1973 was a year of progress. This was the year of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling as a byproduct of Roe v. Wade meaning that the United States Constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion, and thus a woman’s right to have complete control over her anatomy. . The United States withdraws its troops from a long, bloody war in Vietnam, the three-day week is experienced in the United Kingdom, and the Sydney Opera House opens.

Sadly, 50 years later, we, or those in power, have done the full 180 with both the three-day week and a woman’s freedom to choose what happens to her body. While certainly paltry in comparison, our film production is at least somewhat comparable to that of 1973… Eh, who are we kidding? Even the movies were better then… These are some of the best movies that are half a century old now.

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Jackal day

Universal Pictures

Adapted from Frederick Forsyth’s seminal novel, Jackal day is one of the novels and films set in the 1970s to paranoid conspiracy theory narrative. The political thriller is an edge-of-your-seat story in which a French criminal organization from the underworld plans to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle. As Edward Fox’s zany killer, “The Jackal” begins to make his way as shrewd police detective, Lebel (Michael Lonsdale) cottons onto the plot and his investigation builds up at a brisk pace.

High Plains Drifter

Eastwood in High Plains Drifter
Universal Pictures

In only his second outing as a director, Clint Eastwood has turned this acting course into a two-stroke western, High Plains Drifter. Straight from the back of Sergio Leone’s Bucks trilogy, Eastwood plays yet another nameless drifter, with that characteristic Clint Squint, laconic and elliptical in its mood.

Upon his arrival in Lago, he was greeted with an unwelcoming societal attitude. Dealing with an influx of illegal activities as a result of a criminal gang in operation, the townspeople warm to this mysterious man who offers them a way out of their troublesome predicament.


Babylon movie 1973
Allied Artists

The 2017 remake was surprisingly competitive, but it was still far from being close to surpassing the classic 1973 original that starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in the titular roles.

Historical prison drama papillon (French for Butterfly) details the lives of convicted murderer, Henri Charrière (McQueen), and conman Louis Dejas (Hoffmann), who are confined to the brutal regime of a detention center in French Guiana. Struggling with the barbarism, physical exertion, and psychological abuse they are subjected to on a daily basis, the friends plan their escape.


Al Pacino in Serpico
Paramount Pictures

from 12 angry men to A very hot summer afternoonDirector Sidney Lumet was a man of almost unrivaled stature in the world of cinema. Biographical film from 1973, Serpicoabout the titular real-life NYPD cop, was another jewel in its crown.

Related: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: Exploring Sidney Lumet’s Final Masterpiece

Al Pacino stars in this true story of a police officer of utmost integrity and integrity, who comes head-to-head with the corruption plaguing the police department. As he faces those in power turning a blind eye to misconduct within their jurisdiction, those responsible for constant duplicity turn against him.

Moon leaves

Tatum O'Neal and Ryan O'Neal in Paper Moon
Paramount Pictures

Moon leaves is a movie that not only features the real-life father-daughter duo in the cast, but also hosts the youngest ever Academy Award winner, Tatum O’Neal, who won Best Supporting Actress at the age of 10. Think Dirty rotten bastards Meets Catch me if you can.

The crime comedy centers around two con artists, Moses Bray (Ryan O’Neal) and Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal), who go on a road trip through the farmlands of 1930s America, pulling off several negatives along the way. Moon leaves is a fun, charming, and entertaining film about a father’s unconventional acquaintance with his potential, but uncertain daughter.


Amarkord by Federico Fellini
Warner Bros.

With three Best Foreign Language Film Oscars already to his name at the time, it was no surprise that the prestigious international Federico Fellini would once again direct Gong for his sprawling, funny and heartwarming thriller, Amarkord.

The semi-autobiographical picture tells the story of Tita, an Italian teenager growing up in the increasingly right-wing Italy of the 1930s under Mussolini. Enduring a fractured relationship with his feral father, Tita observes those in his quintessentially Italian community, from the eccentrics to those forcefully indoctrinated into the cult of fascism.

The Exorcist

The 1973 supernatural horror film The Exorcist
Warner Bros.

As one of the most terrifying and important milestones in the history of the horror genre, The Exorcist It still haunts and scares us through flashbacks and memories of the first time we saw it. Adapted from William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, William Friedkin’s horror film deals with the story of Regan (Linda Blair), a young girl who is supposedly tormented by a demonic force. Concerned for her daughter’s well-being, Regan’s mother summons two priests to perform an exorcism.

I mean the streets

Robert De Niro's Mean Streets (1973)
Warner Bros.

I mean the streets It was culturally significant, as it symbolizes the first time Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro began a collaboration that spanned more than 50 years, giving birth to some truly exceptional gangster films. Inspired, in part, by what Scorsese experienced growing up in New York’s Little Italy, the crime drama follows two friends, small-time gangster Charlie (Harvey Keitel) and his gangster sidekick Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) who are in debt to several notorious creditors. Stuck in a turbulent and conflicted life, Charlie has to choose between his life of crime, his love life, religion and friendship.


Martin Sheen in Badlands
Warner Bros

from Bonnie and Clyde And Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, To Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, there were some really notorious criminal duos documented in the medium of film. However, no dramatic methodologies are given as chilling, or as factual as Terrence Malick’s fictional retelling of the Charles Starkweather murders, in his directorial debut, Badlands.

Related: Terrence Malick’s Movies From The Badlands To The Hidden Life, Ranked

The haunting picture is a timeless depiction of immorality at its purest and most tainted. It depicts the killing spree of Charles Starkweather (Martin Sheen) and his absent-minded schoolgirl partner in 1958. It also BadlandsThe central characters ‘Shane and Spacek’ are simply extraordinary, and the ruthless and uncompromising nature of their character’s crimes is flawlessly reflected in the renditions.


Newman and Redford in The Sting
Universal Pictures

After the massive success in 1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidGeorge Roy Hill, Robert Redford and Paul Newman joined forces again, this time in the 1973 crime drama, sting. Redford and Newman play Johnny Hooker and Henry Gondorff respectively, two con artists who team up to seek revenge on a ruthless crime boss, Doyle Lonigan (Robert Shaw), after Hooker’s partner is brutally murdered.

Spring Jump plays on that beloved morality tale, where the little guy outwits the big guy. An enduring film, it rightfully won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but it did not garner the respect George Roy Hill deserved as a pioneer of 20th-century filmmaking.


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