won the Special Jury Prize in Venice) spurs interest in his catalogue, “The Shout” feels ripe for rediscovery. It’s a creepy, deliberately confusing, enigmatic story, told in flashback by asylum inmate and unreliable narrator Crossley (Alan Bates) while he adjudicates a cricket match. It details how he terrorized a young couple (Susannah York and John Hurt) in their home in the English countryside, using only the magical powers he’d learned from some Aboriginal Australians, including the titular shout — so dreadful that all who hear it instantly die. As silly as it sounds, the atmosphere of disquiet Skolimowski builds has something of “The Wicker Man”’s uncanniness about it — primitivist voodoo knitting itself into a banal village setting. Based on the short story by Robert Graves (played by Tim Curry in the film, which also features Jim Broadbent), lies and truth constantly battle and you’re never sure what’s real, but the cleverest trick is how the horror of being magicked into subjugation is superseded by a more unsettling suspicion: that the madman Crossley is a charlatan whose only real power is that of suggestion over weaker minds. And possibly sheep.

“Johnny Got His Gun” (1971)
As you might imagine for someone who inspired both a documentary (2007’s “Trumbo”) and an upcoming biopic starring Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo led quite a storied life: blacklisted as part of the Hollywood Ten, winning two Oscars for his fronts while being unable to work (for “Roman Holiday” and “The Brave One”), and penning “Spartacus” (while his unmade script “Montezuma” is currently set to be directed by Steven Spielberg). But one of his finest achievements is one that’s so often overlooked: his sole directorial effort, an adaptation of his 1939 National Book Prize-winning novel “Johnny Got His Gun,” which Trumbo had initially wanted Luis Bunuel to direct. Timothy Bottoms plays Joe Bonham, a young World War One soldier left without limbs, eyes, ears and a mouth after being hit by a shell, a prisoner in his own body. He drifts between flashback and fantasy, remembering his girl back home, his father (Jason Robards) and even imagining dialogues with Christ (Donald Sutherland) before expressing a wish to either be allowed to die, or being displayed in a freak show as a demonstration of the horrors of war, neither of which the Army bureaucracy allows him to do. The film is unrepentantly a piece of anti-war propaganda, but manages to avoid feeling like it’s bashing you over the head, instead emphasizing the human loss created by conflict. Trumbo’s direction isn’t always subtle, but the more surreal touches are inspired enough, and his facility with actors so evident, that you wish he’d been allowed behind the camera more often. As it was, the film won the Grand Prix at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, but has been generally overlooked since. Time to change that, we’d say .

“Robin And Marian” (1976)
More than most, and despite his later blockbuster work on the likes of “The Three Musketeers” and “Superman II,” Richard Lester is associated inextricably with the 1960s — Lester practically invented, or at least captured, the Swinging Sixties thanks to directing “A Hard Day’s Night,” “The Help,” “The Knack or How To Get It” and “Petulia.” But one of his finest and most mature films came slap-bang in the middle of the 1970s, in the shape of “Robin And Marian.” The film is the kind of expansion of a pre-existing property or legend that’s pure multiplex fodder these days, but this is a much more melancholy take, closer to Billy Wilder’s “The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes” (another under-sung 70s classic) than to, say, Ridley Scott’s more recent version of the tale. Set many years after the prime of Robin Hood (Sean Connery), it sees the bandit returning to England after the death of Richard the Lionheart, and reuniting with Maid Marian (Audrey Hepburn, in her return to the screen after eight years away), only to come into contact with King John (Ian Holm) and the Sheriff Of Nottingham (Robert Shaw) once again. There’s a certain amount of derring-do involved, with some satisfying action that sees Lester importing his skills from the ‘Musketeers’ films that preceded this, but what lingers is the autumnal, elegiac tone of the film (which ends with a suicide pact between the title characters). And among a very fine cast also including Denholm Elliott, Nicol Williamson and Ronnie Barker, Connery and Hepburn give arguably the best performances of their careers. It might not be as restlessly inventive as the best of Lester’s 60s output, but it’s just as memorable.  

