Crash! Landen’s Best 10 Movies of 1977

A landmark year in filmmaking, obviously. Getting right to my Top 10…

Sorcerer (Bumped… I had several that could have gone in the #10 spot, and initially settled on this very unusual film, a remake of a French film from the 50s: The Wages of Fear. The situation is a unique one, with a group of men that are hauling a very dangerous cargo over equally dangerous terrain to aid in an oil well fire. There are some very amazingly terse scenes in the film as evidenced by the poster, with Roy Schieder playing one of four criminals who have agreed to undertake the dangerous job. Under-rated movie depending on the cut you see. It bombed in the wake of Star Wars, unfortunately. I moved Sorcerer out of my Top 10 to make room for my new #10, which I saw recently…)

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

10) The Goodbye Girl (Not quite as ‘BRILLIANT’ as the poster makes it sound, but it was funny.  It was sometimes predictable and I think it copped out at the end to please the audience, but that’s not the end of the world. Dreyfuss’ character was made to order for him and fit his animated acting style. He was great in everything in this era. They just decided to give him an award for this one.)

9 Slap Shot (Paul Newman and the Hanson brothers. ‘Nuff said.)8 Suspiria (Dario Argento’s best directing effort. Creepy film that influenced a lot of other horror films like the Evil Dead series.)7 Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (Ray Harryhausen’s brilliant stop motion FX were a a striking counterpoint to the advanced FX of the blockbusters of 1977. Wasn’t quite the film that the previous Sinbad movie was, but still pretty good. Any Harryhausen film is a creature lovers paradise. )6 Smokey And The Bandit (A redneck masterpiece. Probably Reynolds’ most successful film where he played his typical Southern good ol’ boy persona. Plus it featured the comedy  of Jackie Gleason, the downhome sidekick played by country music star Jerry Reed and Sally Field at the height of her ‘cute girl next door’ powers in this).5 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (A collection of shorts, but very high quality kids’ entertainment. Sterling Holloway with his recognizably distinctive voice plays Pooh with Paul Winchell as the unmistakable Tigger. Features many other great voice actors… and Clint Howard, too.)4 The Duelists (Ridley Scott’s first movie and it is a good one even if a bit overlooked. It’s funny, satirical, dramatic and as beautifully shot as any other Scott film.Harvey Keitel is a true rat-bastard of a villain in this.)3 The Rescuers (Overlooked, also. One of the funniest of the Disney cartoons.The movie never gets old to me. I love the dark animation style. It is as synonymous of the 1970s to me as Scooby Doo and Breaking Away. )2 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (A landmark film. It’s hard to believe the level of quality that Stephen Spielberg has maintained  over his career. Interesting that he got Truffaut, whose book on Hitchcock is resting next to my keyboard, to play a key role in this. As iconic as this film is, it still was dwarfed by the impact of my #1…)1 Star Wars (1977 was one of the biggest years in film in the modern era for no other reason than Star Wars.  It’s very difficult to write anything about the year in film that was 1977 without mentioning it. It looms over all others. I can’t think of any other film in the modern era that captured the imagination of the public as Star Wars did. It not only became part of the pop culture lexicon, but its fingerprints have been seen in everything from college campuses to Cold War politics. The Lucas naysayers can kvetch about the writer/director ripping off Kurosawa, old Saturday matinee serials like Flash Gordon, fairy tales, religion, whatever. It had never been put together on film like this. Probably had more impact on me as a kid than any other film. I sure pestered my parents into buying enough of the toys. I have avoided watching it for quite some time, partially because I do not want to see Lucas’ continued depraved assaults on his own films that is likened to Ted turner’s colorization of black and white films. I do own the original version, so typing may instigate me into revisiting my childhood once again. Maybe a once in a lifetime moviegoing experience, Star Wars may never be equalled in the way that it stirred my own particular imagination. Great, great, GREAT film.)

(Thanks to ‘on youtube for posting this.)

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