5. The Ascent (1977; dir. Larisa Shepitko)
Directed by Larisa Shepitko, this movie that won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1977 definitely should be considered among the best war movies of all time.
In this film, during the winter in World War II, two pro-Soviet partisans are trying to find food when they are arrested by the Nazis. One of them refuses to answer the questions from the Nazi interrogator, while the other thinks that, because they don’t know anything, they should tell everything they know to stay alive.
With a very powerful mise en scène and astonishing black-and-white cinematography, “The Ascent” is one of the best movies from the 1970s and a film every cinephile should check out.
4. Cries and Whispers (1972; dir. Ingmar Bergman)
“Cries and Whispers” is one of the best movies in the career of Ingmar Bergman.
In this story, in the beginning of the 20th century, a woman dying of cancer receives a visit from her sisters. Slowly, a repressed feeling that exists between them starts to appear.
With amazing cinematography by Sven Nykvist and a powerful mise en scène and script, “Cries and Whispers” is truly one of the best movies directed by Bergman.
With great performances and a production design that uses vivid colors to compose the atmosphere of the film, “Cries and Whispers” is really one of the most visually stunning movies of the 1970s.
3. Days of Heaven (1978; dir. Terrence Malick)
Featuring one of the most talented cinematographers in the history of film, “Days of Heaven” has many impressive shots.
The movie follows the story of Bill (Richard Gere) and Abby (Brooke Adams), a couple trying to escape poverty. They pretend to be brother and sister and, one day, Abby marries a rich farmer who fell in love with her and who only has one year to live.
With great performances by Adams, Gere and Sam Shepard as the farmer, “Days of Heaven” has an amazing visual, is one of the best movies in the career of Terrence Malick and is a film every cinephile should watch.
2. The Mirror (1975) tied with Stalker (1979), dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
Two of Tarkovsky’s best films (actually, he really hasn’t made a bad one in his career), “The Mirror” and “Stalker” are two visually stunning films that are definitely among the best movies made in the 1970s.
Both full of powerful imagery, the way Tarkovsky uses metaphors and long shots are truly astonishing in these films.
Building such an intriguing and intricate atmosphere, Tarkovsky’s works are really very unique. “Stalker” and “The Mirror” are both movies so visually stunning and complex that this list could not be complete without them.
1. Barry Lyndon (1975; dir. Stanley Kubrick)
“Barry Lyndon” is another amazing film directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Following the story of a rogue who becomes an aristocrat after meeting a rich widow, “Barry Lyndon” features one of the best cinematographers of all time. With many wide shots, this movie is truly a visual spectacle.
Director of photography John Alcott and Stanley Kubrick do an amazing job by positioning the lead character in this universe that is not his. Alongside the amazing production design, costume design and art directing, “Barry Lyndon” is definitely one of the most beautiful movies from the 1970s.
Author Bio: Vítor Guima is a filmmaker, writer and musician. Every day he watches a movie, reads a few pages from a book, listens to an album and freaks out with the feeling of not having enough time to see everything. You can follow him on Instagram on @ovitorguima.