“Fat City” (1972)
John Huston was a true legend of the medium, a filmmaker who made classics from his first film (1941’s “The Maltese Falcon”) to the last (1987’s “The Dead”), with plenty of classics in between, as well as plenty of stinkers. Aside from the glorious “The Man Who Would Be King,” his 1970s work isn’t especially highly regarded, but that ignores the two terrific films he made in 1972: “The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean” and, most importantly for our purposes here, “Fat City,” a sober, downbeat drama that stacks up among Huston’s very best films, even if it’s not really remembered as such these days. It pairs up Stacy Keach and a just post-“The Last Picture ShowJeff Bridges as respectively, a burnt-out aging boxer and his young protege, but the film resists straying anywhere near a sports-movie narrative: this is a delve into the grittier, more desperate side of life, full of broken dreams and getting the tar beaten out of you for $100 a bout. The film has a careful, slow energy which is a real testament to the way that Huston kept evolving as an artist through his career (it’s much closer to the New Hollywood films that were its contemporaries than you’d imagine for a man of his vintage), is gorgeously shot by the great Conrad Hall, and features two titanic performances from the brash, jockish Bridges, and especially, the pathetic (in the truest sense) Keach. In an alternative, better world, this, and not “Rocky,” is the seminal boxing film of the 1970s.

Honorable Mentions: Honestly, we could do this all day, but we’ve all got homes to go to. But if this is whetted your appetite, there’s plenty more where these came from. We wrote about some under-sung 1970s thrillers last year, including Sidney Lumet‘s “The Offence,” the Walter Matthau-starring “The Laughing Policeman,” Robert Aldrich‘s bonkers “Twilight’s Last Gleaming,” while an earlier similar piece showcased the great “The Friends Of Eddie Coyle,” Dustin Hoffman vehicle “Straight Time,” Michael Ritchie‘s “Prime Cut” and great cop movie “The Seven-Ups.”

And among the other films from the era that are worth a mention, there’s James William Guerico‘s “Electra Glide In Blue,” Peter Hyams‘ “Busting,” Ingmar Bergman‘s “The Touch,” Alan Arkin‘s “Little Murders,” Arthur Penn‘s “Night Moves,” Hal Ashby‘s “The Landlord,” Stephen Frears‘ “Gumshoe,” Elaine May‘s “Mikey & Nicky” and “A New Leaf,” Jerry Schatzberg‘s “Scarecrow,” Robert Altman‘s “California Split,” Martin Ritt‘s “The Front,” Sidney Pollack‘s “The Yakuza,” Don Siegel‘s “Charley Varrick,” James Toback‘s “Fingers,” Mike Hodges‘ “Pulp,” John Schlesigner‘s “Day Of The Locust,” Paul Schrader‘s “Hardcore,” Arthur Hiller‘s “The Hospital,Robert Benton‘s “The Late Show” and Jonathan Demme‘s “Handle With Care.” Any others we’ve missed? Let us know below. — Oli Lyttelton, Jessica Kiang, Rodrigo Perez

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Great list but I would add BLUME IN LOVE (Paul Mazursky- 1973)


Great comedies: Howard Zieff's SLITHER with an understated James Caan, Cassavetes' MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ with the best worst date scene ever between Gena Rowlands and the great unsung Val Avery, Mike Leigh's NUTS IN MAY (originally for TV).


Great comedies: Howard Zieff'S SLITHER by starring an understated James Caan, Cassavetes' MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ, Mike Leigh's NUTS IN MAY (originally a TV movie).


I don't know if anyone mentioned Ted Kotcheff's "Wake in Fright" yet but if you haven't seen it definitely seek it out.A truly powerful and disturbing madhouse of a film about an Australian teacher that goes on an epic drunk during his vacation in a crazy little town in the outback.Just NUTS.


The Driller Killer. Very underrated film.

Sean Sweeney

Great list, great suggestions The Wanderers, Duck You Sucker and Over The Edge are some of my favorites.

