May 7, 2005

The fourth set of 20 films that if you haven’t seen you should see immediately or risk having protein wisdom sneer at you like certain embarrassingly reactionary rightwing blogs sneer at homosexuals and minorities of all stripes

1970s, group 4

  1. Night Moves (1975)
  2. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
  3. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
  4. The Sting (1973)
  5. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
  6. The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
  7. Breezy (1973)
  8. The Passenger (Professione:  reporter) (1975)
  9. Walkabout (1971)
  10. Amarcord (1973)
  11. Slap Shot (1977)
  12. Cisco Pike (1972)
  13. Play Misty for Me (1971)
  14. The Last Picture Show (1971)
  15. Paper Moon (1973)
  16. The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
  17. Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972)
  18. 3 Women (1977)
  19. Busting (1974)
  20. Electra Glide in Blue (1973)


This really is like a graduate course in film studies, you realize.  You people should be paying me for these lists.  Honestly.  Like, money.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:00pm

Comments (39)

  1. Got no money; how about high praise?

  2. Plus, I never did the undergrad part, so I guess I’m auditing this course anyway…

  3. The Man Who Would Be King is my favorite! I’ve seen it at least a dozen times.

  4. Sorry man, if I had money I’d have more than basic cable.

    I’ve only seen four movies in the past six years.


    Bird on a Wire


    Turk 182

    You know you have too many kids if your idea of a gourmet meal is something they made on “Dinner and a Movie”.

  5. I’m just kidding about the money.  What I really want is your respect.

  6. It’s in the mail!

  7. Isn’t the Heartbreak Kid the one with the great riff on egg salad sandwiches?

    Uforia – a weird little comedy with Cindy Williams (half of the 2nd greatest female comedy team of all time) as Arlene, a supermarket checker obsessed with UFOs & Harry Dean Stanton as a UFO evangelist. There’s a great running gag that every time you see Williams at work, it’s another weird-ass theme day, with all the checkers in ponchos & Mexican hats or Hawaiian shirts & leis. Written & directed by John Binder, whose only big hit was Honeysuckle Rose (with Willie Nelson & Amy Irving, who biggest career break was losing the Princess Leia role to Debbie Reynolds’ drug-addled daughter)

  8. I haven’t seen any of these 80 films. I feel a little outcast.

  9. So, you have some kind of 70’s fetish?

  10. One of the things that I find tremendously amusing about these lists is my recollection of the common meme about the 70s being an aesthetic wasteland.

    In the 70s and 80s, everyone was going, “after the explosion of arts and culture in the 60s, pop culture in the 70s was moribund, unimaginative, derivative, and dull.” To further ice the cake, they’d go on to describe great moments of 60s culture like “Stairway to Heaven” or “American Pie”.

  11. Suggestions:

    Slapshot – Doesn’t get any better, move to top of list. Yeah, I know these lists aren’t prioritized.  Move to top of list anyway.

    Jeremiah Johnson – Belongs on a separate list that I assume you are working on: Movies You Must Watch Despite The Fact That They Are Pretentious.

    Play Misty for Me – Also belongs on a separate list that I assume you are working on:  Movies So Creepy For Their Time That Michael’s Girlfriend (Later Wife)Woke Up In The Middle Of The Night And Puked Her Guts Out.  Actually, this is the only movie on that list, so your work on this one is done.  You’re welcome.

  12. Thanks for not starting these lists in the late sixties. Because frankly, I don’t need to be reminded of Burt Lancaster as “The Swimmer.”

  13. Electra Glide in Blue? wow, that’s one I hadn’t thought of in decades, nice.

    Speaking of Cindy Williams, did I miss both American Graffiti’s?

    And, since this is a ‘70’s list, where is that decades ubiquitous Irwin Allen?

  14. I’m trying to list films that many people haven’t seen, though I suppose The Sting and The French Connection are exceptions.  Still, I bet those are less recognizable than American Graffiti or Rocky or The Godfather I and II—all of which would most certainly be on a list of “best” films from the 70s.

    I’m going to put the disaster flicks with the dystopian films.  Marjoe G. in Earthquake!—and Matthau, too, come to think of it!  And of course Towering Inferno and Poseidon Adventure are both decent films.

  15. In a word, “no”.

    Except for “The Man Who Would Be King” ( you can never go wrong with Kipling ), I put these all in my overrated list.

  16. As long as you have a thematic thing going (it seems list 4 is an interesting combinaton of crooked cop/Paul Newman films), how about that unique ‘70’s subgenre of the angst-ridden-Jewish-boy-makes-good movies?: Apprenticeship of Dudley Kravitz, Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx, Portnoy’s Complaint. Sadly, the mother of them all came out in ‘67 (but which reminds me, what do you think of Little Big Man?)

  17. Mazursky has a few, too.

    Little Big Man is pretty good, if a bit overlong.  As for Robin’s statement, anyone who would call The Sting or Last Picture Show or Slap Shot overrated is, in a word, insane.

