Can You ID These ’70s Movies?

ENTERTAINMENT

William J. Wright

7 Min Quiz

Image: Robert Stigwood Organization

About This Quiz

One could argue that the 1970s was the most significant decade in the history of cinema. As film became a subject for serious study thanks to the efforts of French New Wave critics and filmmakers in the '60s, film studies courses entered the curriculum of colleges and universities across the United States. With UCLA and USC in Los Angeles and NYU in New York honing the skills of gifted young artists like Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, a new generation weaned on both old Hollywood style and avant-garde sensibilities and was ready to change the way the world saw the movies. 

For the first half of the decade, a gritty realism took hold in American cinema, reflecting the pessimism of the times. With Watergate and Vietnam grinding into another decade, jaded audiences made crime dramas like "Mean Streets" and "The Godfather" bonafide hits. Then, in 1975, Steven Spielberg gave moviegoers a glimpse of the shape of things to come with "Jaws," an old fashioned horror adventure filmed with Hitchcockian skill and a big studio budget. The age of the summer blockbuster had arrived. By the summer of 1977, movie fans were ready to have fun again, and George Lucas was ready for them. For better or worse, "Star Wars" changed how movies are filmed, released and promoted forever. 

The films of the '70s continue to resonate in the 21st century. We've gathered 40 of the best for this quiz.  So, to steal a line from "Dirty Harry," are you feeling lucky? We challenge you to ID these '70s movies!

Audiences were hopelessly devoted to this musical comedy in the summer of 1978. Can you name it?

John Travolta as greaser Danny Zuko has to shape up to win the affections of his wholesome summer fling Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John when she unexpectedly transfers to Rydell High. With great performances and a hit soundtrack, "Grease" remains one of the most profitable musicals in history.

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Can you name the mob movie that made audiences an offer they couldn't refuse in 1972?

Marlon Brando and Al Pacino star as the leaders of a fictional New York crime family in Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 film adaptation of Mario Puzo's 1969 novel. Chronicling 10 years in the history of the Corleone family, the film was the first in the popular crime franchise.

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The Bee Gees cemented their reputation as the kings of disco with the soundtrack to this 1977 film. Can you name this movie?

"Saturday Night Fever" launched John Travolta to superstardom and earned the Bee Gees a string of hits with its best-selling soundtrack. Travolta stars as Tony Manero, a working-class kid who spends his nights as disco king. "Saturday Night Fever" was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

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Can you name this 1973 horror film that pitted a young priest against a demon in a battle for a young girl's soul?

Based on William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel, "The Exorcist" is the story of a young girl who becomes possessed after communicating with a demon through an Ouija board. Featuring spectacularly nauseating effects by Dick Smith, "The Exorcist" is one of the most frightening horror movies ever made.

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Can you name this '70s action comedy in which Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed have a long way to go and short time to get there?

Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed have 28 hours to get from Atlanta to Texarkana and back with 400 cases of Coors beer in this blockbuster 1978 action-comedy. Picking up reluctant bride-to-be Sally Field along the way, Reynolds and Reed face the wrath of lawman Buford T. Justice played by Jackie Gleason.

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John Belushi is no fan of folk music in this 1978 college comedy from John Landis. Can you name it?

The misfit frat brothers of Delta Tau Chi are at constant odds with the Dean Wormer of Faber College in "National Lampoon's Animal House." Staring Saturday Night Live's John Belushi as John "Bluto" Blutarsky, this wild college comedy chronicles Delta House's hilarious fight to stay on campus.

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Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in this 1976 Academy Award-winning drama. Can you name it?

Sylvester Stallone became a pop culture icon with his 1976 boxing drama, "Rocky." Starring as small-time fighter Rocky Balboa who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship, Stallone went the distance for five direct sequels and the spin-off franchise "Creed."

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Can you name the 1978 film that made audiences believe a man could fly?