Some favs that I think have never gotten official DVD releases in America…
State of Siege
Movie, Movie
Looking for Mr Goodbar
Little Darlings
Saint Jack
American Hot Wax (never on VHS either)

Some other favs from the 70s that are often overlooked and could use the Criterion treatment….
Black Sunday – (Frankenheimer)
Bless the Beast and the Children
Blue Collar
The Day of the Jackal (Zinnemann)
The Driver
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
King of the Gypsies
The Onion Field
Real Life
The Silent Partner
Where’s Papa


Three Women by Altman. Incredible film.


One word: PAYDAY.

Rip Torn as a drunken, pill-popping SOB country singer.

Absolutely incredible.

Oh, and THE ANGEL LEVINE: Harry Belafonte is a dead thief turned angel-in-training, and Zero Mostel is the desperate old man he's sent to help. Really a fascinating little film.


    I’d like to voice my fondness for titles already mentioned: Straight Time, Bad Company,Payday, The Wanderers, Blue Collar, Deep End, Smile and Electra Glide in Blue.

    Some other overlooked 70’s gems that are worth checking out:
    -Dusty and Sweets McGee
    -The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie
    -Unman Wittering and Zigo
    -Mean Dog Blues
    -The Boss’ Son
    -Dirty Little Billy
    -The Reincarnation of Peter Proud
    -Between the Lines
    -Chilly Scenes of Winter
    -Short Eyes
    -Gal Young ‘Un


Great list and great comments. I essentially agree with what everyone has suggested. I personally would add GOING IN STYLE, THE WANDERERS, OVER THE EDGE, THE SQUEEZE in terms of films that haven't been mentioned.

Christopher M

I nominate Zulawski's "The Main Thing is to Love". It's kind of bonkers, but brilliant.


Been mentioned already. Worth reiterating. Straight Time. Ulu Grosbard took over directing after Dustin Hoffman stepped down. Adapted from Eddie Bunker's novel. If you don't know who Bunker is look him up. Influenced a ton of crime films of the 70s 80s and 90s. John Voights hair moustache and make-up is Mr. Bunker in Heat. Which Michael Mann had a pass on this script. Film stars Hoffman, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey, Barbara Hershey, M. Emmit Walsh, Kathy Bates. This submission is for newbies to the 70's. I'm sure many readers and the writer of this article know it. Also one more film Cassavette's Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzarra outstanding.


j'aime les films antiques

Sebastian Hau

Sydney Pollack, Castle Keep

Jon Jost

As the magazine is called "Indie" why not list a real indie film, compared favorably with, say, Wanda on your list. Last Chants for a Slow Dance. 1977.
You can buy DVD from me, $30 + $3 shipping USA, +$2 if by PayPal.
Last Chants cost $3000 to make in 16mm color synch sound. Google it.

El Goro

Looks like the only one I've seen is Martin, though I am familiar with Johnny Got His Gun thanks to Metallica's "One" video.

Ted Hicks

Have seen all on the main list except "Wanda," and agree that they're all very strong films. Am surprised no one has mentioned Arthur Penn's great "Night Moves" (1975), a neo noir if there ever was one. His "Missouri Breaks" the following year is a bit of a mess, but has some very good moments; Harry Dean Stanton is a standout.


Once again, everyone omits Sergio Leone's best film, "Duck You Sucker." Of all his ground breaking wild and weird films, this one stands out. It stars James Coburn as a fugitive from the troubles in Ireland and Rod Steiger as a country bandit who dreams of hitting a bank in the small town of Mesa Verde. It's a rich and complex study of the Mexican Revolution and rewards multiple viewings. Despite being released in the U.S. in a severely cut version, it offers more depth and insight than any other Leone film. With great music by Ennio Morricone. Check it out on DVD if you don't believe me. It's a masterpiece.


Little Murders is a far more interesting film than almost all on this list.

James Smith

Some of my favorites that haven’t been mentioned:
Cisco Pike – Kris Kristofferson, Gene Hackman.
Desperate Characters – Shirley MacLaine, Kenneth Mars.
Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx – Gene Wilder, Margot Kidder.

