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The Best Movies of 1971 

Ranker Film
Updated September 24, 2019 6.5k votes 377 voters 8.9k views 120 items

List of the best movies of 1971, with movie trailers when available. Academy Award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis made his big screen debut in Sunday Bloody Sunday in 1971. These top movies of 1971 are listed by popularity, so the movies with the most votes are at the top. This list consists of all different movie genres, but each film was released in 1971. You can filter this list of films that came out in 1971 for various bits of information, such as who directed the movie and what genre it is. Think the best 1971 movie isn't as high as it should be? Vote up your favorite so it will rise to the top.

This list is made up of a variety of movies, including A Clockwork Orange and The French Connection.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best movies from 1971?" and "What are the most popular movies of 1971?"

1971 was a great year for movies, since a lot of classic films were released in 1971. This is a crowd sourced list that has been voted on by many people, so these top films of 1971 aren't just one persons opinion.
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1
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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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#339 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #74 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

2
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Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey

Released: 1971

Directed by: William Friedkin

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

3
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Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

Released: 1971

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent ...more

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#329 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #50 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books Kubrick And Codpieces: Behind The Scenes Of 'A Clockwork Orange'

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Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Tim Brooke-Taylor

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mel Stuart

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film, a film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and ...more

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#27 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #115 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made There's A Theory That 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' Is Actually About A Tormented Killer

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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

6
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Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman

Released: 1971

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich

The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. Set in a small town in ...more

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#722 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #32 of 46 Every Single Movie On Rotten Tomatoes With 100% Approval, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Sean Connery, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Released: 1971

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh spy film in the James Bond series by Eon Productions, and the sixth and final Eon film to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film is ...more

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#928 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #230 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #267 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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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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#507 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #95 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

9
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John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Harry Carey

Released: 1971

Directed by: George Sherman

Big Jake is a 1971 Western film directed by George Sherman, written by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink, produced by Michael Wayne, edited by Harry Gerstad, starring John Wayne, Richard Boone ...more

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#579 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #27 of 45 The Best Western Movies of the '70s

10
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Dick Butkus, James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Released: 1971

Directed by: Buzz Kulik

Brian's Song is a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week that recounts the details of the life of Brian Piccolo, a Wake Forest University football player stricken with terminal cancer after turning pro, ...more

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#320 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #58 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #45 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

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Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Eric Laneuville

Released: 1971

Directed by: Boris Sagal

The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Charlton Heston. It was written by John William Corrington and Joyce Corrington, based on the 1954 ...more

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#183 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #55 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #55 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

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Paul Michael Glaser, Chaim Topol, Molly Picon

Released: 1971

Directed by: Norman Jewison

Fiddler on the Roof is a 1971 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by Norman Jewison. It is an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name, with music composed ...more

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#12 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time Every Song in Fiddler on the Roof, Ranked by Singabilitylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Ruth Gordon, Tom Skerritt, Bud Cort

Released: 1971

Directed by: Hal Ashby

Harold and Maude is a 1971 American romantic dark comedy directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot ...more

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#535 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #378 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time The Most Memorable Quotes From 'Harold and Maude'

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James Garner, Suzanne Pleshette, Joan Blondell

Released: 1971

Directed by: Burt Kennedy

Support Your Local Gunfighter is a 1971 comic western film starring James Garner, directed by Burt Kennedy, and written by James Edward Grant. The film shares many cast and crew members and plot ...more

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#84 of 394 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #1,369 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #83 of 162 The Best Western Movies on Amazon Prime

15
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Dustin Hoffman, David Warner, Peter Vaughan

Released: 1971

Directed by: Sam Peckinpah

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

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#91 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #69 of 140 The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents

16
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Ricardo Montalbán, Roddy McDowall, Sal Mineo

Released: 1971

Directed by: Don Taylor

Escape from the Planet of the Apes is a 1971 science fiction film directed by Don Taylor and written by Paul Dehn. It stars Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman and Ricardo ...more

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#754 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #294 of 569 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

17
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Michael Caine, Britt Ekland, Ian Hendry

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mike Hodges

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

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#40 of 113 The Best Mafia Films #166 of 524 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made #12 of 51 The Best British Thriller Movies

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Tom Laughlin, Howard Hesseman, Johnny Otis

Released: 1971

Directed by: Tom Laughlin

Billy Jack is a 1971 action/drama independent film; the second of four films centering on a character of the same name which began with the movie The Born Losers, played by Tom Laughlin, who ...more

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#436 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #31 of 41 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1970s

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Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Shelley Duvall

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Altman

McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a 1971 American Western film starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, and directed by Robert Altman. The screenplay is based on Edmund Naughton's 1959 novel McCabe. ...more

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#1,524 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #3 of 45 The Best Western Movies of the '70s

20
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Charlotte Rampling, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger

Released: 1971

Directed by: Richard C. Sarafian

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

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#21 of 155 The Greatest Car Movies Ever Made #54 of 131 The Best Existentialism Movies #35 of 51 The Best '70s Action Movies

21
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Paula Kelly, David Wayne, Arthur Hill

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Wise

The Andromeda Strain is a 1971 American science fiction film produced and directed by Robert Wise. Based on Michael Crichton's 1969 novel of the same name and adapted by Nelson Gidding, the film ...more

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#139 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #11 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks

22
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Sylvester Stallone, Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland

Released: 1971

Directed by: Alan J. Pakula

Klute is a 1971 thriller film directed and produced by Alan J. Pakula, written by Andy and Dave Lewis, and starring Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi and Roy Scheider. It tells the ...more
23
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Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Lawrence Pressman

Released: 1971

Directed by: Gordon Parks

Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a private detective, ...more

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#385 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #242 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Angela Lansbury, Roddy McDowall, Bruce Forsyth

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

This film is a 1971 American musical film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company in North America on December 13, 1971. It is based upon the books ...more

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#133 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #113 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
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Vincent Price, Caroline Munro, Joanna Lumley

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Fuest

The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a 1971 British horror film starring Vincent Price and American actor Joseph Cotten. Its art deco sets, dark humour and performance by Price have made the film and ...more