23 December 2017; Best of 1977 Films Throwback

Film-goers were surprised to see what happened to cinema 40 years ago. Welcome to MMM and today I’m counting down the best of 1977 films based on my own enjoyment of them.

Before I begin, this is part of a list of film countdowns spanning over a 5 year radius from 1967 to 2017 from today to the 31st December. If you don’t see a film that you think should have made the list, please comment.

#10: New York, New York (Drama musical)
Directed by Oscar winner Martin Scorsese, a narcissistic saxophonist (Oscar winner Robert De Niro) and singer (Oscar winner Liza Minnelli) meet and fall in love, but their rocky romance is tested by their personality clashes and career paths.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: None but 4 Golden Globe nominations (Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Actress in a Motion Picture –Comedy or Musical; Liza Minnelli, Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical; Robert De Niro, and Original Song – Motion Picture; “New York, New York”).

Highlights: Cast, performances, and titular song.

#9: Saturday Night Fever (Drama)
Cited as an influential dance and music film, in order to escape his harsh reality, a teenager (Oscar nominee John Travolta) goes to the disco club where he is the king of the dance floor, and soon enters a dancing competition with his beautiful partner Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney).

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 1 nomination (Best Actor in a Leading Role – John Travolta).

Highlights: Cast, performances, symbolism, soundtrack, and choreography.

#8: The Turning Point (Drama)
Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine plays a mother whose daughter (Oscar nominee Leslie Browne) joins a ballet company, which causes her to confront about the past decision she made about giving up the stage to have a family.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 11 nominations (Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role – Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine, Actor in a Supporting Role – Mikhail Baryshnikov, Actress in a Supporting Role – Leslie Browne, Director – Herbert Ross, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction – Set Decoration, Sound, and Film Editing).

Highlights: Story, cast, performances especially Bancroft and MacLaine, and choreography.

#7: Pete’s Dragon (live-action animated fantasy musical)
After escaping from his abusive guardians, an orphan boy (Sean Marshall) and his magical dragon come to the town of Passamaquoddy, Maine.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 2 nominations (Best Original Song – “Candle on the Water”, and Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score – Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn, and Irwin Kostal).

Highlights: Mixture of animation and live-action, cast including the late Oscar nominee Mickey Rooney and late Oscar winner Shelley Winters, performances, humor, songs, and ending.

#6: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (animated adventure comedy musical)
Animated shorts based on A.A Milne’s story collection that focus on his beloved characters such as the titular bear (voiced by Disney legend Sterling Holloway) and their adventures.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: None.

Highlights: Animation, voice cast, and humor.

#5: The Rescuers (Animated dramedy adventure)
Two mice (voiced by Golden Globe winner Bob Newhart and the late Eva Gabor respectively) from the RAS (Rescue Aid Society) are tasked to locate and bring back home an orphan girl (voiced by Michelle Stacy) from her cruel guardian (voiced by the late Oscar winner Geraldine Page).Oscar wins and/or nominations: 1 nomination (Best Original Song – “Someone’s Waiting for You”).

Highlights: Animation, story, characters, voice cast, and songs.

#4: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Sci-fi drama adventure)
Perhaps one of the most beloved films in the genre, a man (Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss) is one of the few people to witness a UFO, and later becomes determined to travel to Wyoming where something otherworldly is about to occur.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 1 win (Best Cinematography and a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing) and 7 nominations (Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Melinda Dillon, Director – Steven Spielberg, Art Direction – Set Decoration, Sound, Film Editing, Visual Effects and Original Score – John Williams).

Highlights: Cast, performances, thrills, visual effects, music score especially the iconic five-note sequence, choice of location in the end, questions if we are alone in the universe, and ending.

#3: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Sci-fi action adventure)
Often cited as significant to film#history, a cinematic triumph as well as creating a huge global impact for movie fanatics, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) joins an intergalactic battle with Jedi knight Obi- Wan Kenobi (late Oscar winner Alec Guinness), pilot Han Solo (Oscar nominee Harrison Ford), his Wookie companion Chewbacca (voiced by Peter Mayhew), droids C-3PO and R2-D2 (voiced by Anthony Daniels and the late Kenny Baker respectively), and spirited Princess Leia Organa (late Primetime Emmy nominee Carrie Fisher), to thwart Darth Vader (voiced by Oscar nominee James Earl Jones) and his plans by destroying a battle-station known as the Death Star, capable of blowing up a whole planet.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 6 wins (Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Costume Design, Sound, Film Editing, Visual Effects, Original Score – John Williams and a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects) and 4 nominations (Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role – Alec Guinness, Director – George Lucas, and Original Screenplay).

Highlights: Story, dialogue, cast, performances; lead and supporting, sound and visual effects, iconic music score, thrills, and influence in cinema and pop culture.

#2: Annie Hall (Romantic comedy)
Considered to be one of the greatest films in the genre, and cinema in general, the film follows an exploration of the relationship between comically neurotic comedian Alvy Singer (Oscar winner Woody Allen) and the titular and eccentrically adorable aspiring singer (Oscar winner Diane Keaton).

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 4 wins (Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role – Diane Keaton, Director – Woody Allen, and Original Screenplay) and 1 nomination (Best Actor in a Leading Role – Woody Allen).

Highlights: Story, symbolism, cast including an early appearance of screen legend and Oscar winner Christopher Walken, performances, dialogue, and humor.

No honourable mentions this time around…

#1: The Goodbye Girl (Romantic dramedy)
After directing the aforementioned “The Turning Point”, Herbert Ross directed this gem and top pick. Not only that, but Richard Dreyfuss appears again on this list but this time, in an Oscar-winning performance, plays a struggling actor who is forced by circumstances to share an apartment with a single mother (Oscar nominee Marsha Mason) and her spirited daughter (Oscar nominee Quinn Cummings), even though the mother wants nothing to do with actors due to her past disappointments with the latter. Perhaps one of the funniest and charming films you will ever see, and is a must-see for romantic comedy fans.

Oscar wins and/or nominations: 1 win (Best Actor in a Leading Role – Richard Dreyfuss) and 4 nominations (Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role – Marsha Mason, Actress in a Supporting Role – Quinn Cummings, and Original Screenplay).

Highlights: Cast, performances, direction, Neil Simon-esque dialogue and humor, and ending.