The late Christopher Reeve turned in the definitive cinematic portrayal of DC Comics' Man of Steel with 1978's "Superman, The Movie." Directed by Richard Donner, the film retells and updates Superman's origin story and pits the caped hero against his nemesis Lex Luthor played by Gene Hackman.

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Richard Dreyfuss knows the truth is out there in this 1977 sci-fi hit. Can you name this film?

Steven Spielberg followed up his 1975 blockbuster "Jaws" with the epic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." "Jaws" alum Richard Dreyfuss stars as electrical lineman Roy Neary who becomes obsessed with the Devil's Tower butte after an encounter with a UFO.

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Gene Wilder is a brilliant scientist trying to live down his grandfather's notorious reputation in this comedic homage to classic horror films. Can you identify this movie?

Mel Brooks struck gold again in 1974 with "Young Frankenstein," giving horror the same irreverent treatment he gave the Western with "Blazing Saddles." Starring Gene Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein and Peter Boyle as the monster, the film is a hilarious homage to Universal's classic horror films.

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Can you name the science-fiction epic that brought a beloved '60s TV series to the silver screen in 1979?

Robert Wise directed this big-screen transplant of "Star Trek" from a story by author Alan Dean Foster. Featuring amazing special effects and brilliant, new musical score from composer Jerry Goldsmith, the film was largely considered a disappointment because of its ponderous pacing.

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Jack Nicholson upends the order of a mental institution in this 1975 dramatic comedy. Can you name this movie?

Jack Nicholson turns in an Academy Award-winning performance as Randle McMurphy, a crook and conman who fakes insanity to avoid a prison sentence in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Based on Ken Kesey's 1962 novel, the film swept the Oscars in 1975.

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Richard Roundtree takes on the mob in this blaxploitation hit from 1971. Can you name this film?

Richard Roundtree plays private detective John Shaft in this 1971 blaxploitation favorite. Introducing a new kind of movie action hero, "Shaft" helped establish blaxploitation as a force to be reckoned with and changed the direction of how African Americans were portrayed in the film.

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Before "Star Wars," George Lucas wrote and directed this nostalgic look back at the early '60s. Can you name this film?

Set over the course of a single night in 1962, George Lucas' semi-autobiographical "American Graffiti" is a nostalgic look back at teen cruising culture and rock 'n' roll. Featuring an ensemble cast headed up by a pre-"Happy Days" Ron Howard, the film met with near-universal critical acclaim.

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Cleavon Little is the new sheriff in town in this raunchy western satire from Mel Brooks. Can you name this classic comedy from 1974?

Mel Brooks skewers old Hollywood with his send-up of the Western genre, "Blazing Saddles." Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder take on Harvey Korman to save the town of Rock Ridge in this razor-witted satire. Co-written by Richard Pryor, "Blazing Saddles" is one of the greatest comedies of all time.

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Can you name the 1971 family musical in which Gene Wilder invites a group of kids into his world of pure imagination?

Based on Roald Dahl's children's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Gene Wilder turns in a charmingly deranged performance as master candy maker Willy Wonka. When five kids win a chance to tour Wonka's famous factory, all but the kind-hearted Charlie Bucket fall prey to their own greed.

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Can you name the 1970 wartime comedy film that spawned a successful, long-running TV show?

Robert Altman's 1970 comedy "M*A*S*H," based on Richard Hooker's novel "MASH: The Story of Three Army Doctors," stars Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould and Tom Skerritt as surgeons at a mobile army hospital during the Korean War. The hit film was the basis of the '70s sitcom "M*A*S*H."

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Can you name the 1971 action movie that was the first R-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture?

William Friedkin, who would have another blockbuster with 1973's "The Exorcist," directed this intense action-thriller based on a true story. The film stars Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as hard-boiled undercover cops Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo out to bust a wealthy drug smuggler.

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Can you name the martial arts epic that was Bruce Lee's final completed film appearance before his death?

