For some, a look back at the classic movies of the 70s means a look back at corny films. For most of us, these movies are nostalgic gems that helped shape how we grew up, and shaped the memories we have of that time.
The 1970′s offer up an amazing variety of classic movies due to the less stringent cinematic protocols of the 60′s. Everything from language, sexuality and violence became more widespread and gave rise to a new breed of directors and experimental film-makers known as “Movie Brats” at that time.
From American Graffiti (1973) – a long held American classic directed by George Lucas and starring American icons Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss to the controversial but always fun Amityville Horror (1979) directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder. These films gave us insight into both the teenage mind, and the insane.
The groundbreaking “Badlands” (1973) directed by Terrence Malik starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek is about a true to life killing spree that occurred in the 1950′s. A teenage girl and her boyfriend, in his 20′s, slaughtered her whole family as well as several others in the Dakota “Badlands.”
Special Effects Explosion
Both Jaws and Star Wars left their marks in the early to mid ’70′s and made themselves known with audiences bringing in enormous amounts of money for both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, respectively. Both were record breaking grossing movies and continue to survive in the industry today with spin offs, sequels and prequels.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and The China Syndrome (1979) both had the public discussing topics that had not been, up to that point, easily or comfortably discussed. The possibility of aliens contacting Earthlings in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (directed by Steven Spielberg) hit close to home and many of us found ourselves building Devil’s Tower out of our mashed potatoes.
The China Syndrome (directed by James Bridges) brought home the idea that yes, things can go wrong with nuclear power plants if we’re not careful. This film was nominated for four Oscars, and is one of the classic movies of the 70s.
Human Lives in the Balance
A Clockwork Orange (1971), another one of the classic movies of the 70s, directed by Stanley Kubrick starring Malcolm McDowell, is a disturbing and very memorable piece involving a supposedly reformed convict in futuristic Britain. Supposedly being the operative word, of course, as not everything always goes to plan.
On a lighter note, Paper Moon (1973) directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring father and daughter team Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Tatum won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Addie Loggins. The film went on to win several more awards including the Oscar for that year.
Movie Tunes that Stick in Our Brain
Rocky (1976), directed by John G. Avildsen, started the Rocky Era that continues to exist today. Who can forget Sylvester Stallone in this exciting movie about human fortitude and ambition? Who hasn’t run up a set of steps and sung the tune from Rocky?
Deliverance (1972), directed by John Boorman starring John Voigt and Burt Reynolds is a memorable film for anyone who’s had the opportunity to view it. More than just the catchy banjo tune, this movie put Americans on edge and made them think twice about canoeing down rivers and hiking into the unknown.
The classic movies of the 70s are among the best around. They ushered in a new era of freedom and creativity so much so that we can still enjoy them today.