YEAR OF FURIOUS FILMS: 1973
Year of Furious Films is our newest series on FC where we’ll be choosing our favorite films from each designated year. You may notice that we aren’t going in chronological order, it’ll be more random, but that’s really part of the fun. We’ll be covering a wide array of movies from various eras spanning from the 20th century to the modern age. We hope you enjoy these lists and that they’ll inspire you to give the movies a watch or even a re-watch if you’ve already seen them. We continue with a phenomenal year in the early 70s…
The fantastic onscreen duo of Paul Newman and Robert Redford return from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and they are perfect once again. The crime themed story is both classic and complex with a score that works surprisingly well for mostly only using one song (Scott Joplin’s ragtime hit “The Entertainer” played by Marvin Hamlisch). The Sting won 7 Oscars and is a genuine masterpiece. Co-starring Robert Shaw, Eileen Brennan, Charles Durning, Ray Walston and Harold Gould. (Sam)
The Exorcist (Dir: William Friedkin)
When a young girl (Linda Blair) is possessed by a furious demonic spirit, her mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks the help of two Catholic priests (Max Von Sydow and Jason Miller) who try to exorcise it with their religious powers. This remains one of the scariest movies ever made.
A group of newly graduated California high school seniors (Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Richard Dreyfus, Paul LeMat, Charles Martin Smith) enjoy one last night of summer fun together before they go their separate ways. A rollicking, hilarious trip back in time to the Summer of 62 (where were you?). The soundtrack is a highlight as its packed with classic rock n’ roll hits that act as a wonderful background narrative over the proceedings.
Papillon (Dir: Franklin Schaffner)
Based on the autobiography of convict Henri Charriere, Steve McQueen is Papillon, a Frenchman who is arrested and sent to a hellish penal colony in Guyana. On the boat trip to the island, he meets Louie Dega (Dustin Hoffman) a white collar criminal. The two men become lifelong friends while incarcerated. One of McQueen’s finest performances.
Live and Let Die (Dir: Guy Hamilton)
One of my favorite James Bond movies and certainly one of the most ridiculous. This entry in the series sees 007 travel through the hood, run across some alligators, fight a tribal man who inexplicably turns into pottery and kill off the main villain by turning him into an exploding balloon (WHAT THE?!). Great fun from start to finish.(Sam)
Magnum Force (Dir: Ted Post)
In this sequel to Dirty Harry, the rogue detective (Clint Eastwood) goes after a group of renegade vigilante cops bent on bringing their own justice to San Francisco. One of the very best entries in the always enjoyable series. Co-starring Hal Holbrook, Tim Matheson and David Soul. Co-written by future directors John Milius and Michael Cimino. (Sam)
Last Tango in Paris (Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci)
In this hallmark controversial film about sexuality and relationships, Marlon Brando plays a lonely widower who has a steamy love affair with a young Parisian woman (Maria Schneider). The phrase “Get the butter” would certainly never be looked at the same way again.
In the follow up to Blacula, the black prince of vampires (William Marshall) rises from the dead once again when a voodoo ritual is performed on his skeletal remains. Soon the blood and evil fun flows like wine. Co-starring Pam Grier.
Ex-wrestler Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker) runs for sheriff of his Tennessee town and wins. This begins a nonstop one man war against corruption and criminal organizations in the state. Based on true events. Co-starring Elizabeth Hartman, Noah Beery and Leif Garrett. A brutal, bloody, action packed Hixploitation Classic!
A Boston based gun smuggler, Eddie “Fingers” Coyle (Robert Mitchum) makes a deal with an ATF agent (Richard Jordan) to help get evidence on his cohorts so he can stay out of prison. Co-starring Peter Boyle and Steven Keats.
When her mother dies, young Addy Loggins (Tatum O’Neal) has to move in with her aunt. At the funeral, one of her mother’s old suitors (Ryan O’Neal) offers her a ride to the bus depot and soon the two reluctant acquaintances are working together as grifters on the road. A highly enjoyable Depression era crime-comedy. Co-starring Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman and Randy Quaid.
A sexy nurse (Pam Grier) goes on a roaring rampage of revenge to get back at the drug pushers that got her younger sister hooked on heroin. An exploitation film masterpiece. Co-starring Booker Bradshaw, Sid Haig, Robert Doqui.
