100 Favorite Films To Recommend Part 6: The 1970s

Luis A. Mendez

Luis A. Mendez

Former Political Hack Turned Author And Commentator Of All Things Cinema.

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    The Godfather Part II is one of those flicks that I hated in the first half. What the hell is going on?, I asked. The first movie had a narrative. This one is a bunch of montages that don’t have anything to do with each other! And then the montages all started showing how they were all interlinked and, by the ending, you saw how everything was connected and were willing to have the argument about sequels that were better than the originals.

    As for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory… I’m torn about it. I *LOVED* the book and when I saw the movie, I thought that it had nigh-nothing to do with it. I mean, sure. It had characters that had the same names as the characters in the book, but everything else was Hollywoodified. How tough would it have been to stick to the book?, I asked over and over again as I watched it.

    Then when the Johnny Depp movie came out, I thought it was amazing. The first half stuck to the book. Like, they changed a couple of things but that was due to some things just not surviving the translation from book to screen. I didn’t resent them for leaving them out.

    AND THEN THEY EXPLAINED THAT WILLY WONKA GOT HIS POWERS FROM MIDICHLORIANS. And the movie is now worse than the Gene Wilder one because I understand the vision that Gene Wilder had (even as I think he should have stuck to the book).

    Which brings me to 1977. How recently would it have been that another Disney property would have been in that slot? Alas… I understand why The Rescuers is there instead of that other flick.

    I’m really enjoying these lists.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      To me the new Wonka had two problems: Unrestrained Tim Burton always finds the cringe line and pole vaults it, and Johnny Depp couldn’t put wink-wink Wilder could to take the edge off the crazy just enough to make it all work.

      I’m so thrilled the Rescuers is on this list it has long been a favorite of mine, and as a kid that dilapidated ship in the swamp was scary as all get out. Great world building in it.

      I can not quibble with a single selection in this edition, great listReport

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Ever since the Tim Burton version cam out, I’ve thought that if only you could blend the original with the new one you’d have the perfect Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.Report

  2. Avatar atomickristin
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    says:

    I’m thrilled that one of my personal faves Rocky is the 1976 choice instead of that other movie that came out in 1976, I can’t remember its name, something about some wars in some stars or whatever.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    Hmmm… Alien, on the one hand, is a great movie that might, might have changed cinema. But, on the other hand, Apocalypse Now. While creating nothing new, it is the fullest version of cinema; raw beauty and horror.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      Those are basically my feelings toward Halloween on this list versus The Deer Hunter. But it’s been so long since I’ve seen that one I could be overestimating it.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      Coppola and his audio team invented modern Surround Sound to make viewers hear the things all around them, such as helicopters zipping past or gunfire coming from particular directions. This made the movie experience vastly more immersive, and subsequent blockbusters adopted the new technology, which is still universal today as Dolby 5.1 6-channel surround sound.

      Apocalypse Now’s innovations at some length in the recent documentary on cinema sound.

      Trailer:

      Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    It is most interesting how many films on your list for this decade are legendary for their production issues & problems that could have credibly scuttled the entire project.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      It was an era of young directors. Or, rather, young directors off their leashes. These days you have quite a few inexperienced creators being given big projects but with Disney executives steering them.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        And that’s been working out about as well as having Boss Nass giving orders to Jar Jar Binks.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          I dunno. Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson, James Gunn, JJ Abrams. We’ve had some small-time directors get big projects and they worked out well. Interestingly, quite a few of them had worked in low-budget horror. (I’ll have to add Sam Raimi to the list, although it’s been a while since he made the jump to the big stage.)

          You’re right though that I haven’t heard much buzz over the writers and directors of most of the recent Marvel and Star Wars movies. I think we’re in a new era, where the visionaries who are given latitude are the show runners on TV.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      It was the era of the American Auteur. What came out of the sixties writ large. With cocaine.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    I’d have taken M*A*S*H over Patten in 1970, but I was of an age where Vietnam was a very big current thing (ultimately costing me an uncle and ruining a cousin for years, and almost forcing me to make potentially life-ruining decisions) while WWII was history. Dirty Harry in 1971 as another movie for the times. And Chinatown in 1974, but that’s just personal preference.Report

  6. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    I love Godfather part 1.

    But I just can’t stand part 2. That’s probably mostly a personal preference on my part.

    Patton is a good choice. And so is Rocky.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    A great set of films. We’re now far enough along that I saw a lot of them in theaters. Not The Exorcist though; it was R-rated and no adult take me. I streamed it a few years ago, and it just wasn’t scary, probably because of the small screen and normal home distractions.

    Another great 1972 film is Sleuth, a British thriller with amazing performances from all involved. (The awful remake is no substitute.) But it’s not close to The Godfather.Report

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