Donielle Flynn

Penn Theatre has been in downtown Plymouth since 1941...and you can still see a movie for just $3 (cash)

Clearly, I am timeless. A lady never tells her age, but if I did… I’ve been 29 for years now. BUUUUUT… in order to talk about 70’s movies properly, I’m about to date myself. By 1977, I had seen TWO whole movies in the theatre, but I did watch an insane amount of TV growing up. Basically, I’m letting you know that I am no Siskel and Ebert (dating myself already!) but these are the movies that I enjoyed. What are your favorite/most memorable movies of the ’70s? Here’s a year-by-year list of my picks and the top five movies of that year (based on ticket sales).

  • 1970

    Doni’s pick: M.A.S.H. – Hot Lips Houlihan, Hawkeye, Trapper John, and Radar… this movie was hilarious, dark, sexist, and poignant… and it spawned one of the all-time greatest TV spin-offs in the history of history.

    1) Love Story
    2) Airport
    3) M.A.S.H
    4) Patton
    5) The Aristocats

  • 1971

    Doni’s Pick: Clockwork Orange – I didn’t watch this until I was in college because… you know why. The whole movie revolves around Alex and The Droogs getting high, and then going about with “a little bit of the old ultraviolence” while humming “Singing in the Rain.” This movie gets 4 thumbs up for being completely effed up. I had never seen anything like it. Warning: the movie clip contains violence.

    1) Billy Jack
    2) Fiddler on the Roof
    3) Diamonds are Forever
    4) The French Connection
    5) The Summer of ’42

    SIDE NOTE: I was six when the movie, Diamonds Are Forever was shown on regular TV. I remember this because I was watching it with my mom and dad. The lady said, “Make love to me, James.” I turned and asked, “How do you make love to someone?” I didn’t know WHY the question I asked was a bad idea, but I knew it was a bad idea because my dad yelled, “THAT’S IT. TURN THE TV OFF NOW!” and I never received an answer to my totally legit question that had no easy answer for the age of six… at least not for my dad.


  • 1973

    Doni’s Pick: Deliverance – Who doesn’t subconsciously “da-da-ding-ding-ding-ding” when they hear the word? Millennials, that’s who. And that is 100% OK.  I can’t, in good faith, tell them to go back and check out a movie about Ned Beatty being told to “squeal like a pig.” Move along, kids. Nothing to see here… except some righteous dueling banjos.

    1) The Godfather
    2) The Posiedon Adventure
    3) What’s Up, Doc?
    4) Deliverance
    5) Deep Throat

  • 1973

    Doni’s Pick: The Exorcist – Life changing. That poor girl, the priest, her family, and a generous helping of pea soup (yes, they really did use condensed pea soup for this scene). How can you not experience this movie?

    1) The Exorcist
    2) The Sting
    3) American Graffiti
    4) Papillon
    5) The Way We Were

  • 1974

    Doni’s Pick: Young Frankenstein – This one was tough. Blazing Saddles is excellent as well, but there are SO MANY memories that I have attached to Young Frankenstein.   I can’t help but “Walk THIS way.” It was an excellent year for Mel Brooks.

    1) Blazing Saddles
    2) Towering Inferno
    3) The Trial of Billy Jack
    4) Young Frankenstein
    5) Earthquake

  • 1975

    Doni’s Pick: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – This movie hit me hard, especially the ending. Jack Nicholson is really good at playing flawed characters that you can’t help but sympathize with despite the flaws, but it was Chief who stole the whole movie. I was around 15 when I finally saw this movie and it was my only reference point as to how things work inside of this type of facility. It gave me a sense of understanding of what some people go through. Even though this was a movie, it was written by Ken Kesey and he worked in psychiatric facilities. He based Nurse Ratched on a person he worked with.

    1) Jaws
    2) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    3) Shampoo
    4) Dog Day Afternoon
    5) The Return of the Pink Panther

    SIDE NOTE: Jaws was the first true BLOCKBUSTER, in my opinion. Jaws sold more than TWICE as many tickets as any other movie in 1975. It changed the way movies were made, it created the idea of the “summer movie season,” and it cemented Steven Spielberg as a directing force.


  • 1976

    Doni’s Pick: Logan’s Run – No, YOU shut up! I loved this movie! I am a sci-fi nerd at heart and this movie is part of the reason why. 200 years in the future everything is perfect until you hit 30… then it’s carousel time and peace out. The “runners” know the truth and by the end, Michael York figures it out too. PLUS Farrah Fawcett plays a nurse with a tragic ending.  This movie ROCKED the last time I watched it, which was a good 35 years ago, but it’s my pick and I’m sticking with it.

    1) Rocky
    2) To Fly! (IMAX)
    3) A Star Is Born
    4) King Kong
    5) Silver Streak

    SIDE NOTE: How mad would you be to pour your heart out in a role and then get beat out by an IMAX movie about flying? To Fly! wasn’t the first IMAX movie, but it was the first IMAX movie to crush it like this.  Even by 1980, The Washington Post named it one of the top three reasons to visit Washington D.C.  This was new technology and people wanted to see it.


  • 1977

    Doni’s Pick: Star Wars – I’m not putting the “New Hope” crap in there. When this movie was first released, we all just called it “STAR WARS” and it was amazing. We lived in a very small town until I was seven. I had been to the movies one time and saw Bambi. When I was seven, we moved to a suburb of Flint and my parents took me to see Star Wars at Gennessee Valley Mall. My seven-year-old brain was BLOWN. From that moment on, science fiction was my genre of choice.

    1) Star Wars
    2) Close Encounter of the Third Kind
    3) Saturday Night Fever
    4) Smokey and the Bandit
    5) The Goodbye Girl

  • 1978

    Doni’s Pick: Foul Play – Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase… LET’S GO! She’s a librarian; he’s a detective. There’s a love story, assassination plot, and humor. It’s not the biggest movie of 1978, but I thought it was fun and very 70’s.

    1) Grease
    2) Animal House
    3) Jaws 2
    4) Heaven Can Wait
    5) Every Which Way but Loose

    SIDE NOTE: Grease and Animal House, obviously were huge movies with the cultural impact that spanned decades. Each movie was a right of passage in its own way, but I’m pretty sure Bluto could have taken out Danny Zuko if it came to a fight… or at least a food fight.

  • 1979

    Doni’s Pick: Alien – I had a problem when I was young with an over-active imagination and I could not handle scary movies. I’m still easy to jump, but I was glad I finally watched Alien. When it first came out everyone was talking about how scary it was and, “Don’t eat before you go see it.” I didn’t watch it until I was in my 20’s. Sigourney Weaver kicks Alien a$$ in this movie. I watched every one of the Alien movies and loved them, but only this one had Newt. Here’s my favorite scene.

    1) Superman
    2) The Amityville Horror
    3) Rocky 2
    4) Star Trek: The Motion Picture
    5) Apocalypse Now

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