Entertainment

The Best Movies of 1979 

Ranker Film
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6.4k votes 385 voters 13.6k views 120 items

List of the best movies of 1979, with movie trailers when available. In 1979 films like Apocalypse Now had us quoting memorable lines like "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." These top movies of 1979 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 1979. You can filter this list of films that came out in 1979 for various bits of information, such as who directed the movie and what genre it is. Think the best 1979 movie isn't as high as it should be? Vote up your favorite so it will rise to the top.

The list you're viewing is made up of movies like Apocalypse Now and Alien.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best movies from 1979?" and "What are the most popular movies of 1979?"

1979 was a great year for movies, especially for Trekies as Star Trek: The Motion Picture made it's debut. This is a crowd sourced list that has been voted on by many people, so these top films of 1979 aren't just one persons opinion.
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1
Alien is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies of 1979
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set ...more

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#52 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timefeaturing Making ‘Alien’ Was Even More Horrific Than The Final Productlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall. ...more

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#227 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Marlon Brando In 'Apocalypse Now'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan
Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American prison film, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood. It is based on true events. It dramatizes possibly the only successful escape attempt ...more

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#7 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #40 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #99 of 238 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

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Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Roberto Durán
Rocky II is a 1979 American sports drama film directed by Sylvester Stallone, and the second film in the series. Rocky (Stallone) struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed (Carl ...more

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#498 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #212 of 324 Movies with the Best Soundtracks #52 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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George Harrison, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python, and directed by Jones. It tells the story of Brian ...more

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#257 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #43 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #324 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

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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

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#31 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #63 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guysfeaturing 20 Things You Didn't Know About the Mad Max Movies

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Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Rob Reiner
The Jerk is a 1979 American comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and written by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb, and Michael Elias. This was Martin's first starring role in a feature film. The film ...more

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#420 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #33 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #123 of 625 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

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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

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#52 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #205 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

9
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Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, JoBeth Williams
Kramer vs. Kramer is a 1979 American drama film adapted by Robert Benton from the novel by Avery Corman, and directed by Benton. The film tells the story of a married couple's divorce and its ...more

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#53 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture #278 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden
Being There is a 1979 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby. Adapted from the 1970 novella by Jerzy Kosinski, the screenplay was written by Kosinski and the uncredited Robert C. ...more

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#856 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #243 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor
The Muppet Movie is a 1979 American-British musical road comedy film and the first of a series of live-action feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets. Directed by James Frawley, the film's ...more

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#81 of 371 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #448 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

12
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William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a 1979 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the first film based on Star Trek, the first Star Trek film to star the original cast ...more

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#1,213 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #155 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #157 of 324 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

13
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Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley, Daniel Stern
Breaking Away is a 1979 American coming of age comedy-drama film that follows a group of four male teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, who have recently graduated from high school. It stars ...more

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#336 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #164 of 172 The Greatest Date Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
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Meryl Streep, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Manhattan is a 1979 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Woody Allen and produced by Charles H. Joffe. The screenplay was written by Allen and Marshall Brickman. Allen co-stars as a ...more

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#357 of 1,198 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #45 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #144 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

15
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Al Pacino, Craig T. Nelson, Jeffrey Tambor
...And Justice for All is a 1979 courtroom drama film, directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, and Lee Strasberg. Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Lahti, Craig ...more

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#392 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #17 of 46 The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made

16
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Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Richard Kiel
Moonraker is the eleventh spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The third and final film in the series to be directed by ...more

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#356 of 625 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #210 of 217 The Worst Sequels Of All Time

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Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Stan Shaw
The Great Santini is a 1979 film directed by Lewis John Carlino, written by Lewis John Carlino and Herman Raucher, and based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Pat Conroy. The film stars ...more
18
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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

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#87 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #22 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #15 of 17 The Best Movies Without Soundtracks

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Bill Murray, Kristine DeBell, Matt Craven
Meatballs is a 1979 Canadian comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman. It is noted for Bill Murray's first film appearance in a starring role and for launching Reitman into a distinguished career of ...more

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#419 of 1,007 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #170 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Pat Hingle
Norma Rae is a 1979 American drama film about a factory worker from a small town in North Carolina who becomes involved in the labor union activities at the textile factory where she works. The ...more

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#380 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #24 of 28 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1970slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger
The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, based on Jay Anson's bestselling 1977 novel of the same name. It is the first film in the ...more

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#107 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #13 of 113 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

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Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Hoyt Axton
The Black Stallion is a 1979 American film based on the 1941 classic children's novel The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. It tells the story of Alec Ramsay, who is shipwrecked on a deserted ...more

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#58 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #170 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister
Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, co-produced, and edited by Don Coscarelli. It introduces the Tall Man. He is opposed by a young boy, Mike, who tries to ...more

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#108 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #43 of 128 The Best Horror Movie Franchises

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Corey Feldman, Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen
Time After Time is a 1979 American science fiction film starring Malcolm McDowell, David Warner and Mary Steenburgen. It was the directing debut of screenwriter Nicholas Meyer, whose screenplay ...more

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#884 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #205 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #18 of 23 Great Drama Movies That Play with Time

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David Soul, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres
Salem's Lot is a 1979 American television adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Tobe Hooper and starring David Soul and James Mason, the plot revolves around a ...more

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#119 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #11 of 52 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books