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The Best Movies of 1971 

Ranker Film
Updated September 24, 2019 7.4k votes 411 voters 9.7k 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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#11 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #328 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #77 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

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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#23 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #95 of 368 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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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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There's A Theory That 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' Is Actually About A Tormented Killer #18 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #20 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

4
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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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Kubrick And Codpieces: Behind The Scenes Of 'A Clockwork Orange' #19 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #595 of 853 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

5
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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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#33 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #208 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #913 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

6
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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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#198 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #1,208 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #148 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

7
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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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#351 of 729 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #44 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #20 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

8
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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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#721 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #60 of 107 The Best Third Films In A Movie Series #139 of 164 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

9
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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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#78 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #1,425 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #41 of 45 The Best Western Movies of the '70s

10
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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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#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

11
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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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#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

12
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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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#144 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #346 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #17 of 116 The Best Native American Movies

13
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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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14
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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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#60 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #932 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
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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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#58 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #297 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #792 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

16
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Robert Duvall, Burt Lancaster, Lee J. Cobb

Released: 1971

Directed by: Michael Winner

Lawman is a 1971 American Western film starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb, and Robert Duvall. The film is about the quest of a lone peace officer, Marshal Jared Maddox, to bring ...more

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#114 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #7 of 45 The Best Western Movies of the '70s #48 of 157 The Best Western Movies on Amazon Prime

17
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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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Every Song in Fiddler on the Roof, Ranked by Singability #98 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
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Kurt Russell, John Ritter, Harry Morgan

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Butler

The Barefoot Executive is a live-action Walt Disney Productions film released by Buena Vista Distribution in 1971 starring Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Wally Cox, Heather North and John Ritter, ...more

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#37 of 68 The 25+ Best Kurt Russell Movies of All Time, Ranked #35 of 69 Each Disney Movie From The Year You Were Born

19
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Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Pamelyn Ferdin

Released: 1971

Directed by: Don Siegel

The Beguiled is a 1971 American drama film directed by Don Siegel, starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. The script was written by Albert Maltz and is based on the 1966 Southern Gothic ...more

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#155 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #303 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Civil War Movies List

20
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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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#121 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #43 of 114 The Best Mafia Films #136 of 280 The Best Whodunit Movies

21
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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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#100 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #79 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #97 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made

22
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Dimos Dicoudis added Maria Rohm, Patrick Mower, Walter Slezake

Released: 1971

Directed by: James Hill

Black Beauty is a 1971 British drama film, based on the Anna Sewell novel of the same name. This movie is the fourth feature film adaptation of Anna Sewell's story. The movie was directed by ...more
23
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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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#10 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks #97 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #38 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

24
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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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#279 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #25 of 155 The Greatest Car Movies Ever Made #5 of 78 The Best Car Chase Movies Ever, Ranked by Fans

25
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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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#172 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #1,500 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #149 of 591 The Best '70s Movies