390 voters

The Best Movies of 1972

Updated September 24, 2019 6.7k votes 390 voters 12.2k views118 items

List of the best movies of 1972, with movie trailers when available. 1972 saw the debut of many legendary actors, including Steve Martin and Samuel L. Jackson. These top movies of 1972 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 1972. You can filter this list of films that came out in 1972 for various bits of information, such as who directed the movie and what genre it is. Think the best 1972 movie isn't as high as it should be? Vote up your favorite so it will rise to the top.

This list contains movies like The Godfather and Deliverance.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best movies from 1972?" and "What are the most popular movies of 1972?"

1972 was a great year for movies, since a lot of classic films were released in 1972. This is a crowd sourced list that has been voted on by many people, so these top films of 1972 aren't just one persons opinion.
  • 1

    The Godfather

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando


    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo. The aging patriarch (Marlon Brando) of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of...  more

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  • 2

    The Cowboys

    John Wayne, Bruce Dern


    Directed byMark Rydell

    The Cowboys is a 1972 Western motion picture starring John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, Colleen Dewhurst and Bruce Dern. Robert Carradine made his film debut with fellow child actor...  more

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  • 3


    Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight


    Directed byJohn 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 feature...  more

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  • 4

    Jeremiah Johnson

    Robert Redford, Tanya Tucker


    Directed bySydney Pollack

    Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 western film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford as the title character and Will Geer as "Bear Claw" Chris Lapp. The film has been said to have been...  more

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  • 5

    The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

    Paul Newman, Ava Gardner


    Directed byJohn Huston

    The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is a 1972 American western film written by John Milius, directed by John Huston, and starring Paul Newman. It was loosely based on the real-life, self-appointed...  more

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  • 6

    Joe Kidd

    Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall


    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Joe Kidd is a 1972 American western film starring Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall, written by Elmore Leonard and directed by John Sturges. The film is about an ex-bounty hunter hired by a wealthy...  more


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  • 7

    The Night Stalker

    Carol Lynley, Darren McGavin


    Directed byJohn Llewellyn Moxey

    The Night Stalker is a made for television movie which aired on ABC on January 11, 1972. In it an investigative reporter, played by Darren McGavin, comes to suspect that a serial killer in the Las...  more
  • 8

    Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

    Ricardo Montalbán, Roddy McDowall


    Directed byJ. Lee Thompson

    Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is a 1972 science fiction film directed by J. Lee Thompson. It is the fourth of five films in the original Planet of the Apes series produced by Arthur P. Jacobs....  more

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  • 9

    The Poseidon Adventure

    Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens


    Directed byIrwin Allen, Ronald Neame

    The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. The film features an...  more

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  • 10

    The Magnificent Seven Ride

    Gary Busey, Stefanie Powers


    Directed byGeorge McCowan

    The Magnificent Seven Ride is a 1972 western film and is the third and last sequel of the 1960 western, The Magnificent Seven. It stars Lee Van Cleef as Chris Adams, succeeding Yul Brynner and George...  more

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  • 11

    Fist of Fury

    Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan


    Directed byLo Wei

    Fist of Fury, also known as The Chinese Connection and The Iron Hand in the United States, is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Lo Wei, starring Bruce Lee in his second major role after...  more

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  • 12

    Chato's Land

    Charles Bronson, Jack Palance


    Directed byMichael Winner

    Chato's Land is a 1972 western Technicolor film directed by Michael Winner, starring Charles Bronson and Jack Palance. It falls more closely into the revisionist Western genre, which was at its...  more
  • 13

    Napoleon and Samantha

    Jodie Foster, Michael Douglas


    Directed byBernard McEveety

    Napoleon and Samantha is a 1972 American adventure drama film directed by Bernard McEveety and written by Stewart Raffill. Filmed in and around John Day, Oregon, it stars Michael Douglas, Johnny...  more
  • 14

    The Mechanic

    Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent


    Directed byMichael Winner

    The Mechanic is a 1972 American action-thriller film directed by Michael Winner. It stars Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent. The film is noted for its opening. There is no dialogue for the...  more

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  • 15

    Snoopy, Come Home

    Bill Melendez, Christopher DeFaria


    Directed byBill Melendez

    Snoopy, Come Home! is a 1972 animated musical film, released by National General Pictures, produced by Cinema Center Films and Lee Mendelson Films, directed by Bill Meléndez, and based on the Peanuts...  more

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  • 16

    Return of the Dragon

    Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris


    Directed byBruce Lee

    Way of the Dragon is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film written, produced and directed by Bruce Lee, who also stars in the lead role. This was Bruce Lee's only completed directorial...  more
  • 17

    Treasure Island

    Orson Welles, Maria Rohm


    Directed byAndrea Bianchi, Antonio Margheriti, John Hough

    Treasure Island is a 1972 adventure film, based on the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The film stars Orson Welles as Long John Silver, Walter Slezak as Squire Trelawney, Rik...  more
  • 18

    Boxcar Bertha

    Martin Scorsese, David Carradine


    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Boxcar Bertha is a 1972 American film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a loose adaptation of Sister of the Road, an autobiographical account of Bertha Thompson written by Ben L. Reitman. It was...  more
  • 19

    Godzilla vs. Gigan

    Haruo Nakajima, Yuriko Hishimi


    Directed byJun Fukuda

    Godzilla vs. Gigan, released in Japan as Chikyū Kogeki Meirei: Gojira tai Gigan, is a 1972 Japanese Kaiju film produced by Toho. Directed by Jun Fukuda with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano, the...  more
  • 20

    Pocket Money

    Paul Newman, Lee Marvin


    Directed byStuart Rosenberg

    Pocket Money is a 1972 film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, from a screenplay written by Terrence Malick and based on the novel Jim Kane by Joseph P. Brown. The movie stars Paul Newman and Lee Marvin...  more
  • 21

    What's Up, Doc?

    Barbra Streisand, Randy Quaid


    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

    What's Up, Doc? is a 1972 screwball comedy film released by Warner Bros., directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and Madeline Kahn in her first feature film role....  more

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  • 22

    The Offence

    Sean Connery, Trevor Howard


    Directed bySidney Lumet

    The Offence is a 1972 British drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, based upon the 1968 stage play This Story of Yours by John Hopkins. It stars Sean Connery as police detective Johnson, who kills...  more

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  • 23

    The Getaway

    Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw


    Directed bySam Peckinpah

    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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  • 24

    Four Flies on Grey Velvet

    Bud Spencer, Jean-Pierre Marielle


    Directed byDario Argento

    Four Flies on Grey Velvet is a 1971 Italian giallo film written and directed by Dario Argento. The film is the third in director Argento's "Animal Trilogy", which started with The Bird with the...  more
  • 25

    Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    Klaus Kinski, Helena Rojo


    Directed byWerner Herzog

    Aguirre, the Wrath of God, known in the UK as Aguirre, Wrath of God, is a 1972 West German epic film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was...  more

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