Watchworthy
365 voters

The Best Exploitation Movies of the 1970s

Updated October 2, 2019 2.3k votes 365 voters 20.4k views43 items

List RulesVote 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.

Photo:
...more
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre1
    112
    18

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns

    Released1974

    Directed byTobe Hooper

    This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote... more on Wikipedia
  • Dawn of the Dead2
    88
    13

    Dawn of the Dead

    Tom Savini, Ken Foree

    Released1978

    Directed byGeorge A. Romero

    This film is a 1978 Italian-American horror drama film written and directed by George A.... more on Wikipedia

    More Dawn of the Dead 

    #201 of 480 The Greatest Movies For Guys#713 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • Death Race 20003
    65
    16

    Death Race 2000

    Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine

    Released1975

    Directed byPaul Bartel

    This film is a 1975 cult action film directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine,... more on Wikipedia
  • The Last House on the Left4
    62
    16

    The Last House on the Left

    Martin Kove, Steve Miner

    Released1972

    Directed byWes Craven

    The Last House on the Left is a 1972 American exploitation-horror film written, edited, and... more on Wikipedia
  • Foxy Brown5
    58
    16

    Foxy Brown

    Pam Grier, Sid Haig

    Released1974

    Directed byJack Hill

    Foxy Brown is a 1974 American blaxploitation film written and directed by Jack Hill. It stars... more on Wikipedia

    More Foxy Brown 

    #39 of 85 Great Movies About Furious Women Out for Revenge#46 of 73 Movies with the Most Hardcore Women

  • The Hills Have Eyes6
    57
    17

    The Hills Have Eyes

    Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman

    Released1977

    Directed byWes Craven

    The Hills Have Eyes is a 1977 American exploitation-horror film written and directed by Wes... more on Wikipedia

    More The Hills Have Eyes 

    #2 of 20 20 Horrifying Crime Movies Whose True Stories Are Way More Terrifying#12 of 42 The Most Gratuitous Torture Horror Movies That Are Undeniably Sadistic

  • I Spit on Your Grave7
    59
    20

    I Spit on Your Grave

    Camille Keaton, Richard Pace

    Released1978

    Directed byMeir Zarchi

    Day of the Woman is a controversial 1978 cult classic rape and revenge film. The film received... more on Wikipedia

    More 

    #7 of 45 The Most Controversial Movies of All Time#15 of 21 20 Most Essential Female-Led Horror Films

  • Assault on Precinct 138
    48
    12

    Assault on Precinct 13

    Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and... more on Wikipedia

    More Assault on Precinct 13 

    #55 of 101 The Best Kidnapping & Hostage Movies Of All Time, Ranked#247 of 382 The Greatest Movie Themes

  • Pink Flamingos9
    48
    23

    Pink Flamingos

    John Waters, Divine

    Released1972

    Directed byJohn Waters

    Pink Flamingos is a 1972 American transgressive black comedy exploitation film written,... more on Wikipedia

    More Pink Flamingos 

    #821 of 925 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#2 of 14 14 Movies You Should Never Watch While You’re Eating

  • Shaft10
    41
    16

    Shaft

    Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn

    Released1971

    Directed byGordon Parks

    Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by... more on Wikipedia
  • Super Fly11
    36
    13

    Super Fly

    Curtis Mayfield, Julius Harris

    Released1972

    Directed byGordon Parks, Gordon Parks, Jr.

    Super Fly is a 1972 blaxploitation, crime drama film directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., starring... more on Wikipedia

    More Super Fly 

    #7 of 25 Movies From Black Directors Every Film Lover Should See#45 of 68 The Best Black Action Movies, Ranked

  • Coffy12
    55
    33

    Coffy

    Pam Grier, Sid Haig

    Released1973

    Directed byJack Hill

    Coffy is a 1973 blaxploitation film written and directed by American filmmaker Jack Hill. The... more on Wikipedia

    More Coffy 

    #244 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked#457 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

  • Car Wash13
    35
    15

    Car Wash

    Danny DeVito, Richard Pryor

    Released1976

    Directed byMichael Schultz

    Car Wash is a 1976 American comedy film released by Universal Pictures. The Art Linson... more on Wikipedia

