Movies of the Seventies; Celluloid of the Free & the Tales that were Brave

chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
Thanks @Birdleson for the idea to make this- it needs its own dedicated thread IMO.
To quote him:
The '70s was the last great decade of American cinema. Many of the greatest film's ever made came from that era. That is when the American auteur flourished. Sure we had a lot of goofy, genre and just bad films in the '70s, but it was the decade that allowed the greats like Scorsese, Allen, Coppola, Altman, Ashby, Kubrick, Polanski and many more were allowed to make films that were personal and not marketed to any demographic. And the studios were behind them, as well, with decent budgets. They trusted the artists. By 1981 the lingering effects of JAWS (1975) and STAR WARS (1977), coupled with the massive failure (it destroyed Paramount Studios) of Michael Cimino's epic HEAVEN'S GATE (1981) had changed the manner in which studios selected, produced and marketed film. Why waste money on unreliable dreamers that might occasionally strike gold when you can guarantee an ongoing profit by regurgitating remakes and sequels and comedies geared towards 15 year olds? Very few directors have anywhere near that autonomy anymore. Some of the leftovers from that great decade still do to some extent. The Coen Brothers, Paul thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne… a few others. But the '70s were the high point, very little has come close to the best of that decade, since.
We had movies like Vanishing Point, The Godfather, Rollerball, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Harold & Maude, A Clockwork Orange, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Taxi Driver, Deliverance, Slaughterhouse Five, Zardoz, The China Syndrome, The Andromeda Strain, The Parallax View, Picnic at Hanging Rock, A Boy & his Dog, Network, The Hospital, and a whole lot more I can't even think of right now. Movies that just absolutely could not get made these days. Or in the case of Rollerball, just re-made with an action overload & a deficit of heart & soul.

Contribute to this discussion now, because there is no Sanctuary.


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Comments

  • edited November 2014 Posts: 4,622
    The '70s is my favourite decade for film. I went to a lot of films as a teenager in that decade.
    Many movies standout. I would see all Clint Eastwood, Bronson and even Burt Reynolds action flicks of the day.
    Other favourites include the Sting, anything by Woody Allen.
    The Hot Rock, jewel caper film with Redford and Segal is a favourite.
    Anything with the great Heston, especially his sci-fi offerings.
    Barry Lyndon, The Exorcist (which scared the crap out of me) The French Connection, Royal Flash, anything with Raquel Welch.
    Great decade, but I think we all look fondly on our formative years to some extent.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2014 Posts: 23,883
    Agree completely. A decade of serious movies that tackle difficult, troubling issues for America (mafia, lunatics, losing wars, Government deception & abuse, paranoia about power, disease, disaster, hopelessness, fear etc. etc.). The issues were tackled honestly (at least more honestly than they would be today), and the issues still exist, & are more troubling than ever. One may say that this was all washed under the carpet during the 'Morning in America' phase that was ushered in with Reagan's sunny optimism, coinciding with the happy ending blockbuster starting with Star Wars. That sunny era ran all the way through the Clinton presidency & up to 911.

    These kind of movies can be made today and the audience does in fact exist to make them successful at the box office. It's just that the direction needs to be updated for today's audience. I think David Fincher gets closest to it (Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac, Social Network) as a director.

    Unfortunately, one must consider that movies today are also made for an increasingly "ADD" global audience, particularly the ascending Asian market, and perhaps some of the issues are too dark compared to Transformers & Godzilla fare....not sure.

    As I've said in another thread, I just can't stand the clothes and the bloody hair of that era!
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    @timmer, much of what you list save for Barry Lyndon, Soylent Green (implied) & The French Connection was fairly popular entertainment kind of stuff... I'm talking about the movies that were edgy, took chances, and didn't pander to societal norms, then or now. Yeah, I love flicks like Death Wish, Fuzz & Sleeper, but they were 'safer' movies to make. A Harold & Maude made today would have so many groups up in arms that the movie would be pulled in hours & an apology from the studio issued.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited March 2018 Posts: 30,197
    You guys covered many of the films that I would have mentioned.
    And a fine idea for a thread @chrisisall .
    chrisisall wrote: »
    A Harold & Maude made today would have so many groups up in arms that the movie would be pulled in hours & an apology from the studio issued.


