Entertainment

The Best '70s Thriller Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated March 1, 2018 1.2k votes 267 voters 7.4k views 50 items

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
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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2
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

Released: 1978

Directed by: John Carpenter

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

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3
Dirty Harry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Andrew Robinson

Released: 1971

Directed by: Don Siegel

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

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4
Duel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Lou Frizzell

Released: 1971

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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#1,055 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #59 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

5
Deliverance is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty

Released: 1972

Directed by: John Boorman

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

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6
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie

Released: 1976

Directed by: Brian De Palma

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

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7
All the President's Men ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford

Released: 1976

Directed by: Alan J. Pakula

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

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8
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Released: 1979

Directed by: George Miller

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

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9
The French Connection is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey

Released: 1971

Directed by: William Friedkin

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

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10
Marathon Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider

Released: 1976

Directed by: John Schlesinger

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

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#178 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,088 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #396 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

11
The Warriors is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend, James Remar

Released: 1979

Directed by: Walter Hill

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

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12
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

Released: 1976

Directed by: 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

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13
Three Days of the Condor... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

Released: 1975

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

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

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14
Invasion of the Body Sna... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Robert Duvall, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy

Released: 1978

Directed by: Philip Kaufman

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

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15
The Day of the Jackal is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Derek Jacobi, Edward Fox, Donald Sinden

Released: 1973

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

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

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16
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon

Released: 1979

Directed by: James Bridges

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

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17
Soylent Green is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Dick Van Patten

Released: 1973

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

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

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#1,003 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #183 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

18
The Taking of Pelham One... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Jerry Stiller, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw

Released: 1974

Directed by: Joseph Sargent

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

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19
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter

Released: 1971

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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

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20
Assault on Precinct 13 ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers, Tony Burton

Released: 1976

Directed by: John Carpenter

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

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21
The Tenant is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Roman Polanski, Shelley Winters, Isabelle Adjani

Released: 1976

Directed by: Roman Polanski

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

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22
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward

Released: 1973

Directed by: Robin Hardy

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

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23
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
O. J. Simpson, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway

Released: 1974

Directed by: Irwin Allen, John Guillermin

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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24
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman

Released: 1974

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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

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25
The Getaway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Sally Struthers

Released: 1972

Directed by: Sam Peckinpah

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Getaway is a 1972 American action 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 screenplay ...more

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