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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 1977 a big year for movies but it was also a big year for actors making their film debuts and the deaths of a lot of  truly great talent. Here is a snap shot of the American film industry.

Making Their Film Debuts:

  • Dan Aykroyd – Love at First Sight
  • Roberto Benigni – Berlinguer, I Love You
  • Tom Berenger – The Sentinel
  • Beverly D’Angelo – The Sentinel
  • Judy Davis – High Rolling
  • Brian Dennehy – Looking for Mr. Goodbar
  • Bo Derek – Orca
  • Mel Gibson – I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
  • John Goodman – Jailbait Babysitter
  • Steve Guttenberg – Rollercoaster
  • Marilu Henner – Between the Lines
  • Tom Hulce – September 30, 1955
  • Helen Hunt – Rollercoaster
  • Michael Ironside – Outrageous!
  • Bruce McGill – Handle with Care
  • Kevin McNallyThe Spy Who Loved Me
  • Sam Neill – Sleeping Dogs
  • Pete Postlethwaite – The Duellists
  • Meryl Streep – Julia
  • Sigourney WeaverAnnie Hall
  • Robin Williams – Can I Do It… ‘Till I Need Glasses?

 

Top-grossing Films

  Title Studio Dom. gross
1. Star Wars

20th Century Fox/

Lucasfilm Ltd.

$308M
2. Smokey and the Bandit Universal Pictures $127M
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind Columbia Pictures $116M
4. Saturday Night Fever Para-mount Pictures $94M
5. The Goodbye Girl Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Warner Bros. / Rastar $82M
6. A Bridge Too Far United Artists $51M
7. The Deep Columbia Pictures $47M
8. The Spy Who Loved Me United Artists $47M
9. Oh, God! Warner Bros. $42M
10. Annie Hall United Artists $38M

 

Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: Annie Hall – Rollins-Joffe, United Artists

Best Director: Woody AllenAnnie Hall

Best Actor: Richard DreyfussThe Goodbye Girl

Best Actress: Diane KeatonAnnie Hall

Best Supporting Actor: Jason Robards – Julia

Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave – Julia

 

Among Those Who Died In 1977:

    Name   Notable films
Jan 3 Tom Gries 54 Will Penny
        The Hawaiians
         
  6 Niall MacGinnis 63 Martin Luther
       

Helen

of Troy

         
  12 Henri-Georges Clouzot 69 The Wages of Fear
        Les Diaboliques
         
  14 Peter   Finch 60 Network
        Sunday Bloody Sunday
         
  18 Yvonne Printemps 82 Le Voyage en Amérique
        The Duel
         
  26 Margaret Hayes 60 Blackboard Jungle
        Good Day for a Hanging
         
  31 Daniel Mainwaring 74 Out of the Past
        Invasion of the Body Snatchers
         
Feb 3 Pauline Starke 76 The Viking
        What Men Want
         
  17 Edward G. Boyle 78 The Apartment
        Gone with the Wind
         
  18 Andy    Devine 71 Stagecoach
        The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
         
  22 Edith   Barrett 70 Ladies in Retirement
        I Walked with a Zombie
         
  27 Allison   Hayes 46 Count Three and Pray
        Gunslinger
         
  28 Eddie “Rochester” Anderson 71 Cabin in the Sky
        It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
         
Mar 25 Nunnally Johnson 79 The Grapes of Wrath
        The Dirty Dozen
         
  27 Diana   Hyland 41 One Man’s Way
        The Chase
         
Apr 17 Marjorie Gateson 86 Private Number
        The King’s Vacation
         
  19 Marion Gering 75 Devil and the Deep
        Rumba
         
  21 Gummo Marx 83  
  28 Ricardo Cortez 76 The Case of the Black Cat
        The Maltese Falcon
         
May 10 Joan Crawford 71 Mildred Pierce
        What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
         
