Entertainment

The Best '70s Thriller Movies 

Ranker Film
1.2k votes 267 voters 7.3k 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
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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#47 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#2 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #218 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madefeaturing Stories About Jamie Lee Curtis From Behind The Scenes Of The Original ‘Halloween’ 

3
Dirty Harry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#343 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #74 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

4
Duel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#1,055 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #60 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
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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#532 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #121 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Booksfeaturing The Making Of 'Deliverance' Was Even More Horrifying Than The Film's Backwoods Locals

6
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#20 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #69 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Booksfeaturing The Scariest Quotes From 'Carrie' Will Have You Seeing Red

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
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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#24 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #27 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#31 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #63 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guysfeaturing 20 Things You Didn't Know About the Mad Max Movies

9
The French Connection is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#88 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Books #17 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

10
Marathon Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#176 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,109 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #406 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
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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#52 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #205 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

12
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#523 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #94 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Timefeaturing 12 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Taxi Driver' That Are As Wild As The Film Itself

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
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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#196 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #57 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

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
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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#84 of 192 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #61 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #29 of 59 The Best Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins

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
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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#129 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #256 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Books

16
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#87 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #22 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #15 of 17 The Best Movies Without Soundtracks

17
Soylent Green is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#1,004 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
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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#85 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #542 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

19
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#95 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #507 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #26 of 45 The Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

20
Assault on Precinct 13 ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#116 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #53 of 97 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time #51 of 89 Best Kidnapping Movies & Hostage Movies of All Time, Ranked

21
The Tenant is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#1,539 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #121 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #18 of 18 Obscure Horror Movies from the 1970s You Should Know About

22
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#111 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #58 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

23
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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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#232 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Books #474 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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

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#90 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #306 of 324 Movies with the Best Soundtrackslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

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