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The Greatest Directors of the 1970s  

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List Rules Vote 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.

list ordered by
1
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 80
The Godfather (1972)
The Conversation (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Apocalypse Now (1979)

More Francis Ford Coppola

#583 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #3 of 227 The Greatest Living Directors, Rankedfeaturing Actors in the Most Francis Ford Coppola Movies

2
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
clash1977 added age 77

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
New York, New York (1977)

More Martin Scorsese

#1,161 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #2 of 227 The Greatest Living Directors, Rankedfeaturing The Best Martin Scorsese Movies

3
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
4
Sidney Lumet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 87 (1924-2011)
The Anderson Tapes (1971)
Child's Play (1972)
The Offence (1972)
Serpico (1973)
Lovin' Molly (1974)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Network (1976)
Equus (1977)
The Wiz (1978)

More Sidney Lumet

#903 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time #33 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie Historylisted on List of Jewish Film Directors

5
Ingmar Bergman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 89 (1918-2007)
The Touch (1971)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
The Magic Flute (1975)
Face to Face (1976)
The Serpent's Egg (1977)
Autumn Sonota (1978)

More Ingmar Bergman

#540 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #503 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Timefeaturing The Best Movies Directed by Ingmar Bergman

6
Werner Herzog is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 77
Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)
Fata Morgana (1971)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)
Heart of Glass (1976)
Nosferatu the Vampire (1979)
Woyzeck (1979)

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#1,520 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #24 of 227 The Greatest Living Directors, Rankedfeaturing 14 Insane Stories From The Strange Life of Werner Herzog

7
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 81 (1925-2006)
MASH (1970)
Brewster McCloud (1970)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller 1971)
Images (1972)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Thieves Like Us (1974)
California Split (1974)
Nashville (1975)
3 Women (1977)
A Wedding (1978)
Quintet (1979)
A Perfect Couple (1979)

More Robert Altman

#50 of 118 The Best Comedy Directors in Film History #51 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie Historyfeaturing Actors in the Most Robert Altman Movies

8
Sergio Leone is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Dec. at 60 (1929-1989)

Duck, You Sucker (AKA A Fistful of Dynamite, 1971)
My Name Is Nobody (1973)
A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975)

More Sergio Leone

#416 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #15 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History #12 of 139 The Greatest Auteurs in Film History

9
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 82

The Duellists (1977)
Alien (1979)

10
Federico Fellini is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 73 (1920-1993)
The Clowns (1970)
Roma (1972)
Amarcord (1973)
Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976)
Orchestra Rehearsal (1978)
11
William Friedkin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 84
The French Connection (1971)
The Exorcist (1973)
Sorcerer (1977)
The Brink's Job (1978)

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#41 of 227 The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked #66 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie Historylisted on Republicans in Hollywood: Republican Celebrities List

12
Roman Polanski is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 86

Macbeth (1971)
What? (1972)
Chinatown (1974)
Tess (1979)
The Tenant (1976)

More Roman Polanski

#25 of 227 The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked #304 of 313 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100 #22 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History

13
Hal Ashby is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 59 (1929-1988)
The Landlord (1970)
Harold and Maude (1971)
The Last Detail (1973)
Shampoo (1975)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Coming Home (1978)
Being There (1979)

More Hal Ashby

#74 of 118 The Best Comedy Directors in Film History #179 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History #90 of 139 The Greatest Auteurs in Film History

14
Andrei Tarkovsky is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Dec. at 54 (1932-1986)

Solaris (1972)
The Mirror (1975)
Stalker (1979)

15
Miloš Forman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
16
Peter Bogdanovich is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
age 80
The Last Picture Show (1971)
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Paper Moon (1973)
Daisy Miller (1974)
At Long Last Love (1975)
Nickelodeon (1976)
Saint Jack (1979)

More Peter Bogdanovich

#59 of 118 The Best Comedy Directors in Film History #127 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie Historylisted on List of Jewish Film Directors

17
John Cassavetes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 60 (1929-1989)
Husbands (1970)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
Opening Night (1977)

More John Cassavetes

#327 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #818 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment Historylisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

18
Robert Wise is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Dec. at 91 (1914-2005)

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

More Robert Wise

#98 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History #15 of 54 The Best Horror Directors in Film Historylisted on List of Jewish Film Directors

19
François Truffaut... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dec. at 52 (1932-1984)
The Wild Child (1970)
Bed and Board (1970)
Two English Girls (1971)
A Gorgeous Kid Like Me (1972)
Day for Night (1973)
Small Change (1976)
The Man Who Loved Women (1977)
The Green Room (1978)

More François Truffaut

#1,091 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time #58 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History #22 of 139 The Greatest Auteurs in Film History

20
George Lucas is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
21
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Dec. at 98 (1901-1999)

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)

22
Bob Fosse is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
23
Blake Edwards is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added Dec. at 88 (1922-2010)

Darling Lili (1970)
Wild Rovers (1971)
The Carey Treatment (1972)
The Tamarind Seed (1974)
The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) 
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
0 (1979)

More Blake Edwards

#19 of 118 The Best Comedy Directors in Film History #172 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History #429 of 464 Celebrities You Didn't Know Use Stage Names

24
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Mollevangsvagen added Dec. at 90 (1920-2010)

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

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#236 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History #57 of 139 The Greatest Auteurs in Film History #26 of 46 The Greatest Directors of the 1980s

25
Carl Reiner is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1970s
Dimos Dicoudis added age 97

Where's Poppa? (1970)
Oh, God! (1977)
The One and Only (1978)
The Jerk (1979)

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#186 of 362 The Funniest People of All Time #108 of 227 The Greatest Living Directors, Rankedlisted on List of Jewish Film Directors