As different as Millennials and Generation Z are, that does not mean that we cannot enjoy the cinema of the past. The 1970s were a unique period in terms of cinema. Low-budget movies were pumped out one by one and arthouse cinema hit a fever pitch as more movie theaters popped up across the country.
Not all of the movies on this list are low-budget indies, but they’re all 70s comedies. Whether it’s for their social commentary or their absurd humor, they’re all valuable to today’s generations. .
The three Musketeers (1973)
The film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ Darling comic novel doesn’t disappoint when it comes to providing laughs. The three Musketeers is a comedic masterpiece, but it also tells a good story. Both The three Musketeers and this is next, The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge explore themes of spiritual opportunism and religious exploitation, as the Musketeers fight to protect France from corrupt Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton-Heston).
The film is about friendship and camaraderie (all for one and one for all!), as well as becoming the person you want to be without taking yourself too seriously. From the beginning to the end, The three Musketeers satirizes itself in the most hilarious way possible.
Annie Hall (1977)
by Woody Allen The comic masterpiece was one of the very first so-called “rom-coms”, and it inspired many future films of the genre such as When Harry met Sally. The film revolves around Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), a cynical comedian as he reflects on his relationship with a woman named Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). The film is hopelessly goofy, embarrassingly honest, and unapologetically hilarious.
Allen captures the ups and downs of romantic relationships, as well as the tragic reality that few of them last. Although the film is a comedy, it contains a healthy dose of cynicism that is just perfect for a generation that grew up through multiple recessions, a climate crisis, and the new and improved Black Death.
female disorder (1974)
John Waters’ the bold and obscene style isn’t for everyone, but those who get it, get it. A veteran of arthouse cinema, it was one of Waters’ earliest works, and it adequately represents his dark sense of humor and cynical views on life. That said, the film is first and foremost a comedy. Waters uses extremely crude sexual humor in order to tell his story in the most shocking way possible, the absurdity of everything lending itself to his twisted vision.
Famous drag queen from the 70s, Divine stars as Dawn Davenport, a runaway teenager who finds herself on the darker side of the beauty industry in her quest to become the ultimate supermodel. The film is made to shock and horrify, but its true value lies in the open rejection of anything deemed “nice” and “appropriate”. Essentially, the film is a protest against the “healthy” values of previous generations, perfect for Millennials and/or Gen Z.
Come off (1979)
This coming-of-age masterpiece is a must-have for anyone who finds themselves falling behind in the game of life. The film revolves around four high school graduates as they take the next step in their life trajectory without the aid of any form of motivation or ambition. Themes of class and poverty are explored as teenagers attempt to coexist with wealthy upper-class students attending college in their college town.
The film has an all-star cast with Denis Christopher, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earl Haleyand Dennis Quaid all this before becoming famous in the industry. Of all the films on this list, “Breaking Away” is perhaps the most heartwarming, and its exploration of the plight of working-class youth is still hugely relevant in modern America.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
There are many Mel Brooks comedies that could have been on this list, but Young Frankenstein pokes fun at a classic literary masterpiece that is often attributed to high school, so the younger generation will definitely appreciate it. Gene Wilder plays the role of Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the famous mad scientist. The film follows his story and attempts to prove that Frankenstein’s legacy doesn’t have to be associated with madness.
As you would expect from a Mel Brooks film, Young Frankenstein is absolutely hilarious, a must-watch for anyone who appreciates classic comedy. Alongside the stars of Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garrand Peter Boyle like The Monster.
moon paper (1973)
Tatum O’Neal was the youngest actress of all time to win an Oscar for her time as Addie Loggins in moon paper. Alongside his father Ryan O’Neal, the duo play two Midwestern con artists who are heading for financial success during the Great Depression. The film is witty, cynical, unapologetically charming and above all hopeful.
Shot in black and white to capture the essence of the era, the film looks like a 1940s cop hug, but in this film, the criminals are the protagonists. Whether you’re one of those people who loves to cheer on the “bad guys,” Tatum O’Neal is so charming in her role that in the end, you’ll wish nothing but happiness for her and her on-screen partner in crime.
Harold and Maud (1971)
At Hal Ashby’s The dark comedy revolves around a death-obsessed teenager who feels disconnected from the world around him. Harold (Bud Cortlisten)) spends his free time restoring old hearses and attending the funerals of people he has never met. When he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), an elderly woman full of zest for life, he falls head over heels and is changed forever.
Harold and Maud is funny, cynical and relatable. Harold’s depressed, deadpan personality offset by Maude’s wisdom and free-spirited nature makes for a hilarious and offbeat film, and it’s one of the best of the era. For those who see themselves in the two main characters, the film is an excellent exploration of the question of balancing two conflicting parts of oneself and the decision to nurture.
Cheech and Chong are up in smoke (1978)
Before Harold and Kumar, there was Cheech (Cheech Marin) and Chong (Tommy Chong), pioneers (pun intended) of the stoner comedy genre. The film revolves around two stoners who end up in possession of a van which, unbeknownst to them, is made entirely of marijuana.
Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong make a hilarious duo, and their shenanigans have inspired some of our favorite modern stoner comedies such as Pineapple Express and Tenacious D: The choice of fate. If you’re a fan of buddy-comedies who enjoy the sweet leaf a lot, it’s only fair to revisit the kings of the genre.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Alright, so that’s a no-brainer. Most people of all generations have seen it and loved it, but if it’s one you didn’t catch, you’re going to want to rectify that or else be forever ashamed. by Terry Gilliam fantasy comedy is one that will live on for years.
The film follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they search for the magical Holy Grail, and what ensues is comedy gold. From coconuts used in place of horses to armless knights to killer rabbits, this wonderfully weird and totally random satire has something for everyone.
american graffiti (1973)
Before he does star warsGeorge Lucas directed and co-wrote this coming-of-age comedy-drama that revolves around a group of high school students on their graduation night in 1962. The film features some household names, such as Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howardand it inspired by Richard Linklater semi-modern masterpiece, Dazed and confused.
The film revolves around Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve Bolander (Ron Howard) as they struggle under the weight of heavy life decisions thrust upon them. The film delves into such things as academic and societal roles, romantic relationships, and the search for meaning in life. Beyond that, it’s a whiff of nostalgia. If you are a person who loves nostalgia of the 50s and 60s, then american graffiti is an excellent choice.
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