Welcome to Part 2 of a 5-part, decade-wise exploration of the finest English language cinema. Last time, we did the 60's. This, and the following lists, look not just at the most acclaimed films of the decade, but the ones with the most impactful cultural footprint. We hope you enjoy the show, and go back to your classic DVDs with a smile on your face.
Ah, the disco seventies.
Afros. The Bee Gees. Bellbottoms. Watergate. The death of JRR Tolkien. Punk Rock. Feminism. Studio 54. Donna Summer. The death of Chairman Mao. David Bowie. Stephen Hawking. The Grateful Dead. All In The Family. Stephen King. Women's Lib. Lava lamps. The World Trade Centre. Happy Days. Bob Marley. Saturday Night Fever. Platform shoes. West Indies wins the first Cricket World Cup. The Sex Pistols. Billie Jean King. Idi Amin. The India-Pakistan war. Stevie Wonder. Margaret Thatcher. Miles Davis goes electric. Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon. Nadia Comaneci. Erich Segal's Love Story. The Beatles break up.
After the freewheeling sixties, the seventies were mostly a period of culture regaining its balance. Creativity was balanced with consumerism as pop-culture gave birth to marketable trends. And cinema changed as the Video Cassette Recorder entered the modern home.
Even as home viewers became increasingly important, theatregoers too made themselves count: blockbusters were born. Characters like Darth Vader and Rocky Balboa became icons in their own right, popularising American cinema internationally while German directors like Wim Wenders established their own New Wave movement.
Horror cinema became a powerful genre with films like The Omen and The Exorcist. Asia rose to cinematic strengths with Amitabh Bachchan making Bollywood bigger and Bruce Lee taking the Kung-Fu genre heavily into the global mainstream.
While this very ambitious list thankfully looks only at English-language films, the conflict this decade involved deciding between massive hits and more relevant cinema, between prescient visionary filmmakers and astonishing entertainers.
There's no way to make this list unanimous, and here -- in chronological order -- are ten English films that make us love the 70s.
Text: Raja Sen
Also Read: Special: The Best Films of the 60s