  15 Herbert Wilcox 87 Odette
        Irene
         
  21 Dorothy Christy 70 Parlor, Bedroom and Bath
        Bright Eyes
         
  31 William Castle 63 Rosemary’s Baby
        House on Haunted Hill
         
June 2 Stephen Boyd 45 Ben-Hur
        Fantastic Voyage
         
  3 Roberto Rossellini 71 Rome, Open City
        Germany, Year Zero
         
  5 Luis César Amadori 75 Almafuerte
        Albéniz
         
  13 Matthew Garber 21 Mary Poppins
        The Gnome-Mobile
         
  14 Alan        Reed 69 Friendly Persuasion
        The Desperate Hours
         
  19 Geraldine Brooks 51 An Act of Murder
        The Reckless Moment
         
  20 Abner Biberman 68 The Night Runner
        Behind the High Wall
         
July 2 William H. Ziegler 67 My Fair Lady
        Auntie Mame
         
  22 Erik       Chitty 70 Doctor Zhivago
        Lola
         
Aug 3 Alfred      Lunt 84 Sally of the Sawdust
        Second Youth
         
  14 George Oppen-heimer 77 Libeled Lady
        Adventures of Don Juan
         
  16 Elvis            Presley 42 Love Me Tender
        Blue Hawaii
         
  17 Delmer Daves 73 3:10 to Yuma
        Dark Passage
         
  19 Groucho Marx 86 Duck Soup
        A Night at the Opera
         
  19 Peter Dyneley 56 Thunderbirds Are Go
        Thunderbird 6
         
  21 Danny Lockin 34 Hello Dolly!
         
  22 Sebastian Cabot 59 The Time Machine
        The Jungle Book
         
  22 Alex    Segal 62 Ransom!
        Harlow
         
  29 Jean    Hagen 54 Singin’ in the Rain
        The Asphalt Jungle
         
  31 H. C. Potter 72 Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
        The Farmer’s Daughter
         
Sep 2 Stephen Dunne 59 Ten Thousand Bedrooms
        The Woman from Tangier
         
  8 Zero Mostel 62 The Producers
        A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
         
Oct 3

Tay

Garnett

83 The Postman Always Rings Twice
        Cheers for Miss Bishop
         
  5 Fred F. Finklehoffe 67 Meet Me in St. Louis
        The Stooge
         
  14 Bing Crosby 74 Going My Way
        White Christmas
         
  31 Joan   Tetzel 56 The Paradine Case
        The File on Thelma Jordon
         
Nov 4 Betty Balfour 74 Champagne
        29 Acacia Avenue
         
  9 Gertrude Astor 90 The Strong Man
        The Cat and the Canary
         
  15 William C. McGann 84 Times Square Playboy
        Girls on Probation
         
  18 Victor Francen 89 San Antonio
        Hell and High Water
         
  25 Richard Carlson 65 Creature from the Black Lagoon
        The Helen Morgan Story
         
  30 Olga Petrova 93 Exile
        To the Death
         
  30 Terence Rattigan 66 The Yellow Rolls-Royce
        The V.I.P.s
         
Dec 4 Leila Hyams 72 Freaks
        Island of Lost Souls
         
  18 Cyril Ritchard 79 Blackmail
        Half a Sixpence
         
  19 Jacques Tourneur 73 Out of the Past
        Cat People
         
  25 Charlie Chaplin 88 The Great Dictator
        Modern Times
         
  26 Howard Hawks 81 The Big Sleep
        Rio Bravo
         
  28 Charlotte Green-wood 87 Oklahoma!
        The Opposite Sex

The Greatest Films of 1977

 

***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT FOR ALL***

 

Poster for the movie "Annie Hall"

© − All right reserved.

Annie Hall

D: Woody Allen

Bittersweet, cerebral, stream-of-consciousness, 70s, urban romantic comedy – a Best Picture-winner, about a New York couple’s neurotic love affair. Many consider this Woody Allen’s best work, and a transition from his earlier absurdist comedies to a richer, more thoughtful consideration of relationships. Innovatively filmed, with cartoon segments, flashbacks, monologues toward the camera, and other unique elements. Allen co-wrote, directed and stars as a kvetchy, neurotic, Brooklyn stand-up comedian Alvy Singer, wistfully recalling his bygone relationship with flighty, adorable, and irrepressibly Midwestern Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), an aspiring singer. (Film marks the fourth pairing of Keaton and Allen, who were also an off-screen couple at the time.) At first the cultural gap seems insurmountable, but despite their differences, they fall in love. As they get to know one another, they invariably attempt to change each other, causing friction and their eventual split. The film watches them try new relationships, as they reluctantly pull away from each other. The film, in actuality, chronicles the end of their relationship.

