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The Top Ten Movies of 1974 (and other 70s film years)


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Robert Horton has been making interesting top ten lists lately.

His most recent list takes us back to 1974.

I wish I knew 1970s cinema well enough to take this on myself, but I have a long way to go before I can present anything worth considering. What about you? Anybody here know '70s cinema well enough to list ten favorites for a particular year in that decade?

(Now, if we go to the 80s... no problem.)

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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That's a great list, and I was particularly impressed to see The Parallax View included in it. It's not a film that seems to get a lot of recognition, but it is one of the better "paranoia" films from that year. What is surprising is that another great "paranoia" film - The Conversation - did not make the list, nor did it receive any mention in the article. It's one of those films that, the more I watch it, the more I pick up on with repeated viewings.

The Sugarland Express is another film from that year that is worth noting. I just watched it the other night, and had Spielberg spent a little less time focusing on car crashes, and a little more time with Goldie Hawn, William Atherton and Michael Sachs, Sugarland could have also made this list.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Young Frankenstein deserved more than a post-listed mention. Same with Blazing Saddles. It's a miracle that one director could come up with two life-long high points... but in one year? 1974 was Mel Brooks' year.

Also, _The Taking of Pelham 123_. That film is a tremendous New York City time capsule, filled with exceptional performances and color.

Nobody will mention _That's Entertainment_, but it could have been incredibly boring... and save for the Esther Williams moments, it was riveting from first frame to last.

And even though the triple threat of Chinatown, The Conversation, and The Godfather Part II loom large in a cinephile's library, I consider _The Towering Inferno_ to be the high water mark for disaster flicks: Fred Astaire, Paul Newman, O.J. Simpson, and a Brady kid. Love it, love it, lerrrve it.

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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Young Frankenstein deserved more than a post-listed mention. Same with Blazing Saddles. It's a miracle that one director could come up with two life-long high points... but in one year? 1974 was Mel Brooks' year.

Altman

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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That's a great list, and I was particularly impressed to see The Parallax View included in it. It's not a film that seems to get a lot of recognition, but it is one of the better "paranoia" films from that year. What is surprising is that another great "paranoia" film - The Conversation - did not make the list, nor did it receive any mention in the article. It's one of those films that, the more I watch it, the more I pick up on with repeated viewings.

I'm not sure that The Conversation is '74. It is 1973, along with Charlie Varrick by Don Siegal, one of my favorite films, period.

For '74 both Amarcord and the Brooks films deserve better than he gives them. My instinctive unconcern for Bresson would provide space, as well as Influence.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I consider _The Towering Inferno_ to be the high water mark for disaster flicks: Fred Astaire, Paul Newman, O.J. Simpson, and a Brady kid. Love it, love it, lerrrve it.

The problem here is whether disaster flicks deserve mention. Yeah, Inferno is just about the best of the era. But this era poured most of its melodrama into this genre and so its like a soap opera with explosions. Zucker Abrams Zucker sent this sort of thing up with the Airplane series as well as the little remembered Young Doctors In Love.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I can't imagine the new Pelham being superior to the original, which is pretty much a perfect thriller. I saw it for the first time recently and I thought it was gripping from start to finish. I'm surprised it doesn't get more credit, because it seems like a precursor to later action-thrillers like Die Hard or Speed.

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Rich Kennedy wrote:

: I'm not sure that The Conversation is '74.

Not only is it a '74 film (as per the IMDb), it also marks one of those rare times when two films by the same director have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture (this film ended up losing to the director's other film, The Godfather Part II).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I stand corrected. I knew I should have looked it up.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Other than what has already been named, 1974 is also the host of A Woman Under the Influence, Scenes from a Marriage, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Day for Night, F for Fake, The Cars that Ate Paris, and Zardoz.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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  • 3 years later...

Interesting to read this reissue at Parallax-View of a recap of the Best Films of 1976 (althought quite a few films from other years slip in), by the main contributors of Movietone News. It's especially interesting for one title that glaringly goes unmentioned by any of the contributors.

1976, Which Will Be Charitably Forgotten by the Year 2000

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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I am indeed a 1970s cinema buff. 1974 contained several personal classics:

Butley

California Split

Chinatown

The Conversation

Effi Briest

The Godfather Part II

Lacombe Lucien

Mirror

Murder on the Orient Express

The Odessa File

The Parallax View

Phantom of the Paradise

Stardust

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Thieves Like Us

Vincent, Francois, Paul et les autres

And there are also some I still have yet to see such as Bresson's Lancelot of the Lake, and problematic films like Ken Russell's Mahler which I have trouble fully endorsing.

Two films mentioned earlier - Amarcord and Day for Night - premiered in their countries in 1973, so I consider them movies of that year. Day for Night is one of Truffaut's best, but Amarcord, in my opinion, is sadly one of Fellini's worst and certainly his most overrated.

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