The 1970s are thought of as a real golden age for movies, particularly the prestige dramas honored at the Oscars. The ’70s include some of the most beloved movies of all time winning Best Picture, largely matching the critical and public consensus. But which Best Picture Oscar winner of the 1970s do you consider your favorite? Look back on each winner and be sure to vote in our poll below.
“Patton” (1970) — The ’70s began with the awarding of “Patton,” a biopic about the hot-tempered World War II General George S. Patton. Nominated for 10 Oscars, it won seven, including Picture, Director for Franklin J. Schaffner, Actor for George C. Scott, Original Screenplay, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Sound. Scott famously declined his Oscar, rejecting the Academy Awards as “a two-hour meat parade.”
“The French Connection” (1971) — A run of dark and gritty Best Picture winners began with “The French Connection,” about New York City cops trying to intercept a heroin smuggling coming from France. “The French Connection” won five of the eight Oscars it was nominated for, including Picture, Director for William Friedkin, Actor for Gene Hackman, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing.
“The Godfather” (1972) — Often regarded as one of the best films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola‘s gangster epic “The Godfather” won surprisingly few Oscars, including Picture, Actor for Marlon Brando, and Adapted Screenplay, from 10 nominations. Another noteworthy event went down in the Best Actor presentation, as Brando did not attend the ceremony and sent activist Sacheen Littlefeather onstage in his place to denounce Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans.
“The Sting” (1973) — “The Sting,” about a pair of grifters attempting to con a mob boss, is one of few comedies to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It also won six other Oscars from 10 nominations, including Director for George Roy Hill, Original Screenplay, Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing, and Original Song Score/Adaptation Score.
“The Godfather Part II” (1974) — “The Godfather Part II,” which delves into the past to explore Vito Corleone’s early days, is one of only two sequels to win Best Picture, the other being the final “Lord of the Rings” film. “Part II” doubled the Oscar haul of its predecessor, winning Picture, Director for Coppola, Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, and Original Score, from 11 nominations.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) — “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” about a group of mental institution patients who rebel against their oppressive nurse, is the rare film to win all five top categories at the Oscars. After receiving nine nominations, the film won Picture, Director for Milos Forman, Actor for Jack Nicholson, Actress for Louise Fletcher, and Adapted Screenplay.
“Rocky” (1976) — Before the endless sequels and spinoffs, “Rocky” was an underdog movie that fit with its subject matter, about an Italian-American working his way up in the world of boxing. “Rocky” took home just three Oscars from its 10 nominations, including Picture, Director for John G. Avildsen, and Film Editing.
“Annie Hall” (1977) — Woody Allen‘s romantic comedy “Annie Hall” may be considered by some as the film that beat “Star Wars,” but it is also regarded as one of Allen’s best films. In addition to Best Picture, the film won Director for Allen, Actress for Diane Keaton, and Original Screenplay.
“The Deer Hunter” (1978) — The war film returned to its Oscar glory with “The Deer Hunter,” about a group of friends who enlist in the Vietnam War and are forever changed. After nine nominations, the movie was awarded five wins, including Picture, Director for Michael Cimino, Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken, Film Editing, and Sound.
“Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979) — The decade concluded with one last social issue movie being rewarded Best Picture, the divorce drama “Kramer vs. Kramer.” The film earned nine nominations and walked away with five of those, including Picture, Director for Robert Benton, Actor for Dustin Hoffman, Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep, and Adapted Screenplay.