That’s right, kids, there was a time before the 1980s. And, frankly, it was an excellent decade for movies. The 70s saw the release of some of the greatest films ever made. Star Wars in 1977. The Godfather in 1972. Jaws, 1975. In 1976, the world was introduced to two beautiful things: me, though that depends on your point of view, and a host of flicks which left a lasting impact on cinema. Here are five of my favorite films of 1976.
“You’re gonna eat lightnin’, and you’re gonna crap thunder!” – Mickey
One of the single most quotable movies all time, Rocky is Stallone’s masterpiece which earned three Oscar statues. Four decades later, Rocky has seven sequels, including Creed in 2015, a critically acclaimed movie in its own right. Stallone’s writing and acting encapsulate the time, place, and tone of the story, Conti’s score is brilliant and timeless, and the direction, plus phenomenal, captured boxing like never before in cinema.
“Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man. “ – Travis Bickle
Scorcese has created some great films over his long career, but Taxi Driver is perhaps his grittiest. Robert DeNiro stars as Travis Bickle, an unhinged American stalking the streets in a perpetual boil over what he sees every day in a 1970s New York City, before it’s transformed into a giant theme park. The streets are ugly, Bickle is hideous, and the film is a powerhouse of direction and performance.
“We’ve been outside! There’s another world outside! We’ve seen it!” – Jessica
Watching it today will make most people cringe. If you’re not able to put yourself in the time and place, a film was made then it’s difficult to enjoy any movie from a previous era. Logan’s Run is experimental 70s science fiction at its best. Wild, psychedelic imagery and costumes. Pseudo-philosophical themes. Logan’s Run tells the story of a society where dying young is a way of life.
“It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It’s me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things.” – Carrie
Brian DePalma has quietly made some brilliant films over the years. He’s often overshadowed by contemporaries like Scorcese and Coppola, but DePalma has a unique signature that’s worthy of a movie night devoted to him. DePalma took Steven King’s novel about young Carrie White and added a visual richness that’s all DePalma. The 1976 film is famous for its “pig’s blood” finale. The iconic ending often overshadows the subtle themes at play beneath the surface of this horror classic.
Assault on Precinct 13
“The very least of our problems is that we’re out of time.” – Leigh
Two years before director John Carpenter would become synonymous with horror by unleashing Michael Myers on the world, the director made a visceral, brutal action film called Assault on Precinct 13. Carpenter is sometimes an acquired taste as director’s go and it took many years for this film to settle into the minds of viewers and critics. Carpenter is methodical in his approach but doesn’t hold back once he unleashes the payoff.