    Precisely. Could you imagine TAXI DRIVER or BLAZING SADDLES being made today without being completely neutered?
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Could you imagine TAXI DRIVER or BLAZING SADDLES being made today without being completely neutered?
    Not in my wildest dreams.
    And in this age Full Metal Jacket would be nixed from jump, Apocalypse Now turned into a Rambo flick, and Catch 22 morphed into a stupid comedy.
    :-\"
  • edited November 2014 Posts: 4,622
    The '70s, the entire decade I believe was a product of the late '60s cultural revolution. I think this carry-over attitude permeated much of the filmmaking of the decade, even the safer, more commercial fare, such as that churned out by Eastwood and Bronson.
    70's filmmaking was devoid of political correctness for the most part. Filmmakers did what they wanted to do.
    Some were bolder than others, some more provactive, but I do think all the films of that decade did share a common thread of freedom of expression.
    Ironically this approach was also what was commercially marketable at the time. It was a new, fresh, marketable sellable approach.
    You can even see the approach in the early decade Bond films. The 007 films of Guy Hamilton reveled in their '70s political incorrectness, which at the time, I'm sure seemed perfectly natural to the filmmakers. Such filmmaking is only risque by the pc standards of recent years.
    Personally I attend cinema to be entertained. If the filmmaker can be provocative and interesting, that's a bonus. I won't attend cinema because someone's got something to say. The filmmaker needs to be able to exploit the medium, otherwise they can publish essays.
    Same with rock music. If musicians can't put their brilliant themes to catchy guitar, drums and bass, I'm not interested. Nothing duller than rock music lyrics, that aren't actually set to music.
    Filmmaking in the '80s became more formulaic, so did rock music to a large extent.
    The '70s was a decade of free expression which eventually ran its course, and transitioned into a safer more art-as-commodity decade - ie the narcissistic, vacuous me-generation, decade known as the '80s, brilliantly satirized in Mary Harron's American Psycho (2000) starring Bale as the utterly lost Patrick Bateman.

    Other '70s films that were both impactful and entertaining - films that I actively sought out, were Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico. Kubrick's Clockwork Orange of course. Even fantasy fare such as Westworld and Stepford Wives had some edge.
    Anything with Pacino caught interest with me, due to the huge impact of the Godfather films. Billy Jack was well done. The Parallax View and Klute were classics. A lot of new and fresh approaches were suddenly on the table.
    Great decade for films, even the disaster epics such as Poseidon Aventure, Towering Inferno and Earthquake had soul that modern big budget extravaganzas don't have.
    I think what happened to some extent later, is that the 70's generation grew up in later decades, and tried to commodify what they enjoyed in their formative years.

    The great '70s filmmakers and rock musicians though were genuine movers and/or products of the tumultuous '60s societal upheavals.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,197
    Yes.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    @timmer, excellent post! =D>

    Now, let's do the time warp again.
  • edited November 2014 Posts: 4,622
    I think another thing that characaterized the '70s filmmaking is that you had both liberal and conservative caricatures exploited for maximum entertainment value.
    We enjoyed a lot of liberal, socially conscious filmmaking, plus anti liberal-excess, no-bs type filmmaking ie Dirty Harry.

    But what made both approaches work and enjoy cross-over appeal IMO is that both takes exercised cinematic license and exaggerated the bad tendencies of their targets.

    ie in the more liberal films, the oppression of greedy corporations and the man etc were puffed up to engender natural empathy with the socially conscious protagonists.
    Same with shadowy government entities and such eg Parallax view.
    While Dirty Harry dealt with not only criminals, but also had to overcome exaggerated "pussy" liberal types who were way too soft on crime.

    There was an innocence to it all. We all wanted to put things right and cinema gave us characters that were doing just that.
    As a teenager I considered myself to be very socially conscious liberal, but I was very down with Dirty Harry too. Justice must be served, vigilante if necessary, which made perfect sense in Harry Callahan's world.

    The themes that were being explored in the '70s were all very new and fresh, especially if you were young. Society was changing. Movies knew what buttons to push and everything was on the table.
    We walked out of cinema, feeling we had fought the good fight, whether it be with Billy Jack or Dirty Harry.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited March 2018 Posts: 30,197
    The BILLY JACK films were of great importance to me when I was 12 and 13. They're hard to watch now, to be honest, but to my young mind they meant everything.
  • Posts: 4,622
    I don't think I ever did see the Billy Jack sequels, but the original was riveting. It was great entertainment.

    Another classic of the era was Walking Tall with Joe Don Baker as no-nonsense lawman, with a social conscience, Buford Pusser.
    Pusser upholding law and order against those who would abuse such power.
    Again, exaggerated conflict for maximum dramactic effect which IMO Billy Jack was too.
    But net result, we got provocative, highly entertaining cinema, that also made you ponder the underlying themes that were present too.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    timmer wrote: »
    I don't think I ever did see the Billy Jack sequels
    The Trial Of Billy Jack was pretty damn cool IMHO. And I too, was a total liberal back then who also loved Dirty Harry. I was closet moderate, I guess.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,197
    And the first film in the series, THE BORN LOSERS, was released several years before BILLY JACK. It's pretty good. The final entry, BILLY JACK GOES TO WASHINGTON, never got wide release. It's available on DVD.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    Birdleson wrote: »
    The BILLY JACK films was of great importance to me when I was 12 and 13. They're hard to watch now, to be honest, but to my young mind they meant everything.

    Funny you mention that because my Father felt the same way. About a couple years before he passed away, I got him the box set for his Birthday and we watched them all. I enjoyed The Born Losers, the others not so much. The 70's was such a great decade in film. With the likes of Death Wish, Dirty Harry and Taxi Driver. And that's not even scratching the surface. The 70's had that raw edge like reading a pulp novel. I can just smell the cigarette smoke and hear the disco.

    For me personally my favorite Decade of film is the 80's. To me that was the last great decade of movies.

