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Monday, September 29, 2014

Best Films of the 70s (Top Ten)

Ah the 1970s. Everyone had a full head of hair, leisure suits or bell-bottoms were the thing to wear, Led Zeppelin blew out your speakers, we lost John Wayne, and there were movies! Plenty of great movies! Anyway, here's my 10+ favorites from that colorful decade. Far out man!

1. The Towering Inferno (1974) * * * * Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Scroe: 71% 
Cast: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Fred Astaire
Quote: "I'll be back, with the whole fire department."
My quote as a critic: "The Towering Inferno is a tense, exciting, and flat out entertaining piece of cinema. It has "popcorn flick" written all over it. At 165 minutes, its got a long running time, but it doesn't feel that way. "Inferno" moves by at an unbelievably fast clip and its got a huge cast of stars who look as if they all had a lot of fun making it. Its also got special effects that even today would hold up against any lifeless Michael Bay production."

2. Apocalypse Now (1979) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 99%
Cast: Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando
Quote: "The horror...the horror..."

3. Days of Heaven (1978) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 94%
Cast: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams
Quote: "Nobody's perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you."
My quote as a critic: "Every scene is filled to the brim with little nooks and crannies. You get beautiful waterfalls, close-ups of locusts in their natural habitat, sped up windmills (even wind is a star in this flick), and incredibly lush sky imagery. I read somewhere that a critic said you can take any image from Days of Heaven and frame it as a painting. Darn, that's what's I wanted to say!"

4. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 92%
Cast: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen
Quote: "My family's always been in meat."
My quote as a critic: "The fact that an unknown director (Tobe Hooper of Poltergeist fame), a cast of nobodies, and a shooting schedule in 100+ degree Texas heat could produce a horror flick light years ahead of its time, is a miracle in itself. Give credit to actress Marilyn Burns who coined the term "scream queen" before Jamie Lee Curtis could even get her hands on it."

5. Saturday Night Fever (1977) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 90%
Cast: John Travolta, Donna Pescow
Quote: "Al Pacino! Attica! Attica! Attica!"
My quote as a critic: "Saturday Night Fever, focusing mainly on Travolta's plight, can be categorized as a snapshot of a young man's pride in his craft (shining at the discotheque) and the sad/troubling moments in between. It's raw, reckless film making that dares you to embrace its rough edges. Truth be told, you come away from this film with memorable sounds, bright images, and unavoidable mental train wrecks."

6. Over the Edge (1979) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 89%
Cast: Matt Dillon, Michael Eric Kramer
Quote: "The first day I ever met him he said: "Hi, I'm Ritchie White, I'm on probation."
My quote as a critic: "For me, this stands as one of the best films of the 1970's (released in the U.S. in 1981) and a clear bonified snapshot of that era. This is a well acted, angst driven vehicle with many unknowns (it marked the first screen appearances for a majority of the cast members). It tells the story of some troubled Colorado kids who cause havoc (gunfire, vandalism, drug dealing, etc...) in their neighborhood at the expense of their mostly misunderstood parents."

7. The Exorcist (1973) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 88%
Cast: Jason Miller, Linda Blair
Quote: "Keep away. This sow is mine."

8. Star Wars (1977) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 93%
Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Quote: "Use the force, Luke."

9. Duel (1971) * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 86%
Cast: Dennis Weaver, Eddie Firestone
Quote: "There you are, right back in the jungle again."

9. (tie) The Conversation (1974)  * * * 1/2 Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 98%
Cast: Gene Hackman, John Cazale
Quote: "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm am afraid of murder."

10. Breaking Away (1979) * * * Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 94%
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley
Quote: "Refund? Refund?"

10. (tie) Marathon Man (1976) * * * Stars
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 80%
Cast: Lawrence Olivier, Dustin Hoffman
Quote: "Is it safe?"

List compiled by Jesse Burleson

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