Top 50 movies of the 1970’s as remembered by Sonic…

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….or were they really?

One day I was thinking about an old movie and had good memories of it. I decided to watch if for the first time in 30 plus years. I was horrified. The movie was nothing like I remembered. Here’s the thing. The movie did not change, but my perceptions of what is a good movie changed beyond a doubt. Did I romanticize the movie for some reason? Was there some association of what was happening in my life when I watched the movie that made me remember it fondly? Did I make the movie a tall tale in my mind? Or did time simply pass it into irrelevancy? So, where there is one, there must be more. Which brings us to what this list is all about.

Do they hold up still?

This list of movies I pulled from my memory and put in order of how good I remembered them to be. Some were watched when they came out and others were watched years later, but the list contains only movies from the 1970’s. My age during this time ranged from 4 to 14, so it is a good bet that some in the later 70’s were watched when they came out, but others were watched later, even into the 80’s.  But to be on this list it had to be released in the 70’s and I had to watch it sometime in the 70’s – 80’s. This is not a list of the best, must-see movies or the top blockbusting movies of that decade. They are simply movies I remembered seeing and liking.

I will be slowly watching these movies again and updating the rating for them as having stood the test of time or failed for one reason or another. I may even put some comments as to why it passed of failed. Keep checking back for updates and let’s see how they held up over time.

1. Star Wars    
“It really stood the test of time. It was so unique and set the standard for future sci-fi movies.”
2. Star Trek    
“So slow! Captain Kirk seemed childish and petty. The only redeeming quality was the idea of Voyager VI learning and returning with what it learned.”
3. Close Encounters of the 3rd kind    
“Good movie with nice effects. See? Not all aliens are bad. (Although some might say the character played by Richard Dreyfuss was not a good dad or husband.)”
4. The Bad News Bears    
“As a kid that played ball on a team just like this, I enjoyed this movie. As an adult it held up and I got to relive some good memories.”
5. Jaws    
“Honestly surprised that I ended up giving it an approval. I expected it to not really stand up. Admittedly the special FX for the shark were not the greatest, but I have seen much worse in later years.”
6. Rocky    
“Sylvester Stallone nailed this character with the help of great supporting characters. The underdog story.”
7. Alien    
“Holds up well. The story, script and acting are all well done. The visual effects are still nice, minus a few issues with the Alien.”
8. Mad Max    
“Still a gritty movie today. To me this was the gateway to apocalyptic movies.”
9. Grease    
“Such a phenomenal music score. More than 40 years later this movie still makes me smile. I don’t think this movie can ever age. It feels as fresh today as back then.”
10. Superman    
“Another close one, but it just did not do it for me the same as when it came out. Great actors! I still say watch it because it really paved the way for more comics, I grew up with to follow, but I wish they had cut out most of the first hour of this three-hour long movie.”
11. King Kong    
“Truly sad to decline this because I had fond memories of this movie, but the special effects just did not hold up well at all. Much like watching a Godzilla movie of old. However, Jessica Lange was absolutely charming, and Jeff Bridges was ace.”
12. Chinatown    
“It has Jack Nicholson….enough said.”
13. Taxi Driver    
“That ending….De Niro was perfect in this role. Still a great movie today.”
14. American Graffiti    
“Sensational soundtrack, Amazing automobiles, Captivating cast….” 
15. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest    
“Wonderful acting. Classic.”
16. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School    
“The only thing I still like about this movie is The Ramones music. When I was in High School, I enjoyed it, but now that I am less rebellious, it just does not hold up. I can however recommend it to anyone under the age of 19.”
17. The Sting    
“Enjoyable movie.”
18. Logan’s Run    
“The special effects did not hold up well, but the story was an interesting one. Still worth a watch.”
19. The Warriors    
“Excellent idea for a movie. The dialogue was a little simplistic at times but still a good watch overall.”
20. Assault on Precinct 13    
“Great idea for a movie but it just did not hold up well. It did not keep my attention.”
21. Escape from the Planet of the Apes    
“Just not the same level as the original.”
22. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes    
“It did not hold up well.”
23. The Wanderers    
“Much better than I remembered and deserving of cult status, all enveloped in musical greatness.”
24. Smokey and the Bandit    
“I liked it better as a kid. Sally Fields is charming and Jackie Gleason played the part of Bufford T. Justice well. Good for a few laughs but it did not stand the test of time all that well.”
25. The Three Musketeers    
Nice action movie with lite comedy, based off a great book by Alexandre Dumas.”
26. Death Race 2000    
“Over the top cheese that has since molded.”
27. Invasion of the body snatchers    
Ignoring the dated effects, it was a good story and good actors, so it holds up.”
28. Vanishing Point    
“Mostly driving scenes and very little plot.”
29. Corvette Summer    
“Annie Potts, Mark Hamill and a corvette. Yes.”
30. The Black Hole    

“It made me think of a cross between a 1950’s B-rated movie, complete with the lighting across the eyes, and the Lost in Space tv series, but not as good.”

31. Gone in 60 Seconds    
“I could hardly watch it. I was easily impressed as a kid with car chases I guess.”
32. Future World    
“Not as good as I remembered.”
33. Rollerball    
“Well-made movie. This was a believable made-up sport.”
34. No Deposit No Return    
“Very fun family movie.”
35. Benji    
“I love dogs, but it was just not as good as the child in me remembered. Very slow.”
36. Escape to Witch Mountain    
“Besides seeing the strings for moving objects, it is still a fun movie for kids and adults.”
37. Time after Time    
“Ignoring the bad effects, it was worth watching today.”
38. Animal House    
“Made it 30 minutes in and quit. Truly a movie about nothing that did not hold up well.”
39. Car Wash    
“26 minutes in and it felt like it was just starting.”
40. Damnation Alley    
“The cheese aside, it was just ok.”
41. Badlands    
“Worth a watch but slow at times.”
42. The Buddy Holly Story    
“Wonderful movie about a legend. Great cast and one of Gary Busey’s better performances. It makes me wonder what other great songs he might have written had he lived.”
43. Bedknobs and Broomsticks    
“Worth a watch with the kids, but be prepared, they may feel bored at times compared to what they watch today.”
44. Freaky Friday    
“Really good family movie. Holds up well.”
45. Return from Witch Mountain    
“Not as good as the first.”
46. The Apple Dumpling Gang    
“Good clean family movie.”
47. Canonball    
“Watchable, sounds like a bad rating but for a movie that is almost 50 years old, it is higher than it sounds.”
48. The Land that Time Forgot    
“Laughable special effects and acting styles of the 40’s. However, I did watch it till the end, so there is that.”
49. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century    
“Does not hold up well.”
50. The Rocky Horror Picture Show    
“Someone took me along with them to a midnight showing when I was a teenager in the early 80’s. I was blown away by the in-person experience. As a movie it is just ok, but the music is phenomenal.”

Final Thoughts

This will be a fun test of memories and just how we change over time. Feel free to share your thoughts on my results. Did they hold up for you the same?

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