Great Movies From the ‘70s That Haven’t Been Remade (Yet) The Talks Today

The ’70s were a decade that brought some truly great movie moments. So much so, that many consider it to be the second golden age of Hollywood. Following the rebellious ’60s, movies in the ’70s had true spirit and really pushed some boundaries in storytelling that paved the way for the decades to follow.

The list that follows details some truly great movies from the ’70s that haven’t been remade and mostly for good reason. Whether the first movie is so defining of its genre that to remake it would serve no reason. Or maybe a movie stays great in the decade, but its influence caused so much inspiration that to remake it now would strip it of its unique value. Sometimes it’s best to just let great things stay as they are.


15 Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is a brilliantly gripping, Oscar-winning thriller. It’s a chaotic and absurd commentary on a corrupted society. Many of the characters in this movie are nameless, known only by their rank. Mostly the men in high serving, governmental positions. This helps push along the message of the movie by dehumanizing them and instead having them be representatives of the State.

In a twisted move to see if his status as Chief of Police will act as his saviour in avoiding repercussions of crime, the sociopathic lead in this movie murders his lover. Usually, they just role-play, but this time he wants to see how powerful he really is. It’s a sloppy job, and he purposely leaves an abundance of clues that would lead back to him.

14 The Music Lovers (1971)

United Artists

There’s something a little tragic about the story in The Music Lovers that leaves you feeling sorry for multiple characters. It follows the infamous composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and his somewhat sham of a marriage. Tchaikovsky makes his mark on the musical world while denying a part of himself in the process. From the pressures of his rising success in music, and from the surrounding society, he enters into a marriage with his wife, Antonia, but the union is not a happy one.

Both parties want something more than the other is not willing, or able to give. The movie highlights the destructive nature of withholding desire from both yourself and those around you. It’s not just about the music and delves deep into human desire and sexuality.

13 A New Leaf (1971)

A New Leaf
Paramount Pictures

The timer has been set in A New Leaf for the broke and desperate Henry Graham to find himself a wealthy wife in only 6 weeks’ time. This is a slapstick comedy that will have you belly laughing throughout at the bizarrely wonderful storyline and comical events.

Henry is a blithering idiot to put it nicely, and he’s managed to spend his entire inheritance without a backup plan. He makes the unorthodox bet with his uncle that he’ll just marry back into wealth. Once he’s got what he needs, he’ll get rid of the wife and carry on his life of luxury. Obviously, things don’t go quite as planned, and you will truly enjoy watching his escapades as he tries to dig himself out of the hole his reckless spending throws him into.

12 10 Rillington Place (1971)

John Christie strangling one of his victims
Columbia Pictures

10 Rillington Place is one of those movies that reminds you that what’s on the surface is often just deception. John Cristie seems like any other somewhat happily married man living his life in peace. However, he’s actually a serial killer with quite a disturbing reality to his everyday life. With an established medical background, John promises his female victims help with their specific ailments and welcomes them into his home. He then knocks them out with carbon monoxide, has his way with them, and then strangles them to death.

It’s quite shocking and a little nauseating as a viewer to witness his crimes for modern-day audiences. But back in the 70s, this type of film wasn’t commonplace. To see such hideous acts must have been truly something for viewers at the time of its release. It really is a movie that stands the test of time and can still achieve its desired impact.

11 Little Murders (1971)

elliott gould little murders
20th Century Fox

The gritty nature of New York in the ’70s comes to light in Little Murders. It’s a satirical take on the realities of marriage following the sorry relationship of Patsy Newquist and Alfred Chamberlain.

Patsy is used to the chaos that is New York City with its street crime and random shootings, but when she sees Alfred being attacked one day, she can’t help but intervene. He’s an apathetic and hopeless individual who has lost the ability to see the point in life, and she’s an unwavering optimist who wants to help him get back his gusto. Their relationship isn’t the most ideal, and you wonder why Patsy finds herself attracted to such a man. It’s an interesting watch and gets truly engaging once fate plays an unfair deal.

10 Jaws (1975)

Jaws in Jaws.
Universal Pictures

Jaws is without a doubt the most famous shark attack movie ever made and one of the movies that really helped Spielberg make his mark. It’s had a few sequels, and many other films try failed imitations, none of which matched up to the original. There’s no need to create a remake of this classic that has retained its appeal throughout the decades since its release and has inspired a whole legion of other movies.

In this movie, a small community town on Amity Island is shaken when the creature from the deep starts claiming its victims. A bounty is placed on the shark that brings in a whole swarm of interested individuals wanting to claim the prize. The once-quiet town is busy and thriving from all the chaos that follows its recent shark attacks.

Related: The 10 Best Shark Attack Movies (That Aren’t Jaws)

9 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
United Artists

In a bid to avoid any laborious duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity in Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His effort is successful, and he’s instead sent to a ward for mentally unstable individuals. However, he couldn’t have imagined what he would learn once getting there.

The clear degradation of the inmates forces McMurphy to take action. He can’t stand by and watch the abuse inflicted upon the inmates by Nurse Ratched and her power trip. She’s a spiteful and loathsome woman who makes for a brilliant villain in this well-loved movie. Alongside the other inmates, McMurphy leads a rebellion, and it makes for a gripping watch from start to finish.

8 Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Dog Day Afternoon
Warner Bros.

Dog Day Afternoon is based on a true story and upon release was considered ahead of its time.

