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20 Great Movie Classics of the 1970's (Part 2)

Updated on July 6, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon ~ 1975

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ~ 1975

Rocky ~ 1976

Taxi Driver ~ 1976

Close Encounters of the Third Kind ~ 1977

Saturday Night Fever ~ 1977

Grease ~ 1978

Breaking Away ~ 1979

Apocalypse Now ~ 1979

Kramer vs. Kramer ~ 1979

11. Dog Day Afternoon ~ 1975 Sidney Lumet directed this real-life inspired drama about a failed robbery attempt in a small town bank, and the wild chaos that ensues. Hostages are forced to obey two simple-minded, but good-hearted crooks. Al Pacino and John Cazale bring raw emotion and an undeniable sympathy to their characters, as well as moving viewers to cheer for the hapless underdogs. Funny as much as it is poignant. The film won for best picture and Frank Pierson for best screenplay.

12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ~ 1975 Kirk Douglas owned the rights for years, before deciding to take a chance in producing this film. A brilliant adaptation of a book about the crazy antics and experiences that took place in a California Veteran's Hospital. Jack Nicholson leads an all-too-insane cast and maches them right into Oscar history. Best Picture, best director, best screenplay, best actor and best actress. The pictuer dominated that year.

13. Rocky ~ 1976 Rock Balboa might not have been the smartest guy around, but what he lacked in intellect, he more then made up for in heart and soul. A boxer, who is about to pass his prime, trying to regain his will and inspiration. This film was empowering, and left it's viewer's re-examining their own dreams. An incredibly sweet love story, in a beautifully told subplot. Sylvester Stallone won the Oscar that year for best actor and best screenplay.

14. Taxi Driver ~ 1976 Robert Deniro delves into this dark role that is borderline psychotic. The story follows, a taxi driver, who in his emotional struggles, debilitating insomnia, and his heroic attempt to resist spirling into his inevitable demise. Painful to watch at times, Taxi Driver is a clear window into real human pain. The cast included, Cybil Shepard, Peter Boyle, Jodi Foster, and Harvey Keital.

15. Close Encounters of the Third Kind ~ 1977 Richard Dreyfus stars in this Steven Spielberg written and directed masterpiece. The story is about an alien encounter that basically turns into an obsession for the sap that experiences it. He becomes so obsessed in fact, that he risks losing his whole family over his insistence that it happenend and why it happened. Spielberg puts his definitive stamp, using styalized photography and gasp-inducing sound effects. The film was nominated for best direction.

16. Saturday Nigh Fever ~ 1977 John Travolta went from small screen obscurity as "Vinny Barbarino" of Welcome Back Kotter fame, to the explosive movie phenomenon that was to become known as one of the most successful movies of all time. Who can forget the character of "Tony Manero" donning his white polyester suit and dominating the disco dance floor with electrifying style and presence. John Travolta was nominated for an Oscar for best actor that year and went on to a skyrocketing new career.

17. Grease ~ 1978 The story follows the cool and perfectly coifed leader of the T-birds "Danny Zuko" played by John Travolta and the innocent and beautiful foreign visitor, "Sandy Olsson" played by Olivia Newton-John. They partake in a romantic summer fling that was meant to stay a nostalgic memory. When lo and behold, Sandy becomes the newest student at Rydell High, it becomes an understatement that she's cramping "Danny's" bachelor status. This leads to the making of one of the best film musicals ever made. Grease gave birth to a wildly successful soundtrack that featured such classics as "Hopelessly devoted to you", "You're the one that I want", "Summer Nights", and "Greased Lightning", just to name a few.

18. Breaking Away ~ 1979 The age-old saga of how class-rank still shapes modern society, as told through a group of best friends and cycling buddies. Coming of age, loyalty, romance and future aspirations are examined intelligently and sincerely. The movie is hilarious at times and the bike sequence is poetry in motion. Steve Tesich won an Oscar for best screenplay.

19. Apocalypse Now ~ 1979 An action-adventure that takes place during the Vietnam War. An obvious portrait of the insanity and horrors, as seen through the eyes of a renegade special forces commander played to perfection by Marlon Brando. The unforgettable opening "nightmare" montage with The Door's track "The End" playing in the background is a telling capsule of what is yet to come. The brutality of war is brought to life with intense sound and a mesmerizing cast that included Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford. Apocalypse Now won Oscars for best picture, direction, and screenplay.

20. Kramer vs. Kramer ~ 1979 Kramver vs. Kramer takes a personalized look at divorce and the enormous toll it takes on the whole family. Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman portray the heart-wrenching emotion of having to explain to their young son the need for them to break their family apart. An incredibly moving and realistic view of just how devastating divorce can be. The film won best picture, director, and screenplay. Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep won Oscars for best actors and Justin Henry (their son) also nabbed an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. A must-see film of the 1970's.


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