410 voters

The Greatest Directors of the 1970s

Updated September 21, 2021 2.8k votes 410 voters 30k views42 items

List RulesVote based on each director's body of film work between 1970 and 1979

List of the top directors of the '70s. The 1970s were filled with absurd styles and monumental changes in movies, as some of the world's greatest directors began experimenting like never before. Fellini, Bergman, and Truffaut, for instance, inspired Americans like John Cassavetes and Hal Ashby to make some of their most unique and cherished films of the decade.

The top directors of the 1970s made some defining works of art during the period. For instance, Roman Polanski struck gold with Chinatown while Stanley Kubrick did the same with A Clockwork Orange. The same can be said for Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola, whose 1970s filmographies seem unparalleled and as if they could do no wrong. Not only was this decade the time of the two Godfather movies, but the seventies is also when director Sidney Lumet came out with his two Al Pacino spectaculars: the unforgettable '70s hits of Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

  • 26
    Alex Gaginsky addedDec. at 70 (1923-1993)

    Credits (Film)Sportloto-82, Kidnapping, Caucasian Style, The Diamond Arm, Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future

    BirthplaceSvobodny, Russia

    The Twelve Chairs (1971)
    Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973)
    It Can't Be! (1975)
    Incognito from St. Petersburg (1977)
    Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (1977)
    Along the Streets a Commode Was Led (1978)

  • 27
    Dimos Dicoudis addedAge: 100

    Credits (Film)You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Alfie, Sink the Bismarck!

    BirthplaceHackney Central, London, United Kingdom

    The Adventurers (1970)
    Friends (1971)
    Paul and Michelle (1974)
    Operation Daybreak (1975)
    Seven Nights in Japan (1976)
    The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    Moonraker (1979)

  • 28
    Dimos Dicoudis addedDec. at 91 (1914-2005)

    Credits (Film)The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Haunting

    BirthplaceWinchester, White River Township, Indiana, United States of America

    The Baby Maker (1970)
    The Andromeda Strain (1971)
    Two People (1973)
    The Hindenburg (1975)
    Audrey Rose (1977)
    Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

    #105 of 732 The Greatest Directors In Movie History#22 of 57 The Best Horror Directors in Film History#6 of 18 18 Directors With Radically Different Movies In Their Filmography

  • 29
    Alex Gaginsky addedAge: 87

    Credits (Film)White Sun of the Desert, An Ordinary Miracle, The Captivating Star of Happiness, Formula of Love, The Sannikov Land

    BirthplaceRussia, Moscow

    Train Stop — Two Minutes (1972)
    Wake Up and Sing (1974)
    The Twelve Chairs (1976)
    An Ordinary Miracle (1978)
    The Very Same Munchhausen (1979)

  • 30
    Dec. at 59 (1929-1988)

    Credits (Film)Harold and Maude, Being There, Coming Home, Shampoo, The Last Detail

    BirthplaceOgden, Utah, United States of America

    The Landlord (1970)
    Harold and Maude (1971)
    The Last Detail (1973)
    Shampoo (1975)
    Bound for Glory (1976)
    Coming Home (1978)
    Being There (1979)

    #77 of 120 The Best Comedy Directors in Film History#99 of 139 The Greatest Auteurs in Film History#42 of 55 The Best Romantic Comedy Directors in Film History

  • 31
    Alex Gaginsky addedAge: 87

    Credits (Film)Air Crew, My Friend, Kolka!, Lost in Siberia, How Czar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor

    BirthplaceMoscow, Russia

    Dot, Dot, Comma... (1972)
    Moscow, My Love (1974)
    How Czar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor (1976)
    Air Crew (1979)

  • 32
    Alex Gaginsky addedAge: 93

    Credits (Film)Office Romance, The Irony of Fate, Station for Two, Watch Out for the Automobile, Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia

    BirthplaceSamara, Russia

    Grandads-Robbers (1971)
    Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia (1974)
    The Irony of Fate (1975)
    Office Romance (1977)
    The Garage (1979)

  • 33
    Alex Gaginsky addedAge: 90

    Credits (Film)Kin-Dza-Dza, Afonya, Walking the Streets of Moscow, Mimino, Thirty Three

    BirthplaceTbilisi, Georgia

    Hopelessly Lost (1972)
    Afonya (1975)
    Mimino (1977)
    Autumn Marathon (1979)

  • 34
    Dec. at 59 (1929-1989)

    Credits (Film)Rosemary's Baby, The Dirty Dozen, A Woman Under the Influence, The Fury, Shadows

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Husbands (1970)
    Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
    A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
    Opening Night (1977)

    #359 of 1,017 The Best Actors In Film History#158 of 219 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Oscar (For Acting)#134 of 149 The Greatest Hollywood Screenwriters Of All-Time, Ranked

  • 35
    Mollevangsvagen addedDec. at 90 (1920-2010)

    Credits (Film)Claire's Knee, My Night at Maud's, I Think I Love My Wife, La Collectionneuse, A Tale of Autumn

    BirthplaceEurope, Metropolitan France, France, Tulle, Limousin

    Love in the Afternoon (1972)
    The Marquise of O... (1976)
    Perceval le Gallois (1978)

    #31 of 32 The Best Directors of the '90s#24 of 64 The Greatest Directors of the 1980s#8 of 64 The Most Iconoclastic Directors in Film History

  • 36
    Mollevangsvagen addedDec. at 98 (1901-1999)

    Credits (Film)A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably, Mouchette, Pickpocket

    BirthplaceEurope, Metropolitan France, Bromont-Lamothe, Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne

    Quatre nuits d'un rêveur (Four Nights of a Dreamer, 1971)
    Lancelot du Lac (Lancelot of the Lake, 1974)
    Le diable probablement (The Devil Probably, 1977)

  • 37
    starwarssuperfan addedAge: 85

    Credits (Film)Rocky, The Karate Kid, Rocky V, The Karate Kid, Part II

    BirthplaceOak Park, Illinois, United States of America

  • 38
    Alex Gaginsky addedAge: 89

    Credits (Film)Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, The Twentieth Century Approaches, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Queen of Spades, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

    BirthplaceNizhny Novgorod, Russia

  • 39
    Alex Gaginsky addedDec. at 87 (1924-2011)

    BirthplaceMoscow, Russia

  • 40
    Dimos Dicoudis addedAge: 75

    Credits (Film)Rocky, Men in Black, First Blood, Rocky III, Rocky IV

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Paradise Alley (1978)
    Rocky II (1979)

    Fascinating Stories About Sylvester Stallone, Hollywood's Most Macho Star#105 of 250 The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked#103 of 264 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

  • 41
    Dimos Dicoudis addedAge: 84

    Credits (Film)The Muppet Movie, The Big Bus, Wild Wild Winter, Fraternity Vacation, On the 2nd Day of Christmas

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas, United States of America

    The Christian Licorice Store (1971)
    Kid Blue (1973)
    The Big Bus (1976)

  • 42
    Dimos Dicoudis addedAge: 88

    Credits (Film)Superman, Bonnie and Clyde, Kramer vs. Kramer, What's Up, Doc?

    BirthplaceWaxahachie, Texas

    Bad Company (1972)
    The Late Show (1977)
    Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

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List Rules: Vote based on each director's body of film work between 1970 and 1979