Chris Doherty

Who'll Stop the Rain – Karel Reisz (1978) for the amazing Robert Stone dialog (much of it straight from the book) and outstanding performances from the whole cast.

The Boys in Company C – Sidney J. Furie (1978) Lee Ermey's debut, for the script, the performances and capturing the essential blundering absurdity of that war. It's a "War Movie" set in a combat zone, but much more "Catch-22" than "Sands of Iwo-Jima"

And YES! Smile! which is a much more vicious indictment of middle class hypocrisy than you make it sound.

Max VonMeyerling



Lots of great suggestions here (in the article and in the comments). Thanks! And….
All 70s Wim Wenders
All 70s Eric Rohmer
All 70s Mike Leigh
All 70s Truffaut
All 1970-77 Robert Altman
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi, 1978)
Every Man For Himself (Godard, 1979)
Jonah Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000 (Alain Tanner, 1976)
King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (1970)
La Rupture (Claude Chabrol, 1970)


Any film from Marco Ferreri of that period!!!


Great article, this is why I keep coming back to this site. But I have to agree with Yep: why give away the ending to Robin and Marian? Surely you could have just said that the ending was memorable? Try to stay away from spoilers, guys, even when discussing older movies. There's really no need for them and you should know better.


John Milius' DILLINGER.


Excellent list! I thought for sure you'd include Milos Foreman's "Taking Off" in your honorable mentions. I'm adding a bunch of these to my watchlist.

Rick Libott

ROBIN AND MARIAN doesn't end with a suicide pact, but with a murder-suicide.

Jason Ulane

Great list. Agree about Bad Company – it's a neglected film that needs to be rediscovered. I'd throw in Aldrich's Hustle in there, and also say that Michael Richie probably was one of the best director's of the 70's – The Candidate, Prime Cut and Smile all are amazing movies.

Sanker fro. India

I shouldn't say this. I really shouldn't. I'm sorry. I love Short Cuts. I watched this next film I'm gonna mention twice. I love the ending. I really really tried loving it all. But it leaves me cold. I feel horrible about it but this movie just doesn't give me anyway to love it. I'm sorry again. The 70s "classic" that did nothing for me was…



Good of you to include Wim Wenders's "The American Friend". This was the best movie based on Tom Ripley character alongside "Purple Noon". I hope more people will see it.
I'd like to recommend these movies:
– THE GREAT WHITE HOPE (Drama) with James Earl Jones dir. by Martin Ritt
– BURN ! (Drama,Thriller) with the great Marlon Brando
– SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (Drama) with the great Paul Newman and Henry Fonda dir. by Paul Newman
– CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (Drama) with the almighty Jack Nicholson dir. by Mike Nichols
– THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (Drama) with Al Pacino
– SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY (Drama) with Piter Finch
– THE HEARTBREAK KID (Comedy) with Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd …
I have a bunch of great movies to recommend… I'll give more in the future… ;-)
and especially Wim Wenders "road triology" that contains


I just added some new films to my list of films to watch.

I also think that Joan Micklin Silver's 1975 film Hester Street is overlooked a lot. Carol Kane was awesome in it and its a really interesting story.


More of these, please!


Robin and Marion is excellent, but why did you have to give away the ending? I saw it with my father as a kid and will never forget that movie, especially the ending. It is so touching and well acted.

cinema expert

"The Offence," connery most disturbing performance

"The Friends Of Eddie Coyle," mitchum best after farewell my lovely

"Straight Time," rian man as a violent ex con

"Prime Cut" Hackman versus lee marvin

"The Seven-Ups." worth a look for the car chase

"Scarecrow," hackmans favourite film

"Fingers," beat that skipped my heart

"Day Of The Locust," burgess meredith best performance

"Hardcore," reminds me of in the valley of elah


I think a good inclusion would've been Bad Company ('72) starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Robert Benton. I still don't know why Barry Brown didn't become more popular than he did.


This piece is one of many reasons why I stick around this place. Well done. "Smile" will always rule in my book.


Excellent list. For me, "The Terminal Man" even more than "Pulp" in the under-appreciated Hodges category.

