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The Best Movies of 1979 

Ranker Film
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Updated September 24, 2019 6.5k votes 395 voters 13.9k 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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Alien is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies of 1979
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

Released: 1979

Directed by: Ridley Scott

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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#1 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made 50 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Alienlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall

Released: 1979

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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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#780 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies The Behind The Scenes Madness Of 'Apocalypse Now' Was Even More Hellish Than You Thoughtlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan

Released: 1979

Directed by: Don Siegel

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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#40 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #7 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #12 of 92 The Most Rewatchable Action Movies

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Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Roberto Durán

Released: 1979

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

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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#430 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #229 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtracks #53 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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George Harrison, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Released: 1979

Directed by: Terry Jones

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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#927 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #221 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #56 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Released: 1979

Directed by: George Miller

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

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Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Rob Reiner

Released: 1979

Directed by: Carl 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 #126 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

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Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend, James Remar

Released: 1979

Directed by: Walter Hill

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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#204 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #52 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timelisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

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Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor

Released: 1979

Directed by: James Frawley

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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#448 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #150 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

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William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei

Released: 1979

Directed by: Robert Wise

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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#1,205 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #150 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #136 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

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Bill Murray, Kristine DeBell, Matt Craven

Released: 1979

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

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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#172 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #441 of 1,017 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #189 of 395 The Greatest Movie Themes

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Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Richard Kiel

Released: 1979

Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

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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#340 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #358 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #150 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers, Jack Warden

Released: 1979

Directed by: Hal Ashby

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 #231 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Stan Shaw

Released: 1979

Directed by: Lewis John Carlino

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
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Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, JoBeth Williams

Released: 1979

Directed by: Robert Benton

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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#278 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #473 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley, Daniel Stern

Released: 1979

Directed by: Peter Yates

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

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Al Pacino, Craig T. Nelson, Jeffrey Tambor

Released: 1979

Directed by: Norman Jewison

...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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#17 of 46 The Greatest Legal Dramas Ever Made #32 of 46 Famous Movie Monologues

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Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Pat Hingle

Released: 1979

Directed by: Martin Ritt

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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#2 of 15 VHS Covers That Sold A Totally Different Movie #24 of 28 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the 1970slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon

Released: 1979

Directed by: James Bridges

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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#85 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #37 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #14 of 17 The Best Movies Without Soundtracks

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Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Hoyt Axton

Released: 1979

Directed by: Carroll Ballard

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 #169 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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David Soul, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres

Released: 1979

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

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

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James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

Released: 1979

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

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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#13 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies #106 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

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Corey Feldman, Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen

Released: 1979

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer

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

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Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister

Released: 1979

Directed by: Don Coscarelli

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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Julie Andrews, Bo Derek, Dudley Moore

Released: 1979

Directed by: Blake Edwards

10 is a 1979 romantic comedy film directed, produced and written by Blake Edwards, and starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, Robert Webber, Dee Wallace, and Bo Derek, in her first major film ...more

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#315 of 1,017 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #509 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars