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[<<] Film in the 1970s [>>]

Parent categories: 1970s - twentieth century - film

By year: 1970 film - 1971 film - 1972 film - 1973 film - 1974 film - 1975 film - 1976 film - 1977 film - 1978 film - 1979 film

Titles: Performance (1970) - Women In Love (1970) - El Topo (1970) - Five Easy Pieces (1970) - Zabriskie Point (1970) - A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Straw Dogs (1971) - Last Tango in Paris (1972) - Deep Throat (1972) - La Grande Bouffe (1973) - La Maîtresse (1973) - The Night Porter (1974) - Ilsa - She Wolf of the SS (1974) - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Les Valseuses (1974) - Jaws (1975) - The Story of O (1975) - The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - In the Realm of the Senses (1976) - Taxi Driver (1976) - Eraserhead (1977) - Pretty Baby (1978) - Caligula (1979) - The Brood (1979)

El Topo (1970) - Alexandro Jodorowsky [Amazon.com]

Performance (1970) - Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell [Amazon.com]

A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Stanley Kubrick

Deep Throat (1972) - Gerard Damiano [Amazon.uk]

Last Tango in Paris (1972) - Bernardo Bertolucci [Amazon.com]

La Grande Bouffe (1973) - Marco Ferreri [Amazon.com]

Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon (1973) [Amazon.com]

The Night Porter (1974) - Liliana Cavani

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Tobe Hooper [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Les Valseuses/Going Places (1974) Bertrand Blier [Amazon.com]

Jaws (1975) - Steven Spielberg [Amazon.com]

Je t'aime, moi non plus (1976) - Serge Gainsbourg

Ai No Corrida/In the Realm of the Senses (1976) - Nagisa Oshima [Amazon.com]

Taxi Driver (1976) - Martin Scorsese [Amazon.com]

Isabelle Adjani and Roman Polanski watching a kung fu film in Le Locataire
Le Locataire/The Tenant (1976) - Roman Polanski [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Eraserhead (1977) - David Lynch [Amazon UK]

Una Giornata particolare/A Special Day (1977) - Ettore Scola [Amazon.com]

John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977) [Amazon.com]

Interiors (1978) - Woody Allen [Amazon.com]

Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) [Amazon.com]

The Brood (1979)- David Cronenberg [Amazon.com]

Buffet Froid (1979) - Bertrand Blier [Amazon.com]


  • 1970 El Topo (1970) - Alexandro Jodorowsky
  • 1971 A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Stanley Kubrick
  • 1972 Deep Throat (1972) - Gerard Damiano
  • 1973 La Grande Bouffe (1973) - Marco Ferreri
  • 1974 Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel
  • 1975 Shivers (1975) - David Cronenberg
  • 1976 Je t'aime, moi non plus (1976) - Serge Gainsbourg
  • 1977 Eraserhead (1977) - David Lynch
  • 1978 Interiors (1978) - Woody Allen
  • 1979 Buffet Froid (1979) - Bertrand Blier


    Movies in the 1970s came in a wide variety, as the socially-conscious young directors that emerged in the late '60s grew in different directions, influenced by music, literature, and the nature of crime and war. The early part of the decade focused on increasingly realistic, gritty movies, including Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather pictures and Robert Altman's M*A*S*H. A trend that lasted through the decade was the popularity of disaster movies, starting with Airport in 1970. Another trend was the birth of the big-budget horror film, initiated by William Friedkin's The Exorcist which spawned numerous imitators. A pivotal moment in movies was the 1975 release of Steven Spielberg's first major hit, Jaws, widely regarded as the birth of the blockbuster motion picture (a trend sealed two years later with the release of Star Wars. The end of the decade saw the first Vietnam War movies, from directors Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) and Coppola (Apocalypse Now). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970s_in_film [Oct 2004]

    Exploitation film [...]

    Exploitation is the name given to genre of films, extant since the earliest days of moviemaking, but popularized in the 1970s. Exploitation films typically sacrifice traditional notions of artistic merit for the sensational display of some topic about which the audience may be curious, or have some prurient interest.