Considered one of the greatest martial arts films of all time, "Enter the Dragon" was produced by and kung fu master Bruce Lee, who also stars in it. Released after Lee's death, "Enter the Dragon" would be the martial artist's last completed film project. Tragically, Lee died while filming 1973's "Game of Death."

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This dystopian nightmare from Stanley Kubrick will change how you hear "Singing in the Rain" forever. Can you name this stylish and violent film?

Based on Anthony Burgess' 1962 dystopian novel of the same name, "A Clockwork Orange" stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge, the leader of a violent youth gang. Hooked on ultraviolence, drugged milk and Beethoven, Alex faces a torturous rehabilitation after he's arrested for murder.

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Love means never having to say you're sorry in this tragic 1970 romantic drama. Can you name this tearjerker?

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal star as doomed lovers in this 1970 drama. Oliver Barrett, played by O'Neal, is a Harvard student from a wealthy family who falls for McGraw's Jenny Cavilleri, a working-class student musician. The couple struggle against the odds until Jenny is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

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This campy homage to sci-fi and horror movies made audiences part of the show. Can you name this midnight movie sensation?

A flop on its release in 1975, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" became the ultimate cult film when it was released as a midnight movie. Incorporating costumes and audience participation, "Rocky Horror" fans transformed the film version of Richard O'Brien's stage musical into a worldwide phenomenon.

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Can you name the 1978 action comedy in which Clint Eastwood could always rely on his simian best friend?

Clint Eastwood stars as truck driver and underground bare-knuckle boxing champ Philo Beddoe in this 1978 action-comedy. With the help of his friends Clyde, an orangutan and Orville (Geoffrey Lewis), Philo tries to balance his violent side job and a romance with a country singer (Sondra Locke).

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This movie frightened a generation out of the water. Can you name it?

Steven Spielberg's blockbuster about a great white shark terrorizing a New England beach town made swimmers in the 1970s have second thoughts about taking a dip. With its iconic score by John Williams, Spielberg amped up the suspense by keeping the shark offscreen for most of the movie.

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Can you ID this 1973 sci-fi comedy about a health food store owner who's frozen and revived in the 22nd century?

Director Woody Allen was at the top of his game with this 1973 science-fiction comedy. Starring Allen as a 20th-century health food store owner who's cryogenically frozen and revived in a totalitarian 22nd century, "Sleeper" blends sly social commentary with fall-down-laughing slapstick comedy.

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Can you name this space fantasy from a galaxy far, far away?

George Lucas created a worldwide phenomenon with "Star Wars" that resonates to this day. Bringing high adventure and pure escapism back to the movies, "Star Wars" and its many sequels and prequels continues to be an entertainment and marketing juggernaut decades after its release.

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Can you ID the 1975 film that stars Warren Beatty as a philandering hairdresser?

Set against the backdrop of the 1968 presidential election, Hal Ashby's "Shampoo" stars Warren Beatty as a handsome but womanizing Beverly Hills hairdresser. An exercise in dramatic irony, "Shampoo" is a pointed satire of late 1960s sexual politics.

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Money makes the world go around in this 1972 musical drama. Can you name this film?

Set in pre-war Berlin, "Cabaret" is directed by Bob Fosse and stars Liza Minnelli as American expatriate Sally Bowles, a performer at the decadent Kit Kat Club who falls for a reserved Englishman named Brian Roberts (Michael York). The film earned Minnelli an Academy Award for Best Actress.

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No babysitter was safe on the night he came home. Can you name this horror masterpiece from 1978?

When a homicidal maniac escapes an asylum just before Halloween, the teens of Haddonfield have more to worry about than trick-or-treaters. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis shot to stardom with this suspenseful 1978 horror film from John Carpenter. Often imitated, "Halloween" is an unrivaled genre classic.

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Dustin Hoffman is the oldest man in the world and a living witness to the Old West in this 1970 film. Can you name this Western?