With the intention of raising funds for a gender reassignment operation for Sonny’s ‘wife’, Sonny and Sal attempt to rob a bank. However, of course things don’t go according to plan. What was supposed to be a quick bank robbery job turns into something far more significant. When they go to rob the bank, one accomplice loses their nerve and bails, and then they find out there’s not much money to rob anyway. Before they can get away, they’re already surrounded and in deep trouble. A hostage situation emerges and the whole event becomes a media circus. Furthermore, as their intentions for the robber become clear to the public, the chaos just intensifies.

7 Bound for Glory (1976)

david-carradine-bound-for-glory (1)
United Artists

Bound for Glory is a biographical film detailing the experience of undoubtedly one of America’s greatest folk singers, Woody Guthrie. It’s a faithful telling of his journey across America as he took on any job that was going and detailed his extraordinary life in his hundreds of songs, most notably “This Land is Your Land”.

When watching this movie you’ll find yourself impressed by the great attention to detail that has been given. Even more so, David Carradine play’s Woody effortlessly well bringing wonderful simplicity to a character who experienced and achieved so much. Through watching this movie your eyes are opened to the events of Woody’s life that exposed him to learn more about the suffering of the American working class in the 30s. You see how his experiences influenced his music, and this allows you to enjoy it all the more so.

6 Emma Mae (1976)

Bob-Bea Productions

Emma Mae is another story of a naïve country girl moving away to the big city and in doing so highlighting the stark contrast between the two lifestyles involved. It’s the type of story that still has relevance today and still has many movies following the same kind of baseline for story-telling.

Emma moves to the city and soon finds herself falling for the wrong kind of guy. He’s an absolute low-life druggie who is involved in a local street gang. Her naïveté is at its highest when she tries to raise money to clear his bail and doesn’t stick to honest means to do so. You don’t expect him to have ever loved her, and the cruel reality of this becomes clear to Emma when she realizes this too. Throughout the story, she becomes more aware of the social injustice apparent in the big city and loses that country girl’s naïve lack of awareness she arrived with.

5 Marathon Man (1976)

Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man
Paramount Pictures 

Thanks to his brother, Thomas “Babe” Levy finds himself stuck in the middle of an illegal diamond trade in Marathon Man. This movie is intense and grabs hold of your attention in all the best ways.

Babe is a PhD candidate at Columbia University pursuing the same studies as his deceased father who was previously under investigation in the Communist witch hunts. Babe is living an honest enough life until one night he is mugged but finds out it was no random attack. Soon after someone close to him is murdered and true identities emerge that shake things up. Babe hasn’t got a chance and is soon involved in an international conspiracy involving an illegal diamond trade with a Nazi war criminal thrown into the mix. Loyalties are questioned while Babe tries to get through it all alive.

4 Straight Time (1978)

First Artists

Max Dembo does want to go straight after getting out of prison in Straight Time, however, the situation he finds himself in after getting out is less than ideal. Parole feels too restricting, his living conditions are shabby, and he’s not allowed to associate with people from his past. So, it’s a difficult transition back into the outside world.

His desire to make his life a decent one doesn’t last. After his relationship with his parole officer becomes increasingly strained, Max commits assault. Returning to a life of crime he finds himself on the run, and you can’t help but be disappointed that he couldn’t hold out on probation and make a better life for himself. However, that wouldn’t make for as good of a movie.

3 The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter
Universal Pictures

The Deer Hunter is a powerful exploration of post-war life and the lasting effects of the Vietnam War on its veterans. Robert De Niro absolutely owned his role in this movie, and it’s a drama undeniably worthy of its Oscar-winning status. Not an easy watch, and particularly tough at certain points, this movie sure does pack a punch.

You’re first met with 3 best friends who get enlisted in the Vietnam War. They’re met with the true horrors of war during their time serving. When one returns home and realizes one of his friends is still out there in Vietnam, he heads back to rescue him. This film is really something, and the game of Russian Roulette the friends are forced to become a part of it’s truly impactful and thought-provoking.

Related: Here Are Some of the Most Intense Scenes in Movie History

2 Animal House (1978)

The cast of Animal House
Universal Pictures

Animal House is a wild and whacky frat house-style comedy. It’s a refreshing original of a sub-genre that has since been well overdone, and a remake would just ruin its unique style and originality.

There’s one frat house in particular at Faber College that is causing all the trouble and Dean Wormer wants them out. He enlists the help of a second frat house in order to realize his goal. The plan to beat the unruly frat house comes into play not long before the homecoming parade. The humorous antics of those involved make this an entertaining watch, however, many of the comedic moments could be considered a little outdated. A remake wouldn’t serve to update the comedy though due to the numerous similar movies made since, and it would just blend into the void.

1 Midnight Express (1978)

Midnight Express Columbia Express (1)
Columbia Pictures 

Still considered to be one of the best prison movies ever, Midnight Express is a must-watch from the ’70s.

Billy Hayes makes a poor attempt at smuggling drugs out of Istanbul and gets caught with 2 kilos of the stuff strapped to himself. In a bid to find the dealer, the authorities make a deal that they’ll release Billy if he rats out who sold him the drugs in the first place. However, his luck just keeps running low when he’s recaptured and sentenced for possession and sent to prison. His time in prison is rough, to say the least with a relentless prison guard holding a talent for both mental and physical torture which he regularly inflicts upon prisoners with no cause. While he tries tirelessly to find diplomatic channels for his release, Billy is told to catch the midnight express (escape). His situation becomes desperate and the options at his disposal involve dying in the prison or finding whatever means possible of getting out.

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