    More Car Wash 

    #576 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#74 of 105 The Best Hood Movies

  • Beyond the Valley of the Dolls14
    43
    24

    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

    Pam Grier, Charles Napier

    Released1970

    Directed byRuss Meyer

    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a 1970 American satirical musical melodrama film starring... more on Wikipedia

    More Beyond the Valley of the Dolls 

    #19 of 20 20 Bad Movies That Are Actually Really Good#224 of 553 The Best '70s Movies

  • Piranha15
    40
    23

    Piranha

    Keenan Wynn, John Sayles

    Released1978

    Directed byJoe Dante

    Piranha is a 1978 American B movie about a swarm of killer piranhas. It was directed and... more on Wikipedia

    More Piranha 

    #262 of 722 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#17 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made

  • The Street Fighter16
    26
    13

    The Street Fighter

    Sonny Chiba, Yutaka Nakajima

    Released1974

    Directed byShigehiro Ozawa

    The Street Fighter, literally Clash, Killer Fist!, is a Japanese martial arts film released in... more on Wikipedia
  • Master of the Flying Guillotine17
    30
    19

    Master of the Flying Guillotine

    Philip Kwok, Lau Kar-wing

    Released1976

    Directed byJimmy Wang

    Master of the Flying Guillotine is a 1976 Taiwanese wuxia film starring Jimmy Wang Yu, who... more on Wikipedia

    More Master of the Flying Guillotine 

    #45 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies#11 of 41 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1970s

  • Thriller: A Cruel Picture18
    28
    17

    Thriller: A Cruel Picture

    Christina Lindberg, Per-Axel Arosenius

    Released1973

    Directed byBo Arne Vibenius

    Thriller – A Cruel Picture is a 1973 Swedish exploitation film in the "rape and revenge" genre... more on Wikipedia

    More Thriller: A Cruel Picture 

    #43 of 51 The Most Exciting Movies About Female Assassins#4 of 35 The Best Exploitation Movies

  • Black Caesar19
    19
    8

    Black Caesar

    Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry

    Released1973

    Directed byLarry Cohen

    Black Caesar, released theatrically in the UK as Godfather of Harlem, is a 1973 American... more on Wikipedia
  • Female Trouble20
    25
    17

    Female Trouble

    Divine, Mink Stole

    Released1974

    Directed byJohn Waters

    Female Trouble is a 1974 dark comedy film co-composed, filmed, co-edited, written, produced,... more on Wikipedia

    More Female Trouble 

    #86 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel#88 of 132 The Best Lesbian Movies

  • I Drink Your Blood21
    23
    15

    I Drink Your Blood

    Bhaskar, Jadine Wong

    Released1970

    Directed byDavid E. Durston

    I Drink Your Blood is a cult horror film originally released in 1970. The film was written and... more on Wikipedia

    More I Drink Your Blood 

    #91 of 105 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks#46 of 47 The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks

  • Wake in Fright22
    22
    13

    Wake in Fright

    Donald Pleasence, Jack Thompson

    Released1971

    Directed byTed Kotcheff

    Wake in Fright is a 1971 Australian-American thriller film directed by Ted Kotcheff and... more on Wikipedia
  • Eyes Without a Face23
    23
    16

    Eyes Without a Face

    Alida Valli, Pierre Brasseur

    Released1960

    Directed byGeorges Franju

    Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French-Italian horror film adaptation of Jean Redon's novel,... more on Wikipedia

    More Eyes Without a Face 

    #162 of 176 The Best Movies of the '60s#19 of 106 The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces

  • Blacula24
    34
    29

    Blacula

    Vonetta McGee, Elisha Cook

    Released1972

    Directed byWilliam Crain

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Blacula is a 1972 American blaxploitation horror film produced for American International... more on Wikipedia

    More Blacula 

    #74 of 111 The Best '70s Horror Movies#118 of 182 The Best Monster Movies

  • Lady Snowblood25
    16
    7

    Lady Snowblood

    Meiko Kaji, Kō Nishimura

    Released1973

    Directed byToshiya Fujita

    Lady Snowblood is a 1973 Japanese film directed by Toshiya Fujita and starring Meiko Kaji. It... more on Wikipedia