What films from the 70s held up/were overrated.

Now that we have over 20 years of perspective, which I have heard two film historians say is the litmus test for a film, which film from 1970 to 1979 have remained stable in critical opinion?

Since that is so broad I’ll limit it to the pictures winning the Best Picture Oscar – in your opinion, have any held up -or now now 20 years later do any look badly overrated?

1970 Patton
1971 The French Connection
1972 The Godfather
1972a Caberet (did not win Best Picture, but is in a 7 way tie for 3rd most Oscar nominations ever … so I’m including it)
1973 The Sting
1974 The Godfather II
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
1976 Rocky
1977 Annie Hall
1978 The Deer Hunter
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer

IMO: Deer Hunter is less than it was seen at the time & of course so is Caberet

Depending on the competition all the rest (except maybe Kramer vs. Kramer and the Sting) would be in the Oscar running if they premiered today.

I would disagree with you straight away and say that the two Godfather films and Cabaret are the three which have aged best. Annie Hall may be a fourth ( three other American films of the 70’s not on your list that spring to mind are Taxi Driver, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now).
Patton, The French Connection, The Sting and Kramer vs Kramer look much less impressive now and Rocky never looked good. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Deer Hunter have their defenders but I’m not convinced.

I saw Cabaret for the first time a few years ago and was blown away by it. I think it holds up extremely well.

I think all of them look better than most of the dreck that’s coming out today.

Of the films you listed, I’d say The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs Kramer are the two that have failed the test of time. The Deer Hunter appeared to be semi-epic at the time, but subsequent films have made it clear that Cimino’s real style was just slow. Kramer vs. Kramer suffers from its subject matter; the idea of a father challenging his ex-wife for child custody no longer seems exceptional enough to base a movie on and both Hoffman’s and Streep’s characters now seem more like 70’s stereotypes than real people.

Of the others, Rocky is still an entertaining movie, but it didn’t deserve an Oscar back in 1976. Patton is still as good a movie as it was when it first appeared but external political swings over the years still cause it to come in and out of favor.

Just for fun, let me throw out the last 10 years of winners, just by way of comparison.

1992 Unforgiven
1993 Schindler’s List
1994 Forrest Gump
1995 Braveheart
1996 The English Patient
1997 Titanic
1998 Shakespeare In Love
1999 American Beauty
2000 Gladiator
2001 A Beautiful Mind

Most of these seem to be more popular favorites, particularly Gladiator and Titanic. Maybe Schindler’s List will still be compelling 20 years from now, (what about Unforgiven? Haven’t seen it, someone else will have to weigh in on that puppy).

The rest are competent works, but not necessarily Oscar-worthy.

Unforgiven is a great movie, the sort of character study they made back in the '70s and forgot about in the '80s. I recommend it highly, Pesch. I frankly love Titanic (is there a guilty pleasure thread around these here parts?), but have no problem admitting that it wasn’t the most artistic movie ever made.

I think the French Connection has held up rather well - my wife and I lead a film discussion group here in Kville and we did FC last January. I found that Friedkin was very forward-looking in how he shot his movies (I saw the Exorcist DVD the same month) using color pallettes and lighting tricks that would be the hallmark of a bunch of '80s and '90s flicks. For example, you notice how a LOT of TV and movies of the '90s were shot like they used some sort of filter to make all the ambient light blue? Check out the FC and the Exorcist to see where that came from.

Other films of the '70s that have held up remarkably well: Chinatown, Jaws, Taxi Driver, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mean Streets, Saturday Night Fever, Network, Superman, Nashville, All the Presidents Men, Being There… the list could go on and on.

How about Star Wars? I don’t think it has held up well at all. Shampoo hasn’t, nor has Grease.

Of the Oscar winners listed, the Deer Hunter could use a few more months in the editors room, and Kramer vs. Kramer is too “issue of the weeky” (to sound like Willow). I just saw Annie Hall on TCM and it was easily the best Woody Allen film I’ve ever seen (the missus prefers Manhattan) so it is worthy of its reputation, imho.