Learn more, watch the preview and see where you can stream online here.

 

Poster for the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

© 1977 Columbia Pictures Corporation − All right reserved.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

D: Steven Spielberg

A science-fiction epic and adventure story about the mysteries of UFO and extra-terrestrial appearances. A Middle-American from Indiana Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), a utilities lineman, is confronted by a UFO on a deserted road at night as he investigates a power outage – a near-religious, life-transforming experience. Afterwards, he becomes obsessed with unexplained, mountainous shapes, and five musical notes. By piecing together clues, he is ultimately led to a rendezvous on Devils Tower in Wyoming with Jillian (Melinda Dillon), a mother whose young boy Barry (Cary Guffey) was kidnapped by the aliens. There in the exhilarating climax, they witness an arriving spacecraft, the dazzling mother-ship, greeted by a top-secret scientific establishment led by Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut).

Learn more, watch the preview and see where you can stream online here.

 

Eraserhead

© – All right reserved.

Eraserhead

D: David Lynch

Henry (John Nance) resides alone in a bleak apartment surrounded by industrial gloom. When he discovers that an earlier fling with Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) left her pregnant, he marries the expectant mother and has her move in with him. Things take a decidedly strange turn when the couple’s baby turns out to be a bizarre lizard-like creature that won’t stop wailing. Other characters, including a disfigured lady who lives inside a radiator, inhabit the building and add to Henry’s troubles.

 

 

Poster for the movie "The Goodbye Girl"

© 1977 Rastar Pictures − All right reserved.

The Goodbye Girl

D: Herbert Ross

Richard Dreyfuss delivers an Academy Award-winning performance as romance blooms between two complete opposites forced to share an apartment in New York. Elliot Garfield (Dreyfuss) has just arrived in Manhattan to take the acting role of his life–Richard III in an off-off-Broadway production. Ex-chorus girl Paula McFadden has just been dumped again. This time her ex has abandoned her, sublet their apartment–to Garfield–and left Paula and her nine-year-old daughter without a job or a place to live. Garfield legally has claim to the apartment, but he can’t throw a mother and daughter out. So, despite Garfield’s habits of chanting, burning incense and walking about naked, the threesome forms a home.

Learn more, watch the preview and see where you can stream online here.

 

The Hills Have Eyes

© – All right reserved.

The Hills Have Eyes

D: Wes Craven

Wes Craven’s follow-up feature to his debut, barrier-breaking, controversial horror flick The Last House on the Left (1972) was this outrageous and savage story about a degenerate, inbred, cave-dwelling cannibalistic family of marauders hiding in the desert hills. In contrast was the suburban family that they preyed upon – the vulnerable, vacationing Carter and Wood families stranded off the “main road.” Emphasis was placed on the class-war conflict between the two groups: the remaining survivors of the civilized families and the mutant, feral family. He toned down some of the gore and violence, although there was still rape, baby-kidnapping, gun murder, crucifixion-burning, the chomping of a pet parakeet head, stabbings, a dog attack, and a rattlesnake-bite induced death. Director Craven even added elements of black comedy (Ethel’s hysterical exclamation about her charred husband’s body: “That’s not my Bob!”). The tagline gave away Craven’s approach – show an innocent family transgressing and forced to kill to survive: “A nice American family. They didn’t want to kill. But they didn’t want to die.” Craven’s final blood-red freeze-frame emphasized that self-defense had crossed the line toward sadistic revenge.

 

Julia

© – All right reserved.

Julia

D: Fred Zinnemann

This Oscar-winning drama, based on the writing of Lillian Hellman, depicts the relationship between two friends and its unexpected consequences. After Lillian (Jane Fonda), a renowned playwright, reunites in Russia with her childhood playmate Julia (Vanessa Redgrave), the writer is recruited to smuggle funds into Germany to aid the anti-Nazi movement. Waiting in the wings is Lillian’s lover and mentor, Dashiell Hammett (Jason Robards), who is unaware of her dangerous assignment.

 

The Last Wave

© – All right reserved.

The Last Wave (Australia)

D: Peter Weir

In Sydney, business lawyer David Burton (Richard Chamberlain) is given the pro bono assignment of defending five aborigines accused of the murder of another tribesman. None of Burton’s clients are willing to speak about what happened, even in their own defense, and the medical examiner on the case can’t figure out how the victim died. But what’s most troubling Burton is the increasingly terrifying apocalyptic visions he’s having, leading him to think Australia may soon be destroyed.

