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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

 TitleStudioDom. gross
1.Star Wars

20th Century Fox/

Lucasfilm Ltd.

$308M
2.Smokey and the BanditUniversal Pictures$127M
3.Close Encounters of the Third KindColumbia Pictures$116M
4.Saturday Night FeverPara-mount Pictures$94M
5.The Goodbye GirlMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Warner Bros. / Rastar$82M
6.A Bridge Too FarUnited Artists$51M
7.The DeepColumbia Pictures$47M
8.The Spy Who Loved MeUnited Artists$47M
9.Oh, God!Warner Bros.$42M
10.Annie HallUnited 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
Jan3Tom Gries54Will Penny
    The Hawaiians
     
 6Niall MacGinnis63Martin Luther
    

Helen

of Troy

     
 12Henri-Georges Clouzot69The Wages of Fear
    Les Diaboliques
     
 14Peter   Finch60Network
    Sunday Bloody Sunday
     
 18Yvonne Printemps82Le Voyage en Amérique
    The Duel
     
 26Margaret Hayes60Blackboard Jungle
    Good Day for a Hanging
     
 31Daniel Mainwaring74Out of the Past
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers
     
Feb3Pauline Starke76The Viking
    What Men Want
     
 17Edward G. Boyle78The Apartment
    Gone with the Wind
     
 18Andy    Devine71Stagecoach
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
     
 22Edith   Barrett70Ladies in Retirement
    I Walked with a Zombie
     
 27Allison   Hayes46Count Three and Pray
    Gunslinger
     
 28Eddie “Rochester” Anderson71Cabin in the Sky
    It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
     
Mar25Nunnally Johnson79The Grapes of Wrath
    The Dirty Dozen
     
 27Diana   Hyland41One Man’s Way
    The Chase
     
Apr17Marjorie Gateson86Private Number
    The King’s Vacation
     
 19Marion Gering75Devil and the Deep
    Rumba
     
 21Gummo Marx83 
 28Ricardo Cortez76The Case of the Black Cat
    The Maltese Falcon
     
May10Joan Crawford71Mildred Pierce
    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
     
 15Herbert Wilcox87Odette
    Irene
     
 21Dorothy Christy70Parlor, Bedroom and Bath
    Bright Eyes
     
 31William Castle63Rosemary’s Baby
    House on Haunted Hill
     
June2Stephen Boyd45Ben-Hur
    Fantastic Voyage
     
 3Roberto Rossellini71Rome, Open City
    Germany, Year Zero
     
 5Luis César Amadori75Almafuerte
    Albéniz
     
 13Matthew Garber21Mary Poppins
    The Gnome-Mobile
     
 14Alan        Reed69Friendly Persuasion
    The Desperate Hours
     
 19Geraldine Brooks51An Act of Murder
    The Reckless Moment
     
 20Abner Biberman68The Night Runner
    Behind the High Wall
     
July2William H. Ziegler67My Fair Lady
    Auntie Mame
     
 22Erik       Chitty70Doctor Zhivago
    Lola
     
Aug3Alfred      Lunt84Sally of the Sawdust
    Second Youth
     
 14George Oppen-heimer77Libeled Lady
    Adventures of Don Juan
     
 16Elvis            Presley42Love Me Tender
    Blue Hawaii
     
 17Delmer Daves733:10 to Yuma
    Dark Passage
     
 19Groucho Marx86Duck Soup
    A Night at the Opera
     
 19Peter Dyneley56Thunderbirds Are Go
    Thunderbird 6
     
 21Danny Lockin34Hello Dolly!
     
 22Sebastian Cabot59The Time Machine
    The Jungle Book
     
 22Alex    Segal62Ransom!
    Harlow
     
 29Jean    Hagen54Singin’ in the Rain
    The Asphalt Jungle
     
 31H. C. Potter72Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
    The Farmer’s Daughter
     
Sep2Stephen Dunne59Ten Thousand Bedrooms
    The Woman from Tangier
     
 8Zero Mostel62The Producers
    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
     
Oct3

Tay

Garnett

83The Postman Always Rings Twice
    Cheers for Miss Bishop
     
 5Fred F. Finklehoffe67Meet Me in St. Louis
    The Stooge
     
 14Bing Crosby74Going My Way
    White Christmas
     
 31Joan   Tetzel56The Paradine Case
    The File on Thelma Jordon
     
Nov4Betty Balfour74Champagne
    29 Acacia Avenue
     
 9Gertrude Astor90The Strong Man
    The Cat and the Canary
     
 15William C. McGann84Times Square Playboy
    Girls on Probation
     
 18Victor Francen89San Antonio
    Hell and High Water
     
 25Richard Carlson65Creature from the Black Lagoon
    The Helen Morgan Story
     
 30Olga Petrova93Exile
    To the Death
     
 30Terence Rattigan66The Yellow Rolls-Royce
    The V.I.P.s
     
Dec4Leila Hyams72Freaks
    Island of Lost Souls
     
 18Cyril Ritchard79Blackmail
    Half a Sixpence
     
 19Jacques Tourneur73Out of the Past
    Cat People
     
 25Charlie Chaplin88The Great Dictator
    Modern Times
     
 26Howard Hawks81The Big Sleep
    Rio Bravo
     
 28Charlotte Green-wood87Oklahoma!
    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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