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 1978 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:

  • Karen Allen – National Lampoon’s Animal House
  • Pedro Almodóvar (director) – Folle…folle…fólleme Tim!
  • Kevin Bacon – National Lampoon’s Animal House
  • Jake Busey – Straight Time
  • Cheech & Chong – Up in Smoke
  • Billy Connolly – Absolution
  • Billy Crystal – Rabbit Test
  • Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween
  • Lee Ermey – The Boys in Company C
  • Corey Feldman – Born Again
  • William Forsythe – Long Shot
  • Harry Hamlin – Movie Movie
  • Daryl Hannah – The Fury
  • Mark Harmon – Comes a Horseman
  • Ed Harris – Coma
  • Michael Keaton – Rabbit Test
  • John Malkovich – A Wedding
  • Laurie Metcalf – A Wedding
  • Liam Neeson – Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Michael O’Keefe – Gray Lady Down
  • Annie Potts – Corvette Summer
  • Christopher Reeve – Gray Lady Down
  • James Remar – On the Yard
  • Eric Roberts – King of the Gypsies
  • Diana Scarwid – Pretty Baby
  • James Spader – Team-Mates
  • Mary Steenburgen – Goin’ South
  • Peter Stormare – The Score
  • Alfre Woodard – Remember My Name
  • Robert Zemeckis (director) – I Wanna Hold Your Hand



Top-grossing Films

RankTitleStudioDom. gross
1.GreaseParamount Pictures$160M
2.SupermanWarner Bros.$134M
3.National Lampoon’s Animal HouseUniversal Pictures$120M
4.Every Which Way but LooseWarner Bros.$85M
5.Heaven Can WaitParamount Pictures$82M
6.HooperWarner Bros.$78M
7.Jaws 2Universal Pictures$78M
8.Revenge of the Pink PantherUnited Artists$50M
9.The Deer HunterUniversal Pictures$49M
10.HalloweenCompass International$47M


Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: The Deer Hunter – EMI Films/Cimino, Universal

Best Director: Michael CiminoThe Deer Hunter

Best Actor: Jon Voight – Coming Home

Best Actress: Jane Fonda – Coming Home

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher WalkenThe Deer Hunter

Best Supporting Actress: Maggie SmithCalifornia Suite


Among Those Who Died In 1978:

Month NameAgeNotable films
Jan5Sally Eilers69Bad Girl
    The Black Camel
 12Arthur Sheekman76Duck Soup
    Some Came Running
 23Jack Oakie74The Great Dictator
    Lover Come Back
 26Leo Genn72Quo Vadis
    The Longest Day
 27Oskar Homolka79Sabotage
    I Remember Mama
 29Tim McCoy86Texas Cyclone
    Two-Fisted Law
Feb2Wendy Barrie69The Hound of the Baskervilles
    The Private Life of Henry VIII
 14Claude Binyon72The Saxon Charm
 15Ilka Chase77Now, Voyager
    Ocean’s 11
 18Kathleen Lockhart83A Christmas Carol
 18Maggie McNamara48The Moon Is Blue
    Three Coins in the Fountain
 24Franco Arcalli48Last Tango in Paris
    Zabriskie Point
 28Philip Ahn72Never So Few
    Paradise, Hawaiian Style
Mar12John Cazale42The Godfather
    Dog Day Afternoon
 16Reb Russell72Range Warfare
    Border Vengeance
 18Peggy Wood86The Sound of Music
    The Story of Ruth
 24Leigh Brackett62The Big Sleep
    The Empire Strikes Back
 25Leslie Fenton76Boys Town