    Some of the earliest exploitation films were pitched as sensationalist exposés of some drug or sex-related scandal, and were made independently of the major Hollywood studios, thus avoiding restrictions of the Production Code and providing a revenue source for independent theaters. Now that the major motion picture studios allow much more latitude in subject matter, it is not necessary for independent producers to cater to audiences' desires to view such things. Thus, in modern cinema, roles have reversed somewhat, with major studios catering to the so-called "lowest common denominator", while art films are more typically made independently. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploitation_film [Oct 2004]

    Seventies horror films [...]

    Throughout the thirties and forties, the horror film had a degree of respectability that was lost in the following two decades (think of the critical reception given to Psycho). Big stars wouldn't touch the genre with a barge pole, and they were very rarely offered roles in horror films. This changed when Rosemary's Baby began ringing tills in the late sixties (clever child!); budgets were upped considerably, and many top names jumped at the chance to flex their thespian muscles in a horror pic (two at random: Ava Gardner in The Devil's Widow in 1971; Laurence Olivier in John Badham's slightly underrated Dracula eight years later). The Exorcist (1973) broke all records for a horror film, and led to the commercial success of The Omen (which is actually directed with greater flair than The Exorcist, but doesn't contain the sense of humour of the latter). --Noel O'Shea

    Porno chic [...]

    We have surely come a long way from the era of "porno chic," that brief moment in the early 1970s when hard-core films first flourished on the national scene. Perhaps because of the novelty, intellectuals chose to take them seriously, and middle-class couples flocked to Deep Throat (1972) and The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) as if they were pretentious corn like The English Patient. --Bruce Handy, Time, 11/17/97

    At that time, pornographic movies even approached acceptance into the mainstream movie industry, with films such as Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door and Gerard Damiano's 1972 film The Devil in Miss Jones being shot on film with high production values, and grossing substantial amounts in movie theaters. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornographic_movie [Oct 2004]

    Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull

    Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull [Amazon.com]

    Silent Running (1972) - Douglas Trumbull [Amazon.com]

    Silent Running (1972)
    Silent Running is a science fiction movie made in 1972, directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern as the protagonist Freeman Lowell. It was made with a very limited budget but has since achieved a cult following.

    The movie depicts a dystopian future, in which all plant life on Earth is extinct and only a few specimens have been preserved in greenhouse-like domes attached to a fleet of three American Airlines "Space Freighters" positioned just outside of the orbit of Mars. Lowell, a crew member aboard one of these ships, the "Valley Forge," is in constant disagreement with his other, human crewmates, who are anxious to return to a bleak and deforested yet familiar Earth. However, Lowell does have a better relationship with humanlike drones who are also aboard the ships.

    The science and technology depicted in Silent Running are not always plausible, and Trumbull's special effects are low quality even by the standards of the time (he had a larger budget in his later film Blade Runner), but the melancholy message is powerful.

    The soundtrack songs are performed by Joan Baez and the film score was composed by Peter Schickele. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Running [May 2005]

    USA: The Sexual Revolution on Film 1967-1972

    by David Schwartz

    The revolution came from overseas. The occasionally explicit and often anxiety-ridden depiction of sexuality that occurred in mainstream American cinema in the late 1960s and early 1970s was largely inspired by the influence and popularity of European art films.

    In 1966, censors for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), bound by the strictures of the antiquated Production Code, asked Michelangelo Antonioni to cut a brief glimpse of pubic hair from a scene in his English-language film Blow-Up, which was due to be released by MGM. After Antonioni strongly objected to Hollywood’s demands, MGM opted for an end-run, successfully releasing the film without the Code’s seal of approval through a subsidiary company, Premier Productions.

    A year later [1967], the Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) was seized by the U. S. Customs Service for “obscene” sexual content. After a group of writers (including Norman Mailer, John Simon, and Stanley Kauffman), psychologists, and clergymen vouched for the film’s artistic and social merit, the U.S. Court of Appeals allowed the film’s release. The controversy, of course, guaranteed its success.

