Entertainment

The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s  

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 339 voters 17.1k views 44 items

List Rules Vote up the most interesting exploitation films that were released in the 1970s.

The best ‘70s exploitation movies are a dizzying blend of graphic sex, sensational violence, and a dash of kitsch. Nazis, fast cars, zombies, bikers - you name it, they are all featured prominently in this 1970s exploitation film list. These films were made with a lower budget, and aimed to produce pure, high-octane entertainment.   


What are the top ‘70s exploitation movies? This list runs the gamut from grindhouse classics, like Death Race 2000, to genre-defining horror flicks like The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, directed by a young Tobe Hooper. Gory slasher movies constitute a number of the top ‘70s exploitation movies. Some films on this list transcended their B-movie status and became cultural touchstones. For example, the movie Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, is actually banned in several countries due to its highly controversial subject matter, and is regarded as one of the most shocking films ever made. 
 

Here, you’ll also find Assault on Precinct 13, originally released in 1976, and remade in 2005 starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne. You won’t find any arthouse flicks here, but you will find some salacious cult classics.Vote up the best '70s exploitation films, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.

list ordered by
1
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal
This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar ...more
2
Dawn of the Dead is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico
This film is a 1978 Italian-American horror drama film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was the second film made in Romero's series, but contains no characters or settings from them, ...more
3
Death Race 2000 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine, Mary Woronov
This film is a 1975 cult action film directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth and Sylvester Stallone. The film takes place in a dystopian American society in the ...more
4
The Last House on the Left is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Martin Kove, Steve Miner, Fred J. Lincoln
The Last House on the Left is a 1972 American exploitation-horror film written, edited, and directed by Wes Craven and produced by Sean S. Cunningham. The story is inspired by the 1960 Swedish ...more
5
The Hills Have Eyes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman, John Steadman
The Hills Have Eyes is a 1977 American exploitation-horror film written and directed by Wes Craven and starring Susan Lanier, Michael Berryman and Dee Wallace. It is about a suburan family on a ...more
6
Assault on Precinct 13 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers, Tony Burton
Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and edited by John Carpenter. It stars Austin Stoker as a police officer who defends a defunct precinct ...more
7
Foxy Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Peter Brown
Foxy Brown is a 1974 American blaxploitation film written and directed by Jack Hill. It stars Pam Grier as the title character, described by one character as "a whole lot of woman" who ...more
8
Coffy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Coffy Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Gail Davis
Coffy is a 1973 blaxploitation film written and directed by American filmmaker Jack Hill. The story is about a black female vigilante played by Pam Grier. The film's tagline in advertising was ...more
9
I Spit on Your Grave is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Camille Keaton, Richard Pace, Gunter Kleeman
Day of the Woman is a controversial 1978 cult classic rape and revenge film. The film received a limited release, with a wider release in 1980. Prominent film critics condemned the film for its ...more
10
Shaft is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Lawrence Pressman
Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a private detective, ...more
11
Pink Flamingos is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
John Waters, Divine, Mink Stole
Pink Flamingos is a 1972 American transgressive black comedy exploitation film written, produced, scored, shot, edited, narrated, and directed by John Waters. When the film was initially ...more
12
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Pam Grier, Charles Napier, Cynthia Myers
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a 1970 American satirical musical melodrama film starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, John LaZar, Michael Blodgett and David Gurian. The cult ...more
13
Piranha is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Keenan Wynn, John Sayles, Barbara Steele
Piranha is a 1978 American B movie about a swarm of killer piranhas. It was directed and co-edited by Joe Dante and starred Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, ...more
14
Super Fly is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Curtis Mayfield, Julius Harris, Ron O'Neal
Super Fly is a 1972 blaxploitation, crime drama film directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., starring Ron O'Neal as Youngblood Priest, an African American cocaine dealer who is trying to quit the ...more
15
Car Wash is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Danny DeVito, Richard Pryor, George Carlin
Car Wash is a 1976 American comedy film released by Universal Pictures. The Art Linson Production was directed by Michael Schultz from a screenplay by Joel Schumacher. Starring Franklyn Ajaye, ...more
16
Blacula is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Vonetta McGee, Elisha Cook, Jr.
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Blacula is a 1972 American blaxploitation horror film produced for American International Pictures. It was directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role about an ...more
17
Eyes Without a Face is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
ishallbesuccessful added Alida Valli, Pierre Brasseur, Édith Scob
Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French-Italian horror film adaptation of Jean Redon's novel, directed by Georges Franju, and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. During the film's production, ...more
18
Master of the Flying Guillotin... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Philip Kwok, Lau Kar-wing, Kang Chin
Master of the Flying Guillotine is a 1976 Taiwanese wuxia film starring Jimmy Wang Yu, who also wrote and directed the film. It is a sequel to Wang's 1971 film One Armed Boxer, and thus the film ...more
19
Vanishing Point is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Charlotte Rampling, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger
Vanishing Point is a 1971 American action road movie directed by Richard C. Sarafian and starring Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, and Dean Jagger. The film is notable for its scenic film locations ...more
20
The Street Fighter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Sonny Chiba, Yutaka Nakajima, Tony Cetera
The Street Fighter, literally Clash, Killer Fist!, is a Japanese martial arts film released in 1974 and produced by Toei Company Ltd. It was released in the US by New Line Cinema and became one ...more
21
Thriller: A Cruel Picture is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Christina Lindberg, Per-Axel Arosenius, Bo Arne Vibenius
Thriller – A Cruel Picture is a 1973 Swedish exploitation film in the "rape and revenge" genre written and directed by Bo Arne Vibenius under the name Alex Fridolinski. It tells the ...more
22
Switchblade Sisters is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Robert Lee Minor, Don Stark, Janice Karman
Switchblade Sisters is a 1975 action and exploitation film detailing the lives of high school-aged female gang members. It was directed by Jack Hill and stars Joanne Nail, Robbie Lee and Monica ...more
23
Vampyros Lesbos is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Dennis Price, Soledad Miranda, Paul Muller
Vampyros Lesbos is a 1971 West German-Spanish horror film directed and co-written by Jesús Franco. The film stars Ewa Stroemberg as Linda Westinghouse, an American who works in a Turkish ...more
24
Black Caesar is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry, William Wellman Jr.
Black Caesar, released theatrically in the UK as Godfather of Harlem, is a 1973 American blaxploitation, crime drama film, starring Fred Williamson and Gloria Hendry. The film was written and ...more
25
Female Trouble is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s
Divine, Mink Stole, Edith Massey
Female Trouble is a 1974 dark comedy film co-composed, filmed, co-edited, written, produced, and directed by John Waters starring Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith ...more