10 Best Movies of the 1970s, Ranked According to IMDb

10 Best Movies of the 1970s, Ranked According to IMDb

The 1970s were full of features that established franchises were still talking about and producing today. In that same decade, Best Movies broke Oscar records, set the bar high for genre films, and brought a little comedic and not-so-comedy madness to the big screen. Some of the most revered films still honored today that feature in IMDb’s Top 250 date from the ’70s.

From iconic and quotable lines to highlighting directors and stars, there’s no denying the impact this top ten has had on cinema. And even for the audience who may not have seen the full list, there’s no doubt they’ve heard of the titles. Today, these legends are used to teach the craft to the next generation of filmmakers and cinephiles and invoke a new appreciation for cinema.



ten “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)

A group of knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Image via EMI films

IMDb Rating: #148 — 8.1/10

Decades later, Monty Python and the Holy Grail continue to make audiences smile with their comical ridiculousness. In this medieval tale, King Arthur and his knights set out to find the Holy Grail, only to be faced with a wave of downright bizarre and outlandish obstacles. Writers and directors terry gilliam And Terry Jones round out the already legendary cast of comedy stars like John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael PallinAnd Eric Idle.

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This feature is the second in the Monty Python franchise – films based on a 1969 British BBC sketch show featuring the cast of actors. Despite a flurry of excellent comedy writing and movies in the 21st century, Monty Python and the Holy Grail manages to retain a spot in the IMDb Top 250.

9 ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976)

Taxi driver

IMDb rating: #117 — 8.2

A dark but epic episode in the career of Martin Scorsese And robert deniro, Taxi driver remains equally compelling more than four decades later. Travis Bickle (De Niro) takes a job as a night cab driver in New York, where he slowly begins to detach from reality as he fantasizes about saving the city until a 12-year-old prostitute named Irises (Jodie Foster) gets into his cab and he tries to save her.

Thanks to a compelling performance by De Niro, audiences received one of the most quoted lines in movie history: “Are you talking to me?” A sign of brilliant cinema, Scorsese places audiences in a difficult position whether they love Travis, hate him, or relate to the polarizing character in his quest to clean up NYC.

8 “The Sting” (1973)

The Sting (1973) (1)

IMDb rating: #112 — 8.2

One of the original “art of the con” films, The bite, featured strong performances from its leading men that still inspire films today. Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) is an aspiring con man who wants revenge on Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), a ruthless crime boss who murders his friend. Hooker seeks out and teams up with experienced con man Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to plot such an elaborate plan that Lonnegan never suspects – of course, things don’t go as planned.

The bite won its Best Picture Oscar among six other wins, ten nominations in total. This dramedy is the ultimate movie for movie buffs of all types. It laid the groundwork for today’s rogue, scheming, rogue genre films, never sacrificing any part of the process to get there.

7 “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

Alex in his signature suspender outfit staring at the camera in

IMDb rating: #104 — 8.2/10

Stanley KubrickIt is A clockwork orange is a true dystopian nightmare. Set in a futuristic version of England, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) – a sadistic gang leader – negotiates his release from prison by participating in behavior modification experiments that condition him to hate violence. As he returns to society, those he has fallen victim to quickly take advantage of his newfound defenselessness.

This critically acclaimed film is unsettling and uncomfortable. Like many of the greats of cinema, A clockwork orange presents the audience with a moral dilemma about whether to identify with the “hero” or believe in the work of “what happens comes back”. Despite its four Oscar nominations, the sci-fi drama didn’t win a golden statue that year.

6 “Apocalypse Now” (1979)

A group of soldiers in Apocalypse Now

IMDb rating: #53 — 8.4/10

Francis Ford Coppola takes audiences into the dark depths of war and madness with Revelation now. Deep in the trenches of the Vietnam War, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is tasked with going up the river to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a promising officer who would have gone mad. As Willard’s journey drags on, he begins his own descent into darkness.