    Bowing to the reality of court decisions against censorship, and acknowledging the growing trend towards permissiveness sweeping through American society, the MPAA introduced a self-regulatory ratings system in 1968. Films with explicit violence or sexual content could be released with an X rating (nobody under 17 admitted). Before it was feverishly adopted as a marketing tool by the adult film industry (“XXX!”), the X rating came with no stigma attached. Midnight Cowboy, released by United Artists in 1969, won the Best Picture Oscar (over Hello, Dolly! and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.) --David Schwartz, Chief Curator of Film via http://www.ammi.org/site/screenings/content/2002/carnal.html [Mar 2005]

    Kink in 1970s film

    Maitresse (1973) - Barbet Schroeder [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The Night Porter (Italy-U.S.A., 1974) is a psychological drama set in Vienna twenty years after World War II. Charlotte Rampling is a concentration camp survivor. She checks into a hotel and finds that Dirk Bogarde, a Nazi who was her dominant lover, is working there as the desk clerk. They try to avoid each other, but they meet nonetheless and the passion rekindles. They resume their S/M relationship and barricade themselves in an apartment against the death threats of Bogarde's former war companions.

    The Story of O (France, 1975) came out the following year. Compared to the book from which it was adapted, it is erotic fluff - a cotton candy version of whips and chains. In all fairness, though, that was to be expected. The intensity of the book's scenes had to be toned down to allow it into mainstream theaters. The result is a tastefully mounted soap commercial for sexual submission.

    Next came La Maîtresse (France, 1976), which is still the hottest look at S/M on film. Gerard Depardieu plays a burglar who, along with a companion, breaks into an apartment. To their surprise, they find a full working dungeon and a vast assortment of bizarre leather equipment. The mistress (maîtresse) of the house soon discovers them. She takes Depardieu in hand and introduces him to the ways of sexual dominance. The result is a love story that departs far from the ordinary. Unfortunately, La Maîtresse did not become generally available on video tape. It is now seen in this country only occasionally at film festivals and art houses.

    Aside from those three features, American moviegoers had only sporadic peeks at kink prior to the Eighties. In Klute (1971), a twisted and pathetic sadist tries to kill a New York call girl, played by Jane Fonda. Any bondage during the story is off-screen and enters the plot only through dialogue. There was The Nightcomers (Great Britain 1971), an odd prequel of the Henry James ghost story "The Turn of the Screw." The movie itself is lackluster, except for a few racy bedroom scenes in which Stephanie Beacham is hogtied by Marlon Brando. At the end of the Seventies, a brooding Hardcore (1979) displayed S/M as an evil, freakish sideshow to Americana, as George C. Scott hunts for his missing daughter along a trail of porno films from Los Angeles to San Francisco. --http://www.uncommon-ground.org/movies.htm [May 2005]

    see also: kink - sadomasochism in film - Story of O (1975) - Maîtresse (1973)

    Je t’Aime Moi Non Plus (film)

    Hot, Hard Cocks and Tight, Tight Unlubricated Assholes: Transgression, Sexual Ambiguity and “Perverse” Pleasures in Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime moi non plus by Jack Sargeant
    If certain body parts and functions are coded as normal and acceptable, Sargeant examines a film that turns these presuppositions on their head. --http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/04/30/je_taime_moi_non_plus.html

    Je t'aime, moi non plus (1976) - Serge Gainsbourg

    I remember seeing this one for the first time on May 7, 1988. If they ever awarded a film for being the best in bad taste, here's your winner. Joe Dallesandro plays Krassky, a gay man who's had a spat with his lover (Hughes Quester). While at a bar, he meets up with a boyish (and I mean boyish) female bartender named Johnny (Jane Birkin). They have an affair while Krassky's male lover Padovan tries to make amends.

    While the story is intriguing, the ugliness of the film is quite strong. Johnny's boss is a flatulating old man who occasionally brings in some unattractive women to do a striptease for the men. We see Padovan eating spaghetti with his hands and Johnny eating what looks like cucumbers dipped in milk. There's a scene where Padovan is answering nature's call in an open field. All the sex between Krassky and Johnny is anal, which forces Birkin to scream in agony in every one of those scenes. While I respect Jane Birkin's talents, I wonder if anyone would be turned on by her "lack of rack" or her very short haircut?

    Bottom line: A movie only for a certain group. I haven't seen this one for a while, but I'll bet Showcase (a cable channel in Canada) will someday show this one, due to their reputation of showing a lot of gay product. --bluethunder35 for imdb.com, http://us.imdb.com/Title?0073196 [Dec 2004]

    New Hollywood [...]

