Top 20 of 1977

The American Friend 3

The timing of this list post is interesting. I often post these lists on Fridays. This is basically because the group that I assemble these with usually unveils the consensus results during the week. It is also partly because this is an easy type of post to write at the end of the week.

The 15th of the month is a special day for me because it is (usually) Criterion Announcement Day. This month the 15th fell on a Thursday, and usually I get caught up in the social media hubbub that I don’t feel like blogging anyway. So yesterday I was hitting refresh like I always do, but there were no releases to be announced. I hoped they would come this morning, but the hours passed and still nothing. It was weird because often Criterion will give a warning if there are delays. As the evening hour approached, they abruptly went up, and it turns out one of the releases, The American Friend, is on this list. What better day to post it? I’m a fan of Wenders, and he has topped one of my lists before. He is not on top this time, but pretty close. Needless to say, I’m thrilled about this announcement.

Back to the list. 1977 was firmly in the post-Jaws era of Hollywood. The gritty, American New Wave pictures were quickly becoming a thing of the past. Woody Allen was moving away from his earlier, “funny ones,” and becoming one of the top auteurs of the time. In my opinion, 1977 is a weaker year than most of the years in the 1970s. I’m not blaming Jaws or mainstream American film in general. I have a few of those on my list. It just seems like the industry was in a state of flux.

When I look at the list, it looks pretty diverse. There are seven foreign films (eight if you count Australia), three Hollywood summer films, five American “high brow” films, one mini series, and a documentary. That fits the year. There are worse years, but this one is all over the place.

One of the frustrating issues with compiling this 1977 list was the lack of availability of some key titles. I particularly wanted to see The Lacemaker, The Devil Probably, Soldiers of Orange, Hitler: A Film, and others, but they were not available. If these or others get a proper release, then my list could change.

1. Annie Hall
2. 3 Women
3. The American Friend
4. Suspiria
5. Man of Marble
6. Sorcerer
7. Roots
8. The Ascent
9. Providence
10. The Duellists
11. Eraserhead
12. Star Wars
13. Slap Shot
14. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
15. That Obscure Object of Desire
16. Stroszek
17. Looking for Mr. Goodbar
18. Alambrista!
19. The Last Wave
20. 21

annie-hall-1977

Posted on October 16, 2015, in Film, Lists. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Great to see Friedkin’s ‘Sorcerer’ on a list like this.

  2. Bruno Ganz is THE MAN!

  3. Wow, I’ve only seen nine of the 20 on your list and I was a pretty active moviegoer in 1977. I’m ashamed to admit I still haven’t seen SORCERER, THE DUELLISTS, PROVIDENCE and 3 WOMEN. (And I even have the PROVIDENCE soundtrack LP.)

    From your list, I’ll grant you ANNIE HALL, THE AMERICAN FRIEND, SUSPIRIA and THE LAST WAVE, but I’ll add the following, in random order:

    EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC
    ORCA
    THE CHOIRBOYS
    THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER
    SEMI-TOUGH
    SPACE CRUISER YAMATO (Japan)
    THE BRAVE ARCHER (HK)
    THE CHINATOWN KID ( (HK)
    DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER (HK)
    EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN (HK)
    BROKEN OATH (HK)

    • I haven’t seen many of those in your list, and none of the HK films. That’s a pretty big gap for me. You reminded me that I had tried to seek out a lot of obscure films that don’t have physical or digital releases, so I edited a paragraph about that into the original post.

  4. I love a list with both Slap Shot and Sorcerer on it.

  5. Nice to see SUSPIRIA and the always underrated SORCERER (i like WAGES OF FEAR, but the remake is actually better!).

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