films The Best '70s Thriller Movies  

Ranker Film
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List Rules Vote up your favorite suspense films that were released in the 1970s

The 1970s saw the rise of New Hollywood, and with it some of the most iconic films in cinema history. New Hollywood comprised a group of young filmmakers all pushing the boundaries of style and form, breaking established moviemaking traditions to create a new era in film.


On this list of the best ‘70s thriller movies, you will find an interesting mix of New Hollywood and ‘70s pulp. No discussion of good ‘70s thrillers can begin without
Jaws, the movie that created the idea of a blockbuster. Jaws is one of legendary director Steven Spielberg’s first films. Also on this list, you’ll find Martin Scorsese's captivating Taxi Driver. Starring Robert DeNiro, Taxi Driver is a psychological thriller concerning the unraveling of an army veteran in gritty ‘70s Manhattan. This list of the greatest ‘70s thriller movies also includes such genre classics as Dirty Harry and Mad Max.


Vote up the best '70s thriller movies, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
list ordered by

1
32 6
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Jaws Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

2
19 9
Dirty Harry is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Andrew Robinson Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco ...more

3
17 8
The French Connection is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The French Connection Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, and Roy Scheider. The film was ...more

4
18 9
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her ...more

5
14 6
Deliverance is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Deliverance Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty Deliverance is a 1972 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman, and starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, with the latter two making their ...more

6
16 8
All the President's Men is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
All the President's Men Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford All the President's Men is a 1976 American political thriller film directed by Alan J. Pakula. The screenplay by William Goldman is based on the 1974 non-fiction book of the same name by Carl ...more

7
16 8
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Conversation Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman The Conversation is a 1974 American psychological thriller film written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman with supporting roles by John Cazale, Allen ...more

8
14 7
Duel is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Duel Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Lou Frizzell Duel is a 1971 television thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Richard Matheson, based on Matheson's short story of the same name. It stars Dennis Weaver as a terrified ...more

9
19 12
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Taxi Driver Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film ...more

10
13 7
The Warriors is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Warriors Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend, James Remar The Warriors is a 1979 American cult thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol Yurick's 1965 novel of the same name. Like the novel, the film borrows elements from the Anabasis by ...more

11
11 6
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Carrie John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's first major 1974 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen. The ...more

12
13 8
Marathon Man is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Marathon Man Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider Marathon Man is a 1976 suspense/thriller film directed by John Schlesinger. It was adapted by William Goldman from his novel of the same name and stars Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy ...more

The Best '70s Horror Movies

13
11 7
The Day of the Jackal is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Day of the Jackal Derek Jacobi, Edward Fox, Donald Sinden The Day of the Jackal is a 1973 Anglo-French thriller film directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Edward Fox and Michael Lonsdale. Based on the 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal by Frederick ...more

14
11 7
Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Three Days of the Condor Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, and Max von Sydow. The screenplay by ...more

15
11 7
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Mad Max Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy and starring Mel Gibson. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by ...more

16
10 6
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Play Misty for Me Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter Play Misty for Me is a 1971 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, in his directorial debut. Jessica Walter and Donna Mills co-star. The original music ...more

17
8 5
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Towering Inferno O. J. Simpson, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action drama disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. The picture was directed by John ...more

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18
9 7
Soylent Green is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Soylent Green Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Dick Van Patten Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, and, in his final film, Edward G. Robinson. The film ...more

19
8 6
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Wicker Man Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, and ...more

20
12 11
Straw Dogs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Straw Dogs Dustin Hoffman, David Warner, Peter Vaughan Straw Dogs is a 1971 psychological thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The screenplay by Peckinpah and David Zelag Goodman is based upon Gordon M. ...more

21
7 6
Get Carter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Get Carter Michael Caine, Britt Ekland, Ian Hendry Get Carter is a 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, Britt Ekland, John Osborne and Bryan Mosley. The screenplay was adapted by Hodges from Ted ...more

22
6 5
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The China Syndrome Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon The China Syndrome is a 1979 American thriller film that tells the story of a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. It stars Jane Fonda, ...more

The Best NC-17 Indie Movies

23
5 4
THX 1138 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
THX 1138 Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Sid Haig THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas in his feature directorial debut. The film was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Lucas and Walter Murch. It stars ...more

24
9 9
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Robert Duvall, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction thriller directed by Philip Kaufman, and starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy. ...more

25
8 8
The Taking of Pelham One Two T... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Jerry Stiller, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a 1974 American thriller film directed by Joseph Sargent, produced by Edgar J. Scherick, and starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam and ...more

26
7 7
The Getaway is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Getaway Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Sally Struthers Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Getaway is a 1972 American action-crime film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. The film is based on the Jim Thompson novel of the same name, with the ...more

27
6 6
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo G... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Kris Kristofferson, Gig Young, Warren Oates Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a 1974 American cult action film directed by Sam Peckinpah and featuring Warren Oates. Made in Mexico on a low budget after the commercial failure of Pat ...more

