All articles and pages may contain affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.

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 1974 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:


  • Armand Assante – The Lords of Flatbush
  • Chevy Chase – The Groove Tube
  • Jeff Goldblum – Death Wish
  • Edward James Olmos – Black Fist
  • John Rhys-Davies – The Black Windmill
  • Fred Ward – Ginger in the Morning
  • Denzel Washington – Death Wish
  • Henry Winkler – Crazy Joe


Top-grossing Films

 TitleStudioDomestic gross
1.Blazing SaddlesWarner Bros.$119,500,000
2.The Towering Inferno20th Century Fox / Warner Bros.$116,000,000
3.The Trial of Billy JackWarner Bros.$89,000,000
4.Young Frankenstein20th Century Fox$86,273,333
5.EarthquakeUniversal Pictures$79,666,653
6.The Taking of Pelham One Two ThreeUnited Artists$61,984,039
7.The Godfather Part IIParamount Pictures$47,542,841
8.Airport 1975Universal Pictures$47,285,152
9.The Life and Times of Grizzly AdamsSunn Classic Pictures$45,411,063
10.The Longest YardParamount Pictures$43,008,075


Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: The Godfather Part II

Best Director: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather: Part II

Best Actor: Art Carney, Harry and Tonto

Best Actress: Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, The Godfather: Part II

Best Supporting Actress: Ingrid Bergman, Murder on the Orient Express


Among Those Who Died In 1974:

MonDateNameAgeProfessionNotable films
Jan2Tex Ritter68Actor, SingerTrouble in Texas
     Where the Buffalo Roam
 3Gino Cervi72ActorBecket
     Black Eagle
 14Paul Whitsun-Jones50ActorThe Moonraker
     The Masque of the Red Death
 31Samuel Goldwyn94Producer,  Studio ExecutiveThe Best Years of Our Lives
     Guys and Dolls
 31Roger Pryor72ActorGlamour for Sale
     The Return of Jimmy Valentine
Feb7Arline Judge61ActressThe Sin of Harold Diddlebock
     Pigskin Parade
 11Anna Q. Nilsson85ActressSunset Boulevard
     Sorrell and Son
 23Florence Rice67ActressAt the Circus