On Movies: My Favorite Films from the 1970s
I was born in 1963, eight months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas and four months before MGM released John Sturges’ The Great Escape in theaters. And, as far as I can remember, I first went to a movie in a theater – in Bogota, Colombia – in 1969, when my older half-sister and one of her paternal cousins took me to see the aforementioned The Great Escape.
I don’t remember going to a lot of movies when we lived in Bogota from 1966 to 1972. I remember going to see The Great Escape and Snow White, both of which were re-issues of older films, but I don’t think I was as frequent a moviegoer as I would later be when Mom and I (later followed by my reluctant half-sibling) moved back to Miami in the late spring of 1972. I dimly remember going to see a science fiction film called Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, but I don’t recall the particulars of that movie.
Once we were finally living in a house in Westchester, a Miami suburb, my mom took me to the movies more often than when we lived in South America. At first, because I was only nine or 10, she would go with me or have my half-sister take me so I wouldn’t be alone in a theater with strangers. But starting in 1975 or so, my mother would drive me to a theater – usually the Dadeland Twin or its Coral Gables counterpart, the Gables Twin Theater – and drop me off with enough cash for the ticket, snacks, and a quarter for the public pay phone so I could call home for a pick-up ride.
Oddly enough, I didn’t see many of the titles in this list favorite 1970s films in theaters. I was living in Colombia when Summer of ’42 was released in 1971, and I seriously doubt that my mother would have allowed me to see it because of its topic. She didn’t allow me to go to see Jaws during the Summer of the Shark, either, and the first time I attempted to see Apocalypse Now in 1979, I was stopped not by a reluctant parent but by a by-the-book box office employee who would not let me in because I was 16 and not accompanied by a parent or guardian. (My older half-sister was with me, but the ticket seller wasn’t having any of it.)
So, with the exception of Silent Movie, A Bridge Too Far, and Star Wars (which hit theaters around the same time in 1977), I saw most of the following titles either on broadcast television (both over-the-air and on cable) or on home video.
Note:This list does not include every 1970s film I own in my home media collection; just my favorites.
Without further ado, away we go.
- Summer of ’42 (1971)
- The Godfather (1972)
- American Graffiti (1973)
- Blazing Saddles (1974)
- Jaws (1975)
- All the President’s Men (1976)
- Silent Movie (1976)
- Silver Streak (1976)
- Black Sunday (1977)
- Star Wars (1977)
- A Bridge Too Far (1977)
- Oh, God! (1977)
- Superman (1978)
- Alien (1979)
- Apocalypse Now
 For a brief retelling of this event, please see the introduction of my book, Save Me the Aisle Seat: The Good, the Bad and the Really Bad Movies: Selected Reviews by an Online Film Reviewer
 Apparently, 1977 was a good year for movies. (So was 1976!)