Sunday, April 19, 2015

Decades of Cinema - 10 Best of the 1970's

If you missed my previous decades lists you can find the 1920's here, the 1930's here, the 1940's here, the 1950's here, and the 1960's here. On we go to the 1970's, here are my ten favorite films from a remarkable decade.

10. Badlands

My man Terrence Malick, who crafted my favorite film of all time makes the list here with his incredible debut Badlands. The story of a teenage girl who gets swept up in a romance with the much older Kit, a man doing his best James Dean impression, and what results when they run away together is a killing spree spread across the badlands in South Dakota. Truly one of the most impressive debuts I have seen.

9. Jaws

How much really needs to be said about Jaws? It is iconic cinema and if the 1970's weren't so loaded with amazing movies, you would find this much higher than 9th considering it resides in my 100 favorite films of all time list. It is the film that made people afraid to go in the water.

8. Autumn Sonata

I only recently watched Autumn Sonata for the very first time and yet here it is, in my top 10 of arguably the finest decade of films ever. It's that great. Yet again Ingmar Bergman finds his way into these lists and with good reason. Brilliantly performed, powerful cinema that is impossible to shake after it ends, Autumn Sonata is simply masterful.

7. The Spirit of the Beehive

Do you see that look on the face of the little girl above? That was me while I watched The Spirit of the Beehive, a lyrical and spellbinding film about a young child who attends a screening in her town of Frankenstein and becomes fascinated with the monster portrayed. The Spirit of the Beehive takes place during the Spanish civil war and the imagination of a child is a form of escape for a mind too young to process the chaos around her. Guillermo del Toro declared this to be one of his all time favorite films and it obviously served as the inspiration for his very own masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth

6. Stalker

Stalker infected my brain both during and after I watched it and I couldn't let go of how brilliant and confounding of an experience it is. Seriously, if you have ever wondered why Andrei Tarkovsky is regarded as one of the finest auteurs since the medium of film was created, sit back and just let the oddness and beauty of Stalker totally envelop you. It is artistic, soulful, weird and haunting stuff.

5. Halloween

It's easy to freak people out when inside a world shrouded in darkness and shadows, and John Carpenter utilizes those factors with brilliance as well, but you know what else he does? He makes walking down the street on a bright, normal afternoon terrifying as well. Halloween is an absolutely incredible horror film that reminds us that pure evil not only exists, it can be roaming nearby under any circumstances.

4. Alien

I had the opportunity to see Alien at the beautiful old fashioned Tivoli theater in Downers Grove last year for the films 35th anniversary, a special midnight screening and it was an experience I will never forget. So many excited fathers ready to show their teenage sons what the phrase "In space, no one can hear you scream." really means, the place packed with eager cinema lovers ready to experience the nostalgic glow of one of their favorites on the big screen. Alien is a science fiction horror masterpiece.

3. The Godfather Part II

Some would safely say The Godfather: Part II is the greatest sequel ever made and it is hard to argue (although I would, as my choice for such an award will be on the 1980's list). This is pretty much a perfect film in every way and yet it only gets as high as #3 of its decade. That's because...

2. The Godfather

The Godfather is essentially perfect cinema as well and I will always have an ever so slight preference for it over its sequel. Something about the story of the original and the flow of it all, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. To some this is safely the greatest movie ever made, and for me it is in fact top ten, but it still can't win the 1970's.

1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

It's hard to beat Star Wars in my book. Not only is the trilogy packed to the brim with warm wonderful nostalgia for me considering how cherished the films were growing up, but they overflow when revisited as an adult and I realized, my goodness these are just great movies regardless. The start of the saga in 1977 is something glorious to behold, a space opera that builds characters and mythology was ease. Later this year I will be revisiting the entire Star Wars journey (yes, even the prequels) to prepare for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Next I will move into a decade I was actually alive during, the 1980's. Above is a picture from a film that will appear on that list.

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