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In a decade when movies focused heavily on the Vietnam experience, original and focused storytelling was crucial, and Ford Coppola delivered. Sheen and Brando’s performances are backed up by equally heavy hitters like Harrison Ford, Robert Duval, Denis HopperAnd Laurence Fishburne. This war movie won Best Cinematography and Best Sound among its eight Oscar nominations.

5 “Alien” (1979)

Jonesy in

IMDb Rating: #51 — 8.4/10

Audiences can thank this film for one of the most heartbreaking horror sequences in the history of the genre (you know that one). After receiving an unknown distress call, the crew of a commercial ship awakens from their cryogenic sleep to investigate and are soon terrorized by an alien organism that has attached itself to a crew member. This sci-fi horror put director Ridley Scott on the map and gave moviegoers one of the best final girls starring Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).

Although it only scored two nominations for the Academy’s technical awards, Extraterrestrial is still one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. The audience was on the edges of their seats from the premise to the scares. This 70s classic also launched an entire franchise, leading to the cinematic installation of the Predatorfilm series.

4 ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ (1977)

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) staring into the distance on the desert planet of Tatooine in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Image via LucasFilm

IMDb Rating: #28 — 8.5/10

The episode that started it all is deservedly top ten for its decade of release. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope transported audiences to a galaxy far, far away where a group of rebels, including a pilot, a princess, and an orphan, join forces to fight for the rebellion and save the galaxy from Empire rule.

RELATED: Every ‘Star Wars’ Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

Earning six of his eleven Oscar nominations, george lucas, the iconic cast and the technical team have forever marked cinema and what it means to love a franchise. If you haven’t seen star wars, Have you heard of it. Decades and generations later, the stories of the galaxy continue to reach new viewers and new heights.

3 “Flight Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Image via United Artists

IMDb rating: #18 — 8.6/10

This acclaimed adaptation brought viewers to the big screen some of the best antagonist characters of all time. Jack Nicholson stars as newly admitted patient RP McMurphy, who rallies the more shy and introverted patients of a mental institution against nurse Ratched (Louise Flecher), who rules the service with an iron fist.

Flight over a cuckoo’s nest is based on the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey. Nicholson’s performance was a great preview of what viewers could expect from him as a leading man in psychological drama – the brilliant coming later in 1980. A nine-time Oscar-nominated film, Flight over a cuckoo’s nest was the first film in 41 years to sweep the “Big Five” (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director).

2 ‘The Godfather Part II’ (1974)

Fredo Kiss - Godfather Part II
Fredo kisses in The Godfather Part II

IMDb Rating: #4 — 9.0/10

A spectacular sequel to the number one film of the 1970s, The Godfather Part II, is just as brutal. As their stories are told side by side, audiences learn about the early life of Vito Corleone (robert deniro) as he rose to power, while today his son Michael (Al Pacino) controls the empire built by Vito.

Director Francis Ford Coppola and co-writer Mario Puzo produced the first-ever sequel to win Best Picture, earning six of its eleven nominations. Pacino brought the franchise to success with his chilling return to Michael Corleone alongside De Niro’s entry into the picture. A must, The Godfather is in the decade’s top five and IMDb’s top 250.

1 “The Godfather” (1972)

A man whispering something in the ear of Marlon Brando in The Godfather
Image via Paramount Pictures

IMDb Rating: #2 — 9.2/10

The definition of iconic and a “how-to” in mafia storytelling, The Godfather continues his reign as the best of the 70s and number two of all time in the Top 250. When his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) returns, the head of a highly respected mafia family, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando ), decides to step back, but the status quo takes a dangerous turn, and the Corleone Empire quickly becomes threatened.

From the opening sequence to the final images, The Godfather stunned audiences into a stupor with its brilliant writing, editing, cinematography, and more. Winning the Best Picture Oscar, this movie set the bar high and redefined the foundations of the mob genre.

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