Welcome to week four of my 100 favorite movies! This week is going to be my most 1970s centric bunch of movies of this countdown. I’ve got two of the biggest hits of the 70’s along with one set in the 70’s. Appropriately, this week’s list starts with number 70…
70. Nosferatu (1922)
If The Maltese Falcon is the stuff dreams are made of, Nosferatu is the stuff nightmares are made of. The shot of Nosferatu’s shadow coming up the stairs is the creepiest shot I have ever seen. That shot is German expressionism in a nutshell.
69. Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
If you’ve already read my review on this movie, you know I think this one is flawed, soapy, and just a bit melodramatic, but I love it anyway. It’s just so thoroughly entertaining. As much as I love Judy Garland, it’s great to watch Lana Turner completely steal this movie. Lana was by far the best part and it’s pretty hard to upstage Judy Garland.
68. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
I think Steven Spielberg was at his best when he was making movies about peaceful aliens. I guess it just feels too obvious to do a movie about humans making contact with alien life only to find out the aliens are out to destroy Earth. Peaceful alien stories are much more interesting to me.
67. It Happened One Night (1934)
If watching this movie doesn’t make you want to take a bus trip and give hitchhiking a try, I don’t know what will.
66. Adam’s Rib (1949)
My favorite of the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy pairings. I can think of a lot of classic couples in film history, but I don’t think there is a couple who were more believable as husband and wife than Kate and Spencer were as Adam and Amanda Bonner. They honestly seemed to be in love and they were absolutely hilarious.
65. Double Indemnity (1944)
Like Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice, Barbara Stanwyck made one deliciously evil femme fatale. Actually, I think Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson is the ultimate femme fatale. Cold, calculating, manipulative, seductive, she’s everything a good femme fatale should be. Fred MacMurray made fantastic prey for Barbara Stanwyck and I love Edward G. Robinson in this. Double Indemnity is film noir at its finest.
64. The Big Parade (1925)
War movies aren’t typically my favorite movies, but The Big Parade is unquestionably a masterpiece. I’m really at a loss for things to say about this one other than it’s exquisitely directed, edited, written, and acted. I just can’t think of a bad thing to say about it. Anyone who won’t watch it just because it’s a silent movie is missing out big time.
63. Freaks (1932)
I don’t think I’ll ever really understand the controversy this caused when it was first released. Maybe I’m just jaded, but all I see it as is a classic “outer beauty doesn’t equal inner beauty” story told in a totally unique way.
62. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Like Freaks, Saturday Night Fever has a fairly simple story at heart: a young, working class guy longs to escape his dull life and channels all his energy into the one thing in his life he’s ever been given any real recognition for. Even though this is the definitive 70’s movie, the core story transcends the disco music, the platform shoes, the hairstyles, and remains something many people can still identify with. John Travolta absolutely makes this movie. Very few people ever completely and totally owned a movie part like John Travolta did as Tony Manero.
61. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Here’s a perfect example of a movie I initially didn’t like, but eventually ended up loving. The writing is honest and funny, it’s got an outstanding ensemble cast of then up-and-coming stars, and the use of music is genius. Even actors I don’t usually care for like Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey were good in this. I really don’t know why I didn’t like it at first. I’m very critical of sports culture and a key storyline in the movie is about Randall “Pink” Floyd, the high school quarterback, realizing there’s more to life than high school football and in the end, he tells off the football coach and goes to get Aerosmith tickets. As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of the happiest movie endings ever!