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19 Far-Out '70s Films Everyone Should See at Least Once

The Godfather (1972)

This iconic series began its journey in the 70s. Actors like Al Pacino and Marlon Brando wowed audiences with their amazing acting skills, and the image of a grown man stroking a cat will forever be emblazoned in our minds. It is still consistently ranked as one of the greatest movies of all time.

As the highest grossing film of 1972, it was, if only for a brief time, the highest grossing film ever made. The entire series is so good, in fact, that The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are the only original/sequel combo to have both won Best Picture at the Oscars. It broke the rule that the sequel is never better than the original.

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Grease (1978)

Who doesn’t know at least some of the songs from this musical movie? It’s fun, features a love story between the shy girl and the bad boy, and there’s a lot of leather. What's not to like?

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Taxi Driver (1976)

Other than the controversial 12-year-old prostitute, this film helped capture the aftermath of the Vietnam war. The cultural prevalence alone will help this movie live on for decades to come. 

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

This cult classic shocked audiences when Tim Curry, playing a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania, hit the big screen. From Broadway to the big screen, this gem didn't get much love at first—but today, it's a cult classic!

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The Exorcist (1973)

The first installment in what would become a large, horror movie franchise first appeared on screens in the 70s. Thanks to Linda Blair's superb performance as a demon-possessed child, this film had audiences literally fainting in theaters. 

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Carrie (1976)

The high school girl who gets her chance at popularity before it is ruined by the mean girls is a pretty popular plot line, but no movie did it better than Carrie. From telekenetic powers to religious fanatacism, this film didn't mess around. 

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Jaws (1975)

Jaws was such a significant movie that the iconic music and odd camera zoom in/out will forever be connected to it. That’s quite an achievement! Oh yeah, and there's a giant, terrifying shark too. Did we mention that? 

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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Psychological thrillers dominate lists of the most popular movies of the 70s, but this film is the reigning champion. This one is definitely not for the faint of heart. 

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

This classic film is one of only three movies to win all of the coveted "Big Five" Academy awards—best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, and best screenplay. Starring Jack Nicholson as criminal and psychiatric patient Randle McMurphy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest paints a poignant but bleak picture of mental health institutions in the 1970s. 

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Animal House (1978)

This film is full of the angst of a generation ready to rebel against what they saw as the perfectionist, humdrum society of their parents. Plus, who doesn’t love pitting crazy, lovable frat boys against cliche ones?

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

This film captured the childhood dream of being swept away from your troubles to a different world…. filled with tons of chocolate! It also instilled in 70s kids the fear of turning into a blueberry. Yikes! 

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Rocky (1976)

This epic film series got its start in the 70s, and it has been the forefront of cultural references ever since. Everyone loves an underdog story, and there's none better than Rocky. 

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Blazing Saddles (1974)

Western parodies are a dime a dozen, but Blazing Saddles was in a category all its own. Plus, it features one of the themes key to success of a movie in the 70s: political corruption. 

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Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Disco, Disco, Disco! What more do I have to say? An attractive and talented dancer is about all you needed to make girls flock to the movies in the 1970s. This film perfected that technique! 

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

From the knights who say, "Ni!" to "She's a witch, burn her!" there are so many lines from this classic that have been nearly quoted to death. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is hilarious, timeless, and is teeming with cultural significance. 

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Superman (1978)

Children of the 40s on grew up with the Superman comics. It’s no wonder then, that the moment the live-action version hit the big screens, it was a huge success! 

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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

We may have The Walking Dead to fulfill our zombie apocalypse needs now, but Dawn of the Dead was the go-to movie for that need in the 70s. 

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All the President's Men (1976)

Moviegoers of the 70s loved political scandals, and the king of all scandals at the time was Watergate. A slightly fictional take on its uncovering, this movie helped define a generation of political discomfort. 

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The Way We Were (1973)

In today’s political mess, it might not hurt to take a look back on this film. It helped viewers of the 70s reflect on what and who they were willing to sacrifice for their political affiliation, and it may be able to help some people today. 

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