My Name Is Henry Krinkle: The 10 Best Films Of The Seventies

Join us in our decade-based film retrospective, as we delve backwards all the way from 2009 to 1910. Most decade-based best movie lists grant you a whooping 50-100 entries, which makes perfect sense given all the years you have to take into consideration. But what if you were defining a decade in just ten films? Which movies would you recommend to somebody who might only watch a handful from a given decade? This week, we look back at the Seventies.

The seventies holds a reputation for being the best period for a working writer/director, a time when those young kids fresh out of film school – kids like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese – began to take over the multiplexes. These were kids who had grown up watching and learning from the motion pictures of the past, and they were ready to express their love of cinema through the process of making their own films. Gone were the days of the “director for hire” – now it was personal.

This great period of freedom would end with Michael Cimino and his overblown flop Heaven’s Gate, when studios became scared out of their wits and took back the free rein they’d granted their directors. But there was an entire decade of miraculous, inventive and gritty cinema to be had. Seventies movies were cool, after all – slick, adventurous and leaning on a more realistic approach to storytelling, often mirroring the aesthetic qualities of documentary filmmaking. Here, too, was where the blockbuster was born in Spielberg’s Jaws, a motion picture that would change the face of cinema forever. Here’s our pick of the best 10 films of the seventies – though you’re certainly sure to have a list of your own personal favorites.

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