 

Poster for the movie "Saturday Night Fever"

© 1977 Robert Stigwood Organization (RSO) − All right reserved.

Saturday Night Fever

D: John Badham

John Badham’s melodramatic, out-dated film was the biggest musical sensation and blockbuster of the late 1970’s (from co-producer Robert Stigwood) – adapted by screenwriter Norman Wexler from Nik Cohn’s New York Magazine story “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night.” It features one of the most famous song soundtracks in film history, and was responsible for the Disco Craze phenomenon, launching hot disco clubs (like Studio 54) and the film super-stardom of 19-year old John Travolta, previously best known as one of the Sweathogs of the television sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. The film’s soundtrack is the most recognizable, with a slew of Bee Gees songs from the Gibbs: “Night Fever,” “How Deep is Your Love,” “More Than a Woman,” “You Should Be Dancin‘,” and “Stayin’ Alive” (which accompanies a memorable opening scene when the working-class protagonist struts down the sidewalk to the lyrics. In the classic coming-of-age tale, a conflicted, teenaged Italian-American anti-hero from Brooklyn, Tony Manero (John Travolta with the film’s sole Oscar nomination) works in a dead-end job as a clerk in a local hardware store and lives at home with his oppressive, verbally-abusive blue-collar family. But after dark, he becomes the dynamic, white polyester-clad stud (with platform shoes, flared pants, and a wide-collared shirt) and undisputed dancing legend of a local nightclub (the 2001 Odyssey), with dancing partner Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) for a dance contest. The uneducated macho Manero seeks escape from his desperate plight of a staid home life and unambitious friends by finding recognition on the dance floor. However, his swaggering, troubled character also expresses arrogance, racism, immaturity, obnoxiousness, and misogyny (he sexually abuses and disregards girlfriend Annette (Donna Pescow)). (A PG-rated version was released without the coarse language and explicit sex scenes.) Additional popular songs on the soundtrack included Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You” and the Trammps’ “Disco Inferno.” Unbelievably, the soundtrack was completely ignored by the Academy, causing a critical outcry.

Learn more, watch the preview and see where you can stream online here.

 

Poster for the movie "The Spy Who Loved Me"

© 1977 United Artists − All right reserved.

The Spy Who Loved Me (UK)

 D: Lewis Gilbert

Roger Moore as agent 007 teams with a beautiful Soviet agent (Barbara Bach) to battle Stromberg (Curt Jurgens) in order to save the world from total annihilation and a 315-pound villian, “Jaws” (Richard Kiel)

Learn more, watch the preview and see where you can stream online here.

 

Poster for the movie "Star Wars"

© 1977 Lucasfilm − All right reserved.

Star Wars (aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)

D: George Lucas

The first of a trilogy of fantasy films by writer/director George Lucas, and one of the most financially-successful films of all time, with amazing technological effects. A sci-fi adventure saga “in a galaxy far, far away”, about a galactic battle between good (the rebel forces) and evil (the Imperial Galactic Empire). The characters are proto-typical: a young farmboy hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a desert planet, a villainous, black-garbed sinister Lord Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) – an aide to the leader of the Empire Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), a wise Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), daring starship pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captured rebel Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), a furry Wookie and two robotic droids. With two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Learn more, watch the preview and see where you can stream online here.

 

3 Women

© – All right reserved.

Three Women (aka 3 Women)

D: Robert Altman

Three very different women come together at a spa for the elderly and infirmed. One becomes wrapped up in the life of one of the others and surprises the other two women with how far she will go to keep their relationship intact.

 

The Turning Point

© – All right reserved.

The Turning Point

D: Herbert Ross

Forced to give up ballet after becoming pregnant, Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) moved from New York to Oklahoma to raise a family with her husband (Tom Skerritt). When her old friend and fellow ballerina, Emma (Anne Bancroft), comes to town with her dance company and invites Deedee’s daughter, Emilia (Leslie Browne), to join, Deedee is both excited for her daughter and nostalgic for her past life as a dancer. Jealousy and regret rise to the surface as Deedee copes with her buried dreams.

 

Did your favorite make our list of the greatest films of 1977?

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