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28
8 9
Don't Look Now is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Don't Look Now Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Leopoldo Trieste Don't Look Now is a 1973 independent British-Italian film directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is a thriller adapted from the short story by Daphne du Maurier. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star ...more

29
8 9
Assault on Precinct 13 is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Assault on Precinct 13 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

30
4 5
The Tenant is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Tenant Roman Polanski, Shelley Winters, Isabelle Adjani The Tenant is a 1976 psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, starring Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, and Shelley Winters. It is based upon the 1964 novel Le locataire ...more

31
4 5
The Boys from Brazil is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Boys from Brazil Laurence Olivier, Gregory Peck, Steve Guttenberg The Boys from Brazil is a 1978 British-American thriller film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. It stars Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier and features James Mason, Lilli Palmer, Uta Hagen and ...more

32
4 5
The Parallax View is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Parallax View Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, Hume Cronyn The Parallax View is a 1974 American political thriller film directed and produced by Alan J. Pakula, and starring Warren Beatty, Hume Cronyn, William Daniels and Paula Prentiss. The film was ...more

12 Terrifying Facts About The Wendigo And Its Dark History

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2 3
Sisters is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Sisters Margot Kidder, Charles Durning, Olympia Dukakis Sisters is a 1973 American horror film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt and Charles Durning. The plot focuses on a French Canadian model whose separated ...more

34
1 2
Sitting Target is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Sitting Target Ian McShane, Jill St. John, Oliver Reed Sitting Target or Screaming Target is a 1972 British film directed by Douglas Hickox and shot in London. It stars Oliver Reed, Ian McShane and Jill St. John and was based on the 1970 novel by ...more

35
1 2
Absolution is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Absolution Richard Burton, Billy Connolly, Andrew Keir At a Catholic public school, Benjamin Stanfield (DOMINIC GUARD) is tired of being the teacher's pet and decides to play a practical joke on his former master, Father Goddard (RICHARD BURTON). In ...more

36
1 2
Unman, Wittering and Zigo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Unman, Wittering and Zigo Carolyn Seymour, Tony Haygarth, Douglas Wilmer Unman, Wittering and Zigo is a 1971 action-thriller film directed by John Mackenzie.

37
9 11
The Long Goodbye is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Long Goodbye Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elliott Gould, Henry Gibson The Long Goodbye is a 1973 neo-noir film directed by Robert Altman and based on Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Leigh Brackett, who cowrote the ...more

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38
0 1
The Outfit is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Mike Stevens added The Outfit Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Robert Ryan The Outfit is a 1973 crime film directed by John Flynn. It stars Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker and Robert Ryan. Flynn's screenplay is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by ...more

39
0 1
Le Cercle Rouge is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Mike Stevens added Le Cercle Rouge Alain Delon

After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

40
7 9
The Red Circle is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Red Circle Yves Montand, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonté Le Cercle Rouge is a 1970 crime film set in Paris, France. It was directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Andre Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonté and Yves Montand. It is known ...more

41
5 7
Black Christmas is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Black Christmas Michelle Trachtenberg, Lacey Chabert, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Black Christmas is a 2006 Canadian-American slasher film written and directed by Glen Morgan and starring Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Hudson, Lacey ...more

42
3 5
The Friends of Eddie Coyle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Friends of Eddie Coyle Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Alex Rocco The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a 1973 crime film directed by Peter Yates and starring Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle. The screenplay by Paul Monash was adapted from the novel of the same name by ...more

43
2 4
Vanishing Point is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Vanishing Point 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

44
6 9
The Hills Have Eyes is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Hills Have Eyes 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

45
4 7
Sleuth is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Sleuth Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Eve Channing Sleuth is a 1972 mystery thriller film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay by British playwright Anthony Shaffer was based on his 1970 Tony Award-winning play Sleuth. The film stars ...more

46
3 6
Frenzy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Frenzy Alfred Hitchcock, Anna Massey, Bernard Cribbins Frenzy is a 1972 British crime thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The penultimate feature film of his extensive career, it is often considered by critics and scholars to be his last ...more

47
3 6
Fist of Fury is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Fist of Fury Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Nora Miao Fist of Fury, also known as The Chinese Connection and The Iron Hand in the United States, is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Lo Wei, starring Bruce Lee in his second major role ...more

48
2 5
The Brood is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
The Brood Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle The Brood is a 1979 Canadian science fiction horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, and Art Hindle. The film depicts a series of murders ...more

49
2 5
Night Moves is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Night Moves Gene Hackman, James Woods, Melanie Griffith Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Night Moves is a 1975 mystery thriller film directed by Arthur Penn. It stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, and features early career appearances by Melanie Griffith and James ...more

50
1 5
Martin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Martin Tom Savini, John Amplas, Christine Forrest Martin is a 1978 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero. Romero claims that Martin is the favorite of all his films. The film is also notable as the first collaboration ...more