Forty years ago this summer, the Son of Sam killer wreaked havoc, New York experienced a city-wide blackout, Elvis was found dead—and the American box office was having a stratospheric moment. Buoyed by the astonishing success of George Lucas’s behemoth Star Wars, 1977 boasted “the best summer in years at the movie box office,” according to Variety. Of course, there was much more to cinema ’77 than that industry-changing space opera, which officially cemented the idea of the summer blockbuster following the runaway success of Jaws two years earlier. From disco (Saturday Night Fever) to punk (Jubilee); from cult horrors in the making (Eraserhead, Suspiria, Hausu) to ambitious auteur projects (New York, New York; Sorcerer); from works of idiosyncratic artistry (Opening Night, 3 Women, That Obscure Object of Desire) to runaway Hollywood crowd-pleasers (Smokey and the Bandit, Airport ’77), our international survey of films that year from around the world celebrates a diverse—and wildly enjoyable—cinematic landscape.
Acknowledgments: Bard College; British Film Institute; TIFF Film Reference Library; George Butler; J.D. Connor
Listen to our ultimate playlist of 1977 singles and Billboard hits:
Read The Village Voice‘s cover story: With the Expansive ’77, the Film Society Takes the Measure of a Brilliant Year in Movies by Melissa Anderson. Limited copies available at the Walter Reade Theater during the series!
Week-Long RunStepping away from the narrative vastness of his previous Nashville and Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, Altman’s mystifying film focuses on three social outsiders—Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule— who form an unusual bond around a Palm Springs health spa for the elderly. An NYFF15 selection.
The American Friend
The Devil, Probably
The Hills Have Eyes
Killer of Sheep
The Last Wave
Looking for Mr. Goodbar
The Man Who Loved Women
New York, New York
On the Silver Globe
Introduction by George ButlerThe film that introduced the world to Arnold Schwarzenegger, this colorful look at competitive bodybuilding follows the leading contenders as they prepare to flex at the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest.
Saturday Night Fever
Smokey and the Bandit
That Obscure Object of Desire
Twilight’s Last Gleaming
Which Way Is Up?
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