Beyond the Blockbusters: 12 70s Movies That Deserve More Love

The 1970s was a decade that produced some of the greatest and most iconic films in cinematic history. However, while many of these films are widely known and beloved, there are also a number of hidden gems that have been overlooked and forgotten over the years. These movies offer a unique and often overlooked perspective on the cultural and social issues of the time, as well as showcasing the artistic talent and creativity of some of the most innovative filmmakers of the era.

From offbeat comedies to intense dramas, these movies from the 1970s may not be well-known, but they are definitely worth watching.

1. Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold and Maude
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Harold is a young man obsessed with death and attending funerals for entertainment. Maude is an 80-year-old woman who teaches Harold to embrace life and enjoy every moment. As their friendship develops into a romance, Harold begins to see the world differently but faces opposition from his wealthy and conservative family.

2. The Last Detail (1973)

The Last Detail
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Two naval officers, Buddusky and Mulhall, are assigned to transport a young sailor, Meadows, to military prison for stealing $40 from a charity. Along the way, they try to give Meadows a last taste of freedom but soon become aware of the harshness of the military justice system and the corrupt bureaucracy.

3. Scarecrow (1973)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Max and Lion are two drifters who meet on the road and decide to start a business together. As they travel through California, they encounter a series of misadventures, and their bond is tested. With outstanding performances by Al Pacino and Gene Hackman, “Scarecrow” is a poignant tale of friendship and redemption.

4. The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Harry Caul is a surveillance expert hired to record a conversation between a young couple. As he becomes more deeply involved in the case, he suspects that the couple's lives may be in danger. Torn between his professional duty and conscience, Harry tries to unravel the mystery, but the consequences are devastating.

5. Serpico (1973)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Frank Serpico is a New York City police officer who becomes aware of widespread corruption within the department. As he tries to expose the corruption, he faces hostility from his colleagues and superiors and puts his life in danger. Based on a true story, Serpico is a gripping and powerful film about one man's fight against injustice.

6. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Eddie Coyle is a small-time criminal who is caught between the police and his fellow criminals. He tries to make a deal with the authorities to reduce his sentence, but the consequences are not what he expected. With superb performances by Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle, The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a gritty and realistic portrayal of the criminal underworld.

7. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Image Credit: United Artists

Four gunmen hijack a subway train in New York City and demand a ransom of one million dollars. As the authorities negotiate with the criminals, tensions rise, and the situation becomes more and more dangerous. With outstanding performances by Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a thrilling and suspenseful action movie.

8. Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Five Easy Pieces
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Robert Dupea is a talented pianist from a wealthy family who has given up music to work in the oil fields. When he learns that his father is dying, he travels home with his girlfriend but soon becomes entangled in family tensions and personal conflicts. With a stunning performance by Jack Nicholson, Five Easy Pieces is a complex and thought-provoking drama.

9. Performance (1970)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Chas is a violent and ruthless gangster who goes into hiding after a botched job. He ends up in the house of a reclusive rock star, Turner, and the two men develop an intense and dangerous relationship. With surreal and psychedelic imagery, Performance is a groundbreaking and influential movie that explores themes of identity, sexuality, and violence.

10. The Long Goodbye (1973)

The Long Goodbye
Image Credit: United Artists

Philip Marlowe is a private detective involved in a complex case of murder and deception. As he tries to unravel the mystery, he encounters a cast of eccentric and unpredictable characters and becomes increasingly disillusioned with the corrupt and decadent world around him. With a masterful performance by Elliott Gould, The Long Goodbye is a stylish and witty adaptation of Raymond Chandler's classic novel.

11. Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

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Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Winslow Leach is a talented composer whose work is stolen by a powerful music producer, Swan. Seeking revenge, Winslow becomes the Phantom, a disfigured and vengeful figure who haunts Swan's music palace. With a brilliant score by Paul Williams and a surreal and satirical storyline, Phantom of the Paradise is a cult classic that defies categorization.

12. Badlands (1973)

Badlands 1973 1
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Kit and Holly are two young lovers who embark on a killing spree across the American Midwest. As their crimes become more daring and brutal, they attract the attention of the police and the media. With stunning performances by Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, Badlands is a haunting and mesmerizing movie exploring violence, youth, and rebellion themes.

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