Entertainment The Best '70s Thriller Movies  

Ranker Film
1k votes 250 voters 6.4k 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
44 11
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
2
34 12
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
3
30 14
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
4
25 10
Deliverance is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
25 11
Duel is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
21 8
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
7
22 10
Marathon Man is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
19 10
All the President's Men is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
22 13
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
10
18 10
The Warriors is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
19 11
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
25 18
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
13
16 10
The Day of the Jackal is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
18 12
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
15 10
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
13 8
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
15 11
Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
13 9
Soylent Green is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
16 13
Straw Dogs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
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
20
15 12
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
11 8
The China Syndrome is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
9 6
The Tenant is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
13 11
Assault on Precinct 13 is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
12 10
The Taking of Pelham One Two T... is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
10 8
Get Carter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '70s Thriller Movies
Michael Caine, Britt Ekland, Ian Hendry
Get Carter is a 1971 British 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