1975 was a great year for entertainment. In the music sector, Pink Floyd released Wish You Were Here, Springsteen told us we were Born to Run, Queen released their Bohemian Rhapsody and in the greatest album ever made, Alice Cooper welcomed us to his nightmare in… Welcome to My Nightmare.
But 1975 was also a powerhouse year for film giving us many gems which remain influential and important for different reasons. I’d like to include Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and Pasolini’s Saló. However, I cannot recommend these films as I have not seen them. But I have seen (and will recommend) these five greats…
…in alphabetical order…
Dog Day Afternoon
12 Angry Men is one of the few films which I would consider perfect and one of the reasons for that is despite its perfectly rounded story, Sidney Lumet’s direction is impeccable. He’s not bringing a trademark style or watermark to the script, he’s simply just taking the script and saying to himself “How can we make this better with direction” and that’s how a director should work. Dog Day Afternoon may not be a perfect script but it is excellent and so is Lumet’s direction.
Dog Day Afternoon is based on the true story of two men who attempt to pull off an easy quick bank robbery which turns into a media circus, hostage crisis, deep internal battlefield and babysitting comedy?
Along with its heartfelt moments and suspenseful hostage negotiations, Dog Day Afternoon somehow manages to throw in moments of humour with the two robbers (Al Pacino and John Cazale) almost babysitting the hostages by ordering pizza and keeping them in line with such nice intentions.
The two lead performances are fantastic, the film keeps you entertained the whole way through and the direction is impeccable again. Well done Sidney Lumet. Well done.
I’d say Jaws is the most culturally significant film on this list outside of film society as it has successfully managed to keep myself and millions of others away from beach waters since the 1970s.
A shark begins to terrorise the waters of peaceful summer-haven Amity Island and when the mayor refuses to warn tourists of the shark (in fear that it will reduce revenue), Sheriff Brody along with marine biologist Matt Hooper and professional shark hunter Quint, decides to take on the beast to keep his family and many others safe.
This was the film which shot Spielberg to international stardom and for a good reason, his direction here is sharp and inventive, the story is simple yet still frightening, the effects are timeless and the film has showcased how fantastic an improvised line can be (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat…”).
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Arguably one of the funniest films ever made and certainly one of the funniest of the 70s, Holy Grail follows the Knights of the Round Table (the Python group) as they attempt to find the Holy Grail after God tells them to.
Even though the story may not flow so well and I can’t particularly recall it, I can recall the over-abundance of hilarious moments which constantly pop up and very rarely stop.
The ending may be a tad out of place and many would agree it was just because the group couldn’t think of an actual ending but every other moment is just so brilliant and wonderfully timed for comedic effect INCLUDING the opening credits. Yes. The opening credits.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set in a mental institution as the reckless Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is admitted without actually being mentally impaired (he pleaded insanity in court to avoid jail).
The feeling one gets from watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a rare one as it is nearly unexplainable but is also nearly universal, meaning you’re almost doomed to appreciate the film even if you can’t articulate why. That ‘why’ however is what makes the film regarded as one of the greatest ever made.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I didn’t love Rocky Horror as much as I loved the other four films on this list but it is worth mention as it has managed to define the meaning of “cult film”.
Rocky Horror is by far the most difficult to explain of the five films on this list so the image above this paragraph should be enough to either pull you in or shoot you away because the entire film is as odd as that picture.
It’s a musical, a horror, a comedy and a national treasure regardless of whether it is a good quality film or not. If any film has managed to have as large an impact on a widespread audience as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it deserves to be recognised.
So those are five fantastic films released in the year 1975. I plan on doing more of these for years with an abundance of great films just to point out how great those years were.
Did you love the films on this list? Are you a Rocky Horror fan? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Whatever your thought, leave your comment at the top and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for foreign versions of movie posters.