    New Hollywood refers to the brief time between roughly 1967 (Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate) and 1977 (Star Wars) when a new generation of young, cinema-crazed filmmakers came to prominence in America, drastically changing not only the way Hollywood films were produced and marketed, but also the kinds of films that were made.

    In this ten year period, Hollywood was overrun by a new generation of film school-educated, counter culture-bred actors, writers, and, most importantly, directors. This group of people, dubbed the New Hollywood by the press (or, affectionately, the Movie Brats), destroyed the old, producer-dominated Hollywood system of the past and injected movies with a jolt of freshness, energy, sexuality, and an obsessive passion for film itself. The body of work from this period is in itself a list of the greatest films ever made. To name but a few: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Easy Rider, M*A*S*H, The French Connection, Chinatown, Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather, Jaws, Badlands, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, Raging Bull. The talent behind these films is staggering: Francis Ford Coppola, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Arthur Penn, William Friedkin, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Roman Polanski, Terrence Malick, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton.

    The New Hollywood came crashing down with the release of Star Wars in 1977. With its unprecedented box-office success, Lucas’ film, along with Spielberg’s Jaws two years before, jumpstarted Hollywood’s blockbuster mentality, effectively ending the New Hollywood reign of smaller, idiosyncratic, envelope-pushing films. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hollywood [Nov 2004]


    This list is not meant to be exhaustive, I just picked my favourite movie for each year, trying to cover as much terrain as possible and generally ignoring blockbuster movies.

    1. Five Easy Pieces (1970) - Bob Rafelson
      This subtle, existential character study of an emotionally distant outcast (Jack Nicholson) forced to confront his past failures remains an intimate cornerstone of American '70s cinema. --Dave McCoy for amazon.com

    2. Silent Running - Douglas Trumbull
      After creating many of the innovative special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Douglas Trumbull tried his hand at directing, and 1971's Silent Running marked an impressive debut. -- Jeff Shannon

    3. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (1972) - Woody Allen
      Although the final bit, which takes place inside a man's body during a very hot date, is hilarious, most of Everything feels like the screen adaptation of a '70s bathroom joke book. Still, a must for Allen fans.--Keith Simanton for amazon.com

    4. La Grande Bouffe (1973) - Marco Ferreri
      "La Grande Bouffe" scandalized audiences with its tale of four world-weary middle-aged men who decide to gorge themselves to death in one final orgiastic weekend full of gourmet food, call girls and a hefty, lusty schoolteacher.

    5. Going Places/Les Valseuses (1974) Bertrand Blier
      Can two loveable but amoral brutes survive an increasingly strange spree of love, pain, responsibility, car theft and nymphomania?

    6. Death Race 2000 (1975) - Paul Bartel
      Oh great American multitude and sports fans everywhere have I got a movie for you: Paul Bartel's 1975 cheap-o satire Death Race 2000.

    7. Brutti Sporchi e Cattivi/Ugly, Dirty and Bad (1976) - Ettore Scola
      Brilliantly outlandish satire of unrelenting familial greed, violence, and depravity. Four generations of a family live crowded together in a shanytown shack in the squalor of inner-city Rome. They plan to murder each other with poisoned dinners, arson, etc. The household engages in various forms of sexual perversion, land swindles, incest, drugs and adultery.

    8. Demon Seed (1977) - Donald Cammell
      A mind altering and disturbing story of a smarty pants computer that stops at nothing in it's quest to become human. Julie Christie is great as a woman who is held hostage and raped by an artificial intelligence in her wired home.

    9. Up in Smoke (1978) - Lou Adler, Tommy Chong
      Cheech & Chong's first cannabis comedy is also their best, a souvenir from the more carefree days before "Just Say No," when people did not feel so defensive about inhaling. --Jim Emerson

    10. The Brood (1979)- David Cronenberg
      In the film's climactic scene, Frank learns that the creatures are all part of a brood and have been born from a hideous birth sac attached to Nora's ribs. These are the creatures of her rage. Connected to her emotionally, they enact her murderous desires.

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