The 1970s was a magical time for movies, with a slew of new stars and directors becoming household names, from Robert Redford and Al Pacino to Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen. After the tumultuous 1960s, which included the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War, America was a different place, and Hollywood reflected the changing culture like a cinematic mirror. Films began to break new ground with changing gender roles, political distrust, and more subversive forms of comedy. The result was a new era, both in American cinema and around the world.
To celebrate the cinematic heyday of the 1970s, this list was compiled to evaluate the best films of the decade. Stacker compiled data on all of the 1970s movies to come up with a Stacker Score – a weighted index evenly divided between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to premier between 1970 and 1979, have a Metascore, and have at least 1,000 votes. The ties have been broken by Metascore and additional ties have been broken by IMDb user rating and votes. All data was updated on January 12, 2020.
This decade, part of the “New Hollywood” era of film, was led by the generation of film schools. These filmmakers challenged the traditional, stagnant perspective of Hollywood while promoting academic study of film and the distribution of international films. These latter initiatives really gave birth to the field of film criticism as we know it today. This, in turn, changed the way films are made and made, leading to the demise of the New Hollywood age in the late 1970s.
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