September 18, 2012

Why the 70’s is the Best Decade for Movies

A lot of people consider the Black and White era the “Golden Age” of Hollywood but for me that age was the 70’s. You may say the 80’s is the best and arguably they had the best action movies, but without the movies from the 70’s laying down the template, our favourite actioners would never have happened.

The sheer variety of movies was fantastic and it was really the decade that created the action movie. Movies were a lot gritter then and more adult oriented; it was not only a great era for action but also for horror.

In terms of action, here’s a few select choices.

Dirty Harry: Clint Eastwood was the ultimate “play by his own rules” cop who gets shouted at by the police chief for causing millions in property damage, disobeys rules but always gets the job done. His character is an icon and has forever been copied but never been bettered.

Death Wish: Charles Bronson’s character Paul Kersey is the ultimate vigilante and didn’t need a costume to hide himself. He just shot bad guys and walked away. Very few vigilante movies have come close to it terms of sheer balls. The upcoming (pointless) remake may be violent, but I can guarantee that it won’t be anywhere near as original or shocking as the Bronson classic. The series sadly did descend into parody with the sequels though, so just stick with the first.

The Godfather: The greatest gangster movie of all time remains untouched as a gritty story of family and violence. They haven’t remade it yet but I give the bean counters in Hollywood a matter of time before they defecate all over the original.

The French Connection: Gene Hackman’s Popeye Doyle is another tough guy cop who has one of the greatest car chases of all time in William Friedkin’s classic.

Chinatown: Sure, it’s not really an action movie…in fact it isn’t, but it’s still a classic and Nicholson is fantastic in it. Love Goldsmith’s score too.

Star Wars: Never heard of it? Redefined Cinema, whether you like it or not.

Superman The Movie: Although sadly dated now, it still has the greatest movie theme of all time and despite the utter over saturation of superhero movies out there today, this still remains one of the best.

Jaws: Despite the shark looking a little rubbery, the film still stands up as one of Spielberg’s finest hours and manages to be scary, tense and exciting while allowing you to care for the characters and not rush every scene.

The Driver/Vanishing Point: 2 of the all-time greatest car movies and without them there would be no Drive, Faster or frankly any of the car movies we love so much.

Rocky: The movie that introduced us to Sylvester Stallone and the “underdog” sports movie is so important mostly due to the struggle Sly went though to get it made.

The 70’s also had the best horror; here’s a select few:

Halloween: John Carpenter’s classic remains my all time favourite horror movie. The atmosphere, the music, the camerawork and Michael Myers himself has never been better than in the original. It also doesn’t need to have excessive gore to be scary as hell.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Another movie that is so iconic despite not being particularly gory, it manages to ratchet up the tension past 11 and the last 25 minutes are an exercise in terror.

Alien: Ridley Scott showed the world that you don’t light-sabers to make sci-fi awesome. Dripping tension from every beautifully shot scene, Alien is one of the best horror movies of all time.

The Exorcist: This film still manages to creep the shit out of me and once again isn’t gory, but is disturbing and haunts you long after watching it.

The Omen Trilogy: All three films are brilliant and despite being mocked by South Park et al, there is still some spectacular gore, an amazing music score by Jerry Goldsmith and the 3rd film even has Sam Neill as the Antichrist. Aww, that’s nice then.

This is only a select few off the top of my head, but I think it proves my point that the 70’s was an awesome era for movies and is definitely what I would consider the Golden Age of movies.


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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