Andy Rubio

Alain Tanner's 1970s films including Messidor, Middle of the World spring to mind. Billy Wilder's Fedora anyone? The Patriot by Alexander Kluge. Alain Renais' Providence. And so on…


Great job on mentioning Martin!!, that was one of the very first films I saw as a young cinephile and no matter how much time passes I still enjoy the hell out of it, brilliant, brilliant movie. Cannot recommend it enough.

Also, you missed Wise Blood, also my favorite Houston, it has a great performance from Brad Dourif and it has one of the quietest, most powerful endings I've ever seen. It's one of the few movies I can recommend watching before reading the novel.


Great list, especially Wanda, a sadly under-recognized American masterpiece.

I'm not as keen on Fat City as much as some people. I actually prefer one of his other 70s film, Wise Blood (actually my favorite Huston).


Well done! Was expecting some regulars.
Would've liked a little more on "Little Murders" but hey, glad it got a mention!
Also, I'd toss in "Deathdream"


Wow, awesome list. Haven't even heard of a lot of these.


interesting that you list fat city on here, when a few years back on the old blogspot sight, one of you wrote a juvenile, negative review of it. still feel the same?

Scott Cooper

Great list!


Good lists. Here's a few:
THE OUTSIDE MAN – Jacques Deray 1972
THE LAST RUN – Richard Fleischer 1971
THE HIRED HAND – Peter Fonda 1971
DEEP END – Jerzy Skolimowski 1970

Nathan Duke

Overlord, The Ascent, Who Can Kill a Child?, Rolling Thunder, Siberiade and The Tree of Wooden Clogs. Some of these are pretty well regarded, but not mentioned very often.

Robert Reynolds

Great list. Just a few that I would add: Sometimes a Great Notion, Scarecrow, and one of my fav sports type of movie (not to mention the underrated Nick Nolte) North Dallas Forty. That movie came the closest to describing professional sports as they are. I’ve seen it many times and always love it.


“Watermelon Man” starring the late, great comic Godfrey Cambridge. Amusing racial satire about a white bigot who becomes black and experiences racism on the receiving end. I never crossed paths with many people who heard of it. I encountered even less who saw it.

Ned Daigle

My list would include:

The Phantom of the Paradise
The Last of Sheila
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
Massacre at Central High
A Wedding
The Last Wave
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Private Parts

Nicholas Gregory Schwab

If we are strictly talking about ‘American’ films from this time period…. here are some good horror films that have not been mentioned yet from this time period…..

1. Messiah of Evil (1973)– A fine zombie mood piece.

2. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)- A daydreamy horror film with a vibe akin to the story, The Yellow Wallpaper.

3. Blood and Lace (a fine and offfensive exploitation film.)

4. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark (1973, TV film)– Despite the (crappy) remake the original is underseen. But it is a great film, though.

5. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)– One of the best slasher films ever.

6 & 7. Helter Skelter(1976)/ The Deadly Tower (1975)– The Manson film is somewhat known, but I was surprised it has so few votes on IMDB. It’s a great True Crime film, though. The Charles Whitman film is very underseen, and is quite good, as well, and Kurt Russel plays Whitman quite well.

8. The Crazies (1973) Despite the modern (and quite good, even better) remake this is a good Romero film. It places less emphasis than the remake on scares, more on social/political commentary surrounding Vietnam.

9. Black Christmas (1974)– While more of a Candian production, the United States did have a hand in its production (the Famous Players Production house is American.) And its director, Bob Clark, is an American. It’s probably THE BEST slasher film ever, as well as The scariest of that type, and One of The funniest (the Porky’s director balanced comedy and horror here long before John Landis did in American Werewolf in London.) Needless to say, it’s very different than its intentionally-awful remake.

2 more (non-horror)

1. The Beguiled (1971) The remake is out soon by Sofia Coppola, and hopefully, that will get this original more love.

2. The Mechanic (1972)– Despite the remake and it being a Charles Bronson Picture, this doesn’t even have 10,000 votes on IMDb. Good movie, though.

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