Director Arthur Penn's 1970 revisionist Western "Little Big Man" stars Dustin Hoffman as the 121-year-old Jack Crabb, the oldest man in the world. When a historian visits Jack in a nursing home, he weaves a tale of his life in the Old West, including being witness to the Battle of Little Bighorn.

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Edward Woodward is a policeman on the trail of a missing child in this 1973 horror film. Can you name this classic of British folk horror?

Robin Hardy's 1973 folk horror classic "The Wicker Man" has been called the "Citizen Kane" of the horror film. Featuring Edward Woodward as a pious policeman who stumbles onto the dark secret of the island of Summerisle while searching for a missing child, this film has a devastating ending.

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Can you name the 1979 war epic based on Joseph Conrad's novel "The Heart of Darkness"?

Based on Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness," Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic, "Apocalypse Now" stars Martin Sheen as a soldier on a mission to kill an insane, renegade colonel (Marlon Brando). The film's grueling production is recounted in "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse."

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Can you name the 1974 cult horror hit based on the same true crime story as Hitchcock's "Psycho"?

Both Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" and Tobe Hooper's "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" are loosely based on the real-life murderer and graverobber Ed Gein. While Hitchcock's Norman Bates mirrors Gein's mother obsession, Hooper's Leatherface shares Gein's penchant for wearing human skin.

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Robert De Niro poses the ominous question "Are you lookin' at me" in this bloody 1976 drama. Can you name this film?

"Taxi Driver," directed by Martin Scorsese from Paul Schrader's script, tracks a Vietnam veteran's slow descent into madness on the streets of New York City. Featuring a breakout performance from a 13-year-old Jodie Foster, "Taxi Driver" is a gritty, violent and utterly brilliant film.

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The bloodthirsty prince of darkness descends on modern-day London in this horror film from Hammer Studios. Can you name it?

In Christopher Lee's penultimate performance as Dracula for Britain's Hammer Studios, the legendary vampire finds himself resurrected by a modern-day disciple. Fellow Hammer horror veteran Peter Cushing also returns as a descendant of the Count's arch-nemesis, Van Helsing.

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Can you name the film in which a disfigured organist takes his revenge on the doctors who failed to save his dying wife?

Vincent Price stars as the vengeful Dr. Anton Phibes in this 1971 horror film. When Phibes' wife dies on the operating table, he exacts gruesome revenge on the doctors responsible for her death. Price's disfigured organist would return to wreak more havoc in 1972's "Dr. Phibes Rises Again."

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The legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are on a quest for a shrubbery in this comedy classic. Can you name it?

The Monty Python troupe bring their patented lunacy to the Middle Ages in this farce based on the Arthurian legends. Arthur and his gallant knights face French taunts, an unstoppable Black Knight, and the challenge of the Knights Who Say "Ni!" on their quest to find the Holy Grail.

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This 1973 quasi-documentary from director Orson Welles focuses on art forger Elmyr de Hory. Can you name this film?

Orson Welles wrote, directed and appeared in this unique docudrama from 1973. Profiling notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory, Welles also examines de Hory's biographer Clifford Irving who was later indicted for fraud for his hoax biography of Howard Hughes.

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Paul Williams is an evil record producer in this rock 'n' roll fantasy horror film from Brian De Palma. Can you name this cult favorite?

Blending plot elements from "The Phantom of the Opera," "Faust" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "The Phantom of the Paradise," is the musical story of a disfigured songwriter's struggle with an evil record producer. Singer-songwriter Paul Williams steals the show as the diabolical Swan.

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Can you name the 1978 flick that featured new wave band Berlin's Terri Nunn as a teen disco queen on a quest for KISS tickets?

"Thank God It's Friday" is probably best remembered for its show-stopping performance by disco queen Donna Summer; however, the cast also included an actress who would score as a new wave diva in the '80s. Terri Nunn of Berlin co-stars as a teen on a quest for KISS tickets in this dancefloor film.

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