    If only movies today had that gumption.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,197
    Murdock wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    The BILLY JACK films was of great importance to me when I was 12 and 13. They're hard to watch now, to be honest, but to my young mind they meant everything.

    Funny you mention that because my Father felt the same way. About a couple years before he passed away, I got him the box set for his Birthday and we watched them all. I enjoyed The Born Losers, the others not so much. .

    Great to hear that @Murdock, sounds like your dad put you on a good course.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Murdock wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    The BILLY JACK films was of great importance to me when I was 12 and 13. They're hard to watch now, to be honest, but to my young mind they meant everything.

    Funny you mention that because my Father felt the same way. About a couple years before he passed away, I got him the box set for his Birthday and we watched them all. I enjoyed The Born Losers, the others not so much. .

    Great to hear that @Murdock, sounds like your dad put you on a good course.

    He did very much indeed. He got me into Westerns and that really brought us closer together near the end.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,197
    That's really cool. I am a life long fan of westerns, but a friend of mine and I just spent the past year exhaustively researching and viewing the history of the western film.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    @Murdock & @Birdleson, you guys ever seen or been fans of a little-known western called Hannie Caulder? It's pretty darn good IMHO.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    @chrisisall, I haven't seen it. The last western I watched was Breakheart Pass with Charles Bronson. Great little western. I'm a fan of train mystery movies.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    Murdock wrote: »
    @chrisisall, I haven't seen it.
    Oh, please do seek it out- Raquel Welch, Robert Culp, Ernest Borgnine... you can't go wrong.
    Murdock wrote: »
    The last western I watched was Breakheart Pass with Charles Bronson.
    ANY film with a Goldsmith soundtrack is worth its weight in...ummm... platinum.
    ;)
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    chrisisall wrote: »
    Murdock wrote: »
    @chrisisall, I haven't seen it.
    Oh, please do seek it out- Raquel Welch, Robert Culp, Ernest Borgnine... you can't go wrong.
    Murdock wrote: »
    The last western I watched was Breakheart Pass with Charles Bronson.
    ANY film with a Goldsmith soundtrack is worth its weight in...ummm... platinum.
    ;)
    Agreed. you should see my review of Star Trek V, I've watched it in a new light and really love it now.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited November 2014 Posts: 30,197
    I haven't seen it either, but I notice that it's directed by Burt Kennedy, one of the greatest Western screenwriters of the '50s. He penned man of the Budd Botticher/Randolph Scott films of that decade. My favorites being RIDE LONESOME, 7 MEN FROM NOW and THE TALL T.

    I'll check it out.
  • edited November 2014 Posts: 4,622
    Hannie Caulder (1971) - one of the great Welch's all-time classics.

    hanniecaulderdvddvd.jpg

    I have to buy this movie! Should be on the shelf! Would make a great 1971 double-bill with Diamonds Are Forever.

    hannie_caulder_poster_04.jpg
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited November 2014 Posts: 16,202
    Ha- I forgot the Bond connection there in Lee!
    Regardless, it's a very good flick. I had to own it.

    And now a shout out to the best of the Seventies' monster movies;
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited March 2018 Posts: 30,197
    I saw GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER in the theatre. I had a great time, but that really was when they had become silly as all Hell. Give me the 50s and 60s Godzilla movies. Both reboot series were pretty decent.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited November 2014 Posts: 16,202
    I must plead guilty to 100% nostalgia factor on this one; it was my first theatrical Godzilla experience (just after Le Mans & my first theatrical Bond experience, DAF), and to this day watching it fills me with glee- even the nonsensical atomic breath propulsion scene. :))
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Dancing at midnight under the BeBop Moon
    edited November 2014 Posts: 11,756
    Birdleson wrote: »
    You guys covered many of the films that I would have mentioned.
    And a fine idea for a thread @chrisisall .
    chrisisall wrote: »
    A Harold & Maude made today would have so many groups up in arms that the movie would be pulled in hours & an apology from the studio issued.


    Precisely. Could you imagine TAXI DRIVER or BLAZING SADDLES being made today without being completely neutered?

    Oh heavens, Blazing Saddles especially! No way it would happen today.

    The 70's gave us Shaft, a whole rash of blaxploitation films, M*A*S*H (still one of my favorites ever), The Godfather, Dirty Harry, The French Connection, Jaws, Shampoo, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, the Exorcist (shudder! I still can't watch it), All The President's Men, and Apocalypse Now.

    No wonder I am what I am. A child of the 60's (as if that weren't enough) and then the 70's!!
    I think The Spy Who Loved Me sort of saved my sanity and balanced me back out.
  • Silent Running, Logans run 2 films I must have seen hundreds of times when young. A good decade for thoughtfull science fiction movies.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    Ahhh, Logan's Run. My most viewed film before Star Wars & Superman: The Movie came out...
  • chrisisall wrote: »
    Ahhh, Logan's Run. My most viewed film before Star Wars & Superman: The Movie came out...

    Can't believe I don't own a copy, really should buy it. Love classic sci fi.

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