  18. Perhaps there is is a reason these are movies that people haven’t seen?  OK, I saw Play Misty and it was ok.

  19. From Mazursky? which, Blume in Love?

    I don’t believe you’ve added Harry and Tonto?, though; which brings up another emblematic theme unique to the ‘70’s: the middle-class bank heist picture-A Man, a Woman and a Bank, Fun with Dick and Jane.

    Which list will be comedy?–The Black Bird, They Might Be Giants, Car Wash, Harry and Walter Go to New York, Bananas, and, of course, the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh ….you said the list was based on notoreity and not quality, right?

    ….I’m excluding Cheech and Chong because I assume your readers are completely familiar with them all.

  20. People have seen them, Mark:  there are in fact several Academy Award winners (films and performances) on this list; it’s just that many people under a certain age who are just casual movie watchers may not have heard of them.

    Many of the films of the seventies were more concerned with character than with plot; they also took their time telling the story. You may not end up liking all of them, but they’ll stay with you…

  21. I was thinking Next Stop, Greenwich Village.  Harry and Tonto is nice, and we’ve already talked about Blume.

    I’m a big Kristofferson fan.

  22. Finally!- Convoy will get the attention it deserves!

    Seriously, I like him, too (Semi-Tough is probably already on your lists), but I like the ‘70’s stuff of Burt, too.

    Hey, if you don’t like …Cat Dancing, ya still gets Bo Hopkins and Lee J. Cobb!

    Uncomfortable truth about your commentor (h/t Bill), I saw W.W. and the Dixie DanceKings in the theatre.

  23. Hey, not fair! I almost posted Next Stop Greenwich Village last week but remembered the “it must be released on DVD” rule and deleted it.

    Breezy sounds like a film for perverts. And is Maria Schneider still a dyke? Oh, and you are going to do the 60s, aren’t you?

  24. Did I make the DVD rule?  Damn.  A few on the last couple lists aren’t yet available on DVD—Cisco Pike, Busting, Brewster McCloud, Getting Straight.  Night Moves is coming out in a month of so, and I was planning on putting Zabriskie Point on one of these lists.

    Oh well. Keep that in mind.

    As for the 60s, I’ll probably do a couple lists of late sixties stuff.  Somebody mentioned The Swimmer, and Seconds deserves a mention…

  25. No good movies were made before 1980.


  26. Well, I’ve never made any great claims to sanity but … they are overrated.

  27. Beg to differ: No good movies have been made *since* 1980. [Actually a few have been okay, but by the 80s character was largely replaced by chases/crashes/fights/explosions ad nauseum, with a stirring of politically correct and/or downbeat messages. The advent of CGI graphics seemed to hasten the decline. YMMV]

    “Play Misty for Me” has got to be the creepiest thing Eastwood ever made, just as “Straw Dogs” – from a previous list – is for Dustin Hoffman.

  28. Did I make the DVD rule?

    Didn’t you?

    If not, consider the following for your 60s list:

    The Rain People (1969)

    You’re A Big Boy Now (1966)

    Who’s That Knocking At My Door (1967)

    [I’m not sure if they are underseen since they are Coppola/Scorsese.]

    And one of my favorites, Coogan’s Bluff (1968). I liked it because it had hippies on LSD and the Cloisters.

  29. I had no idea anyone else liked Jeremiah Johnson.

    “Elk don’t know how many legs a horse has!”

  30. I’ve been grateful for the practicality of Jeremiah Johnson. It just seems that whenever I, you know, actually follow through and eat the liver of my fallen opponent, any other possible foes have a real hard time misinterpreting the message.

  31. Oh, yeah, Night Moves!  Best nihilist detective story ever.  Okay, I won’t start quoting lines about a bad childhood, and talking about the Kennedys…

    What about The Last Wave, do you like that oldie?

  32. The Last Wave, with Richard Chamberlain?  Yeah, I thought that was a pretty cool flick.  Picnic at Hanging Rock, as well.

  33. Love Picnic, too.  Paper Moon and Last Picture were the best black and white pictures ever (thought Sin City was a bore).

    I once asked a studio exec why they didn’t make cheaper pics, (i.e., Paper Moon and Last Picture Show), and then they could make more of them and each one would not have to be a blockbuster.  Her answer:  “I dunno…”

  34. For late 60s – Candy, Magic Christian, Blowup.

  35. glad to see ‘Walkabout’ on one of these lits, probably my own ‘70s fave.  if there are any more 70s batches coming, let me lobby for Roeg’s ‘Don’t Look Now’.

  36. While, I’m standing firm on The Electric Horseman, and, of course,


  37. WHAT?? Amarcord, but not 8-1/2, from which every other subsequent movie has taken its moves? AARGH. I watched it (8-1/2) with my daughter last month, and her reaction was: It looks so modern. Got it, girl! It looks like every movie today.

    And, I know the Seraghina holds a special spot in your heart, Jeff.

  38. But 8 1/2 is 1963—at that would look out of place on my 1970s list, I fear wink

  39. oops – can’t wait to see the 60’s list then. Maybe I’ll have learned to pay attention in class by then.