Based on a true story, Al Pacino stars as Frank Serpico, a plain clothes police officer who worked to rid New York police department of corruption. Serpico was directed by the great Sidney Lumet who would work with Pacino again to create the excellent Dog Day Afternoon a couple of years later. The film acts as a cop movie and also as a character study with both aspects working very well. Co-starring Tony Roberts and Jack Kehoe. (Sam)
Badlands (Dir: Terrence Malick)
Martin Sheen plays Kit, a young rebel without a cause who goes on a deadly crime spree across South Dakota with his teenage girlfriend Holly (Sissy Spacek). A beautifully filmed directorial debut based on the infamous Starkweather killings in the 1950s.
Save The Tiger (Dir: John G. Avildsen)
Harry Stoner (Jack Lemmon) a garment business executive faces a moral crisis when his company is on the verge of going bankrupt. Harry is forced to decide on whether to use some shady connections to commit arson so he can get the insurance settlement. He also has to contend with the accidental death of a friend that he set up with a prostitute. Co-starring Jack Gilford.
Mafia soldier Nick Lanzetta (Henry Silva) has to choose between moving up in the family or staying true to his mentor after the man’s daughter is kidnapped by a rival gang. This is a very brutal, very funny poliziotteschi classic all mob movie fans should see.
In this neo-noir based on a 1953 Raymond Chandler novel, Elliot Gould plays L.A. gumshoe Philip Marlowe. The movie delivers the goods as a traditional detective yarn but also is a brilliant satire showing the social changes from the more straight laced, hard boiled 50s to the freewheeling, sunbaked, laidback 70s. Co-starring Sterling Hayden and Mark Rydell. Look for an early cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Walter Matthau is Charley Varrick, a New Mexico based cropduster and part time bank robber. When he and his partners accidentally steal a cache of money owned by the mob, their plans of making an easy score and getting away scott free start to go really bad. Co-starring Andrew Robinson, John Vernon, Felicia Farr, Joe Don Baker.
Day of the Jackal (Dir: Fred Zinneman)
Edward Fox stars as an exceptional British marksman/assassin codenamed Jackal who is hired to kill French President Charles DeGaulle in the summer of 1963. A very intense, intriguing crime thriller classic.
Don’t Look Now (Dir: Nicholas Roeg)
Following the accidental death of their young daughter, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie) move to Venice, Italy where his business is restoring an ancient church. Their life is thrown into more turmoil when they get a message from psychics that their daughter is trying to contact them. They also begin experiencing mysterious sightings of her around the city. An atmospheric and disturbing psychological chiller.
Electra Glide in Blue (Dir: James William Guercio )
Arizona highway bike cop John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) wants to move up the ladder and become a detective. When a local murder occurs he tries his hand at solving the case in the homicide division but comes up against a lot of harassment and dirty politics due to his interference. Co-starring Billy Green Bush, Mitchell Ryan, Jeanine Riley, Elisha Cook
A stranger (Eastwood) rides into a small Western town called Lago only to find he’s not welcome. It turns out the residents have a dark past they don’t want to deal with. Things get even worse when a trio of outlaws show up seeking revenge for past dirty dealings. Co-starring Geoffrey Lewis, Billy Curtis, Marianna Hill, Mitchell Ryan.
In this dystopian sci-fi thriller set in 2022, Charlton Heston stars as a NYPD detective Frank Thorn who begins to suspect that the esteemed Soylent food corporation may be hiding a disturbing secret. Co-starring Edward G. Robinson (his final film) and Brock Peters
Westworld (Dir: Michael Crichton)
In the future, two friends (James Brolin, Richard Benjamin) go on vacation to a different kind of resort that resembles the Wild West. Once there they live the life of outlaws, but are put in mortal danger when a technical failure turns a fake android gunslinger (Yul Brynner) into a real killing machine.
The Wicker Man (Dir: Robin Hardy)
Police Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) gets a letter requesting he travel to Summerisle, a small Scottish island to investigate the dissapearance of a young girl named Rowan. Upon his arrival he slowly comes to realize there’s a devilishly diabolical conspiracy going on around him. Co-starring Christopher Lee.
Jeff Bridges is Junior Jackson, a good ol boy moonshiner/gearhead who decides to become a racecar driver to help make money for his lower class family. Co-starring Gary Busey, William Smith, Valerie Perrine. Based on the true story of NASCAR star Junior Johnson.
