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The Best '70s Thriller Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated March 1, 2018 1.3k votes 274 voters 7.8k views 49 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.
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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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Surprising Facts, Small Details, And Trivia Most People Don't Know About 'Jaws' #3 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted 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

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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Stories About Jamie Lee Curtis From Behind The Scenes Of The Original ‘Halloween’  #17 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #4 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

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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#11 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #328 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #77 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

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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#63 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #235 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #615 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

5
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 5 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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The Scariest Quotes From 'Carrie' Will Have You Seeing Red #32 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #10 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

6
The French Connection is listed (or ranked) 6 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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#23 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #95 of 368 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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#108 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #27 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Marathon Man is listed (or ranked) 8 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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#140 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #67 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #322 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

9
Deliverance is listed (or ranked) 9 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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The Making Of 'Deliverance' Was Even More Horrifying Than The Film's Backwoods Locals #21 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #197 of 350 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

10
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 10 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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Things You Didn't Know About The 'Mad Max' Movies #30 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #366 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

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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#38 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #747 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

12
Three Days of the Condor... is listed (or ranked) 12 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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#148 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #53 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

13
Invasion of the Body Sna... is listed (or ranked) 13 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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#44 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #79 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #5 of 45 The Best Alien Horror Movies Ever Made

14
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 14 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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12 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Taxi Driver' That Are As Wild As The Film Itself #29 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #8 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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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#151 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #77 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #206 of 368 The Best Movies Based On Books

16
The Towering Inferno is listed (or ranked) 16 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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#71 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #1,391 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 17 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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#81 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #106 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #475 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

18
Assault on Precinct 13 ... is listed (or ranked) 18 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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#146 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #51 of 94 Best Kidnapping Movies & Hostage Movies of All Time, Ranked #246 of 396 The Greatest Movie Themes

19
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 19 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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#69 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #162 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #37 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

20
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 20 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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#62 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #128 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #36 of 58 The Best Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins

21
The Taking of Pelham One... is listed (or ranked) 21 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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#86 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #1,407 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #70 of 94 Best Kidnapping Movies & Hostage Movies of All Time, Ranked

22
Soylent Green is listed (or ranked) 22 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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#73 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #1,033 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #68 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

23
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 23 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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#115 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #47 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

24
The Getaway is listed (or ranked) 24 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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#119 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #56 of 114 The Best Mafia Films #318 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

25
The Tenant is listed (or ranked) 25 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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#420 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #1,618 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #132 of 591 The Best '70s Movies