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DISCLAIMER: All film criticism is extremely subjective and there is no such thing as the definitive list of the Greatest (English-language) Films. Great Films can't be measured scientifically because greatness is extremely subjective. Just because we like a film doesn't mean that you will like it as well. Please feel free to leave us a comment with the films that you think are the greatest which we have not included on our list.

Not only was 1972 a big year for movies but it was also a big year for actors making their film debuts and the deaths of some truly great talent. Here is a snap shot of the American film industry.

Making Their Film Debuts:

  • Margaret Avery – Cool Breeze
  • Ned Beatty – Deliverance
  • Jerry Bruckheimer – The Culpepper Cattle Co.
  • Robert Carradine – The Cowboys
  • Candy ClarkFat City
  • Ronny Cox – The Mind Snatchers
  • Blythe Danner – To Kill a Clown
  • Jodie Foster – Napoleon and Samantha
  • Bob Hoskins – Up the Front
  • Isabelle Huppert – Faustine et la bel été
  • Samuel L. Jackson – Together for Days
  • Madeline Kahn – What’s Up, Doc?
  • Ben Kingsley – Fear Is the Key
  • John Lithgow – Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues
  • Steve Martin – Another Nice Mess
  • Nick Nolte – Dirty Little Billy
  • Lily Tomlin – Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers
  • James Woods – The Visitors


Top-grossing Films

RankTitleStudioDomestic gross
1.The GodfatherParamount Pictures$134.97M
2.The Poseidon Adventure20th Century Fox$84.56M
3.Malcolm XWarner Bros.$48.10M
4.Jeremiah JohnsonWarner Bros.$47.74M
5.CabaretAllied Artists Pictures$42.77M
6.The GetawayNational General Pictures$36.73M
7.Last Tango in ParisLes Productions Artistes Associés  $36.14M
8.Fritz the CatCinemation Industries$25.00M 
9.The Valachi PapersDino De Laurentiis Company$20.27M
10.The Heartbreak KidPalomar Pictures$12.21M


Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: The Godfather – Albert S. Ruddy, Paramount

Best Director: Bob FosseCabaret

Best Actor: Marlon BrandoThe Godfather (declined)

Best Actress: Liza MinnelliCabaret

Best Supporting Actor: Joel GreyCabaret

Best Supporting Actress: Eileen Heckart – Butterflies Are Free


Among Those Who Died In 1972:

Mon Name  ProfNotable films
Jan1Maurice Chevalier83France





8Wesley Ruggles82USADirector, Producer

I’m No Angel


17Rochelle Hudson55USAActress

Rebel Without a Cause

Les Miserables

18George Mitchell66USAActor

The Andromeda Strain

Kid Galahad

19Richard Fraser58Scot-landActor
22Alec Coppel74Aus-traliaScreen-writer

The Captain’s Paradise


24Jerome Cowan74USAActor
Feb2Jessie Royce Landis75USAActress
7Walter Lang75USADirector
19John Grierson73Scot-landDirector, Producer

The Song of Ceylon

The Brave Don’t Cry

20Walter Winchell74USACommen-tator

Wake Up and Live

Love and Hisses

Mar3Harold Young74USADirector, Editor

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Mummy’s Tomb

20Marilyn Maxwell51USAActress
30Peter Whitney55USAActor
Apr5Brian Donlevy71




Kiss of Death

Wake Island

5Isabel Jewell64USAActress
7Betty Blythe78USAActress

The Queen of Sheba


13Dorothy Dalton78USAActress

Behind Masks

The Woman Who Walked Alone

20Jorge Mistral51SpainActor

Andalusia Express

The White Sister

25George Sanders65Eng-landActor
28Harry Joe Brown81USAProducer, Director

Captain Blood

Knickerbocker Holiday

30Gia Scala38Eng-landActor

The Guns of Navarone

Don’t Go Near the Water

May3Bruce Cabot68USAActor

King Kong

Diamonds Are Forever

5Frank Tashlin59USADirector

Son of Paleface

Artists and Models

12Steve Ihnat37CzechActor


Zig Zag

13Dan Blocker