A shaolin martial arts expert (Bruce Lee) is hired by a covert agency to go undercover at a privately held fighting tournament to get evidence on the criminal organization being run by its diabolical host Mr. Han (Chih Kien). The “Citizen Kane of kung fu films”. Co-starring John Saxon and Jim Kelly.
A young beautiful French-Canadian fashion model named Danielle (Margot Kidder) meets a man (Lisle Wilson) that she falls in love with. What he doesn’t know is that Danielle is hiding a dark secret, her sister Dominique, a jealous siamese twin that is psychotic. Co-starring Dolph Sweet, William Finley and Jennifer Salt.
Arkansas prison convict Bobby “Gator” McClusky (Burt Reynolds) is granted a reprieve if he agrees to help the authorities bust up a moonshining racket. While on his mission he also investigates the dissapearance of his younger brother who he suspects died at the hands of a corrupt town sheriff (Ned Beatty). Co-starring Bo Hopkins Diane Ladd and Jennifer Billingsley.
Two Navy petty officers (Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) based in Norfolk, Virginia are tasked to transport kleptomaniac prisoner Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to the stockade in New Hampshire. On the way they stop in different cities and try to show Meadows a great time.
Dillinger (Dir: John Milius)
Warren Oates gives an outstanding performance as John Dillinger, the infamous bank robber that became a household name during The Depression years. It helps that Oates is a dead ringer for the gangster. Co-starring Harry Dean Stanton, Ben Johnson and Richard Dreyfus.
Scarecrow (Dir: Jerry Schatzberg )
In this often overlooked road movie, an ex-convict (Gene Hackman) and ex-sailor (Al Pacino) meet up on the road while hitchhiking. The two strike up a quick friendship and agree to go into business together when they reach their destination in Pittsburgh, PA.
My Name is Nobody (Dir: Tonino Valerii)
A spaghetti western comedy gem about an aging gunfighter (Henry Fonda) who plans to leave the Old West for Europe but first gets a chance to turn himself into a legend when a young mysterious stranger called Nobody (Terence Hill) befriends him.
The Laughing Policeman (Dir: Stuart Rosenberg)
A tautly directed, thrilling police procedural starring Walter Matthau as Lt. Jake Martin who must work with the younger, brash Lt. Leo Larsen (Bruce Dern) to solve a crime involving a busload of people who are massacred, one of which was the old partner of Martin.
Sleeper (Dir: Woody Allen)
A nerdy Greenwich Village health store owner (Woody Allen) awakes in the year 2073 only to find himself wanted by the dystopian authorities for re-education. Along the way he befriends the kooky Luna (Diane Keaton) and they join a revolution.
A trio of young criminals (Tiffany Bolling, Brad David, Vince Martorano) kidnap a wealthy man’s daughter (Susan Sennett) and hold her for ransom. Their plan starts to go awry when a young boy accidentally discovers their victim. A darkly funny grindhouse crime cult classic.
Set during the Depression, a grizzled veteran train riding hobo (Lee Marvin) must contend with a young rookie named Cigaret (Keith Carradine) and evade a sadistic railroad conductor called Shack (Ernest Borgnine).
A young low level criminal named Charlie (Harvey Keitel) wants to impress his Uncle, a boss in the mafia. His main problem is his best friend Johnny Boy (Robert DeNiro) a disrespectful loose cannon punk in the neighborhood that could ruin his good reputation. A film in the tradition of the classic Warner Bros gangster pictures that also acts as a very personal look at how Martin Scorsese grew up and the kinds of people he knew in New York’s Little Italy.
Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (Dir: Sam Peckinpah)
An intriguing retelling of the myth of outlaw turned legend Billy The Kid (Kris Kristofferson) and his relationship with lawman Pat Garrett (James Coburn). Peckinpah’s final Western masterpiece is another beautiful ode to the era he loved. Co-starring Jason Robards, Slim Pickens, Harry Dean Stanton and Bob Dylan.
A twisted little cult-thriller about a man-child who is lorded over by his female protectors. It’s strange to think Director Ted Post made this before Magnum Force. Starring Anjanette Comer, Ruth Roman and Marianna Hill.
Roy Scheider stars as NYPD Detective Buddy Manucci, the leader of a group of undercover officers who are part of a secret squad called The Seven Ups. When some high level criminals start getting kidnapped, Buddy turns to his childhood friend who is tied in with the underworld to get insider info. Featuring one of the best car chases put on film.