John Kenneth Muir is running one of his week long, popular Reader's Poll Lists at John Kenneth Muir's Reflections On Cult Movies And Classic TV.
Who doesn't love a good list? I know I'm an addict. He generously offers readers to contribute. He posted a list from yours truly here. Be sure to check out the rest. Here's an amped up version of that same post.
The subject is the Greatest Science Fiction Films Of The 1970s. So I offer you Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic's BIG 10: Greatest Science Fiction Films Of The 1970s.
Let's begin by admitting straight away that the 1970s was so much more than the disco era. It was indeed a fertile period for science fiction film and television. There was simply no shortage of wonderfully rich and imaginative material.
So, clearly no pretensions here. I'm not venturing into high art, though I think it is, but rather insanely incredible, fun art of the classic science fiction variety and no less sincere.
10. Godzilla Vs. Hedora (or more famously Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster) (1971).
Director: Yoshimitsu Banno.
The only film to be directed by Banno on a Godzilla feature that doesn't spotlight directorial mainstays Ishiro Honda or apprentice Jun Fukuda from the Showa period of films. Underrated and brilliant good fun with a significant ecological message.
9. Space Amoeba (also famously known as Yog, Monster From Space) (1970).
Director: Ishiro Honda.
Honda steps away from his baby, Godzilla, and comes up with a good, old-fashioned Toho, fantasy monster romp that manages to predate Sigmund And The Sea Monsters (1973-1975). The famous Akira Kubo (Matango, Invasion Of Astro-Monster, Kill!, Gorath) and Kenji Sahara (Rodan, The Mysterians, Matango) are in the cast and it's an absolute blast. Played often in heavy rotation on Saturday Creature Double Feature out of Boston, MA in the 1970s. The 1960s and 1970s were a rich period for Toho and these two aforementioned pictures are proof of that.
8. Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971).
Director: Don Taylor.
A film centered on two of my favorite characters from the franchise. The late, great Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter shine. With Ricardo Montalban thrown in for good measure, honestly, you can't go wrong with this exceptional installment in the series.
7. Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975).
Director: Ishiro Honda.
The final installment for the Godzilla Showa period sees the return of Honda on directing chores for his final outing of the Big G. Akihiko Hirata also appears. Hirata and Honda collaborated on the classic Gojira (1954). So you know I'm not completely in the tank for Toho and Godzilla pictures there several conspicuously absent from my list simply because they are fun if not classic. Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973), Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), and Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972) all miss the cut. I've even omitted Gamera Vs. Zigra (1971) and Gamera Vs. Jiger (1970) from Daiei Studios.
6. The Omega Man (1971).
Director: Boris Sagal.
The father of Sons Of Anarchy's Katey Sagal directs one of those classic dystopian tales of apocalypse and implements the mood and decay of the 1970s era to great effect. There's a terrific vibe of isolation throughout the picture based on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (1954). I still like it better than the Will Smith vehicle of the same name.
5. The Land That Time Forgot (1975).
Director: Kevin Connor.
A fantastic and fun adventure picture based on the terrific work of American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). The B-movie doesn't get more classic than this science fiction fantasy. Wonderful and the stuff of dreams. At The Earth's Core (1976) and The People That Time Forgot (1977) are good, but not quite this good. I also positively adore Connor's Warlords Of Atlantis (1978) a picture cut very much from the same mold as The Land That Time Forgot. I wish I had room for the latte ron this list.
4. The Island Of Dr. Moreau (1977).
Director: Don Taylor.
Taylor makes my list twice. This is just a terrifically entertaining picture starring Michael York (Logan's Run) and based on the 1896 novel by H.G. Wells. It's a stunning morality tale and something remarkably different from other science fiction pictures of the period with plenty of lessons concerning the use of science to go around. I'm also a fan of the under appreciated 1996 adaptation from the late John Frankenheimer.
3. Star Wars.
Director: George Lucas.
Much backyard play was had in those carefree days. It's sci-fi fantasy perfection even if my son calls it "old man fighting." Nuff said!
2. Alien (1979).
Director: Ridley Scott.
The start of a beautiful love affair with director Scott and the Alien franchise. Like David Bowie sang, I was indeed Loving The Alien.
1. Space Battleship Yamato (1977). Director: Toshio Masuda. Space Battleship Yamato, the series, and Tatsunoko's Gatchaman (Battle Of The Planets) were influential on my love of all things anime. Not only was Starblazers (the American version of Space Battleship Yamato) terrific, but this film was a standout highlight in retrospect putting it all together. Masuda and Leiji Matsumoto's Farewell To Space Battleship Yamato: In The Name Of Love (1978) is another winner along with the final third in the trilogy, Be Forever Yamato (1979). The original picture actually outsold Star Wars in Japan. I'm just saying. Starblazers (1979-1984), Battle Of The Planets (1978-1985) and Force Five (1979-1989) were indeed the gateway anime drugs into that world until Ghost In The Shell (1995) came along.
In truth I didn't really have a specific order. These were films I simply loved and actually just ran out of room. What a decade! But I wish I had room for others including Logan's Run (1976), Jack Smight's Damnation Alley (1977), Jun Fukuda and Toho's fun The War In Space (1977), The Last Dinosaur (1977), Kinji Fukasaku's Message In Space (1978), The Spy Who Loved Me (sort of sci-fi) (1977), Moonraker (1979), Mad Max (1979), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and The Black Hole (1979) - all pictures I just love. Heck I even loved those Witch Mountain films. What an era!
My pictures may not be classic in the purest artistic sense, but for me these were ten of the most powerful and influential films in my young life. Going against the grain here these were films I had such admiration for as a kid. They may not be perfect but they were classics to me and I gleefully stand by them.
The 1970s was a remarkably creative period in pop culture.