I was a child during the 1960’s, and a teenager for most of the 1970’s. These are the movies I remember.

walking-tall.jpg10. Walking Tall – My first “date” movie. Released in the theatres in 1973, starring Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Hartman, Gene Evans, Noah Beery Jr., Brenda Benet; directed by Phil Karlson. From Amazon.com: Weirdly marketed as a right-wing screed upon its initial release in 1973, Walking Tall is really a tragic, shockingly violent post-noir film based on various legends surrounding real-life Southern sheriff Buford Pusser. Joe Don Baker (The Natural) gives a powerful performance as Pusser, who took on determined forces of crime and corruption in his town at great personal expense. Directed with an intentionally crude force by Phil Karlson (Kansas City Confidential), one of the toughest filmmakers of the 1950s, the film’s grimness does not let up, but in the end it is more likely to break hearts than turn stomachs. –Tom Keogh

sound-of-music.jpg9. The Sound of Music – With Julie Andrews as Sister Maria and Christopher Plummer as Col. Von Trapp, this movie grossed $165 Million Dollars in the USA alonein 1965! I was 7 years old when I saw it, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn, Peggy Wood, Anna Lee; directed by Robert Wise. From Amazon.com: Some people may sneer at this 1965 musical, but the truth is the film has earned its status as a perennially watchable romantic-drama, largely on the strength of a fun story and chemistry between stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Veteran filmmaker Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still) mostly stays out of the way of the film’s appealing elements, which include a based-on-fact tale of Austria’s von Trapp family, who fled their Nazi-occupied country in 1938. Andrews is delightful and even fascinating as Maria, who sheds her tomboyish ways as a novice nun to accept the mantle of adulthood, becoming matron of the motherless von Trapp clan. Plummer is matinee-idol handsome and gives a smart performance to boot, and the cast of young people and kids who make up the singing von Trapp children make a strong impression. Based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical, the score includes such winners as “Maria” and the future John Coltrane hit “My Favorite Things.” –Tom Keogh

love-bug.jpg8. The Love Bug – I saw this in the drive-in with my parents, in 1969. My sister was a squalling infant, and spoiled some of the fun, but I enjoyed it anyway. Starring Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson, Buddy Hackett, Joe Flynn; directed by Robert Stevenson. From Amazon.com: This savvy Disney hit from 1969 made a star of a Volkswagen precisely when the car was becoming more popular than ever. Dean Jones and Michele Lee head the cast in a story about a VW bug with a mind of its own. Disney point man Robert Stevenson, director of The Absent-Minded Professor, Mary Poppins, and lots of other Disney live-action hits, makes the slapstick work perfectly and keeps the laughs coming. Buddy Hackett is very funny in a supporting role. –Tom Keogh

saturday-night-fever.jpg7. Saturday Night Fever – Disco Inferno! I was in college when this movie came out (the summer between my first and second years), and disco took the campus by storm. I played along for a little while, but all in all I never really liked disco. Okay, I pretty much hated disco. I’ll bet that if they did a study, they’d be able to prove that the single event that was most beneficial to the Country Music industry was the release of this movie. This movie stars John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape; it was directed by John Badham. From Amazon.com: Saturday Night Fever is one of those movies that comes along and seems to change the cultural temperature in a flash. After the movie’s release in 1977, disco ruled the dance floors, and a blow-dried member of a TV-sitcom ensemble became the hottest star in the U.S. For all that, the story is conventional: a 19-year-old Italian American from Brooklyn, Tony Manero (John Travolta), works in a humble paint store and lives with his family. After dark, he becomes the polyester-clad stallion of the local nightclub; Tony’s brother, a priest, observes that when Tony hits the dance floor, the crowd parts like the Red Sea before Moses. Director John Badham captures the electric connection between music and dance, and also the desperation that lies beneath Tony’s ambitions to break out of his limited world. The soundtrack, which spawned a massively successful album, is dominated by the disco classics of the Bee Gees, including “Staying Alive” (Travolta’s theme during the strutting opening) and “Night Fever.” The Oscar®-nominated Travolta, plucked from the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter, for his first starring role, is incandescent and unbelievably confident, and his dancing is terrific. Oh, and the white suit rules. –Robert Horton

star-trek.jpg6. Star Trek–The Motion Picture – Although technically released after I was no longer a teenager (I was 21), I remember it as a movie of my adolescence. This is the first of the Star Trek movies, and gave all Trekkies new fodder to analyze, nitpick, etc. The success of this movie spawned not only more Star Trek movies, but new TV series as well. The movie starred (duh!) William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, and George Takei; it was directed by Robert Wise. From Amazon.com: Back when the first Star Trek feature was released in December 1979, the Trek franchise was still relatively modest, consisting of the original TV series, an animated cartoon series from 1973-74, and a burgeoning fan network around the world. Series creator Gene Roddenberry had conceived a second TV series, but after the success of Star Wars the project was upgraded into this lavish feature film, which reunited the original series cast aboard a beautifully redesigned starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Under the direction of Robert Wise (best known for West Side Story), the film proved to be a mixed blessing for Trek fans, who heatedly debated its merits; but it was, of course, a phenomenal hit. Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) leads his crew into the vast structures surrounding V’Ger, an all-powerful being that is cutting a destructive course through Starfleet space. With his new First Officer (Stephen Collins), the bald and beautiful Lieutenant Ilia (played by the late Persis Khambatta) and his returning veteran crew, Kirk must decipher the secret of V’Ger’s true purpose and restore the safety of the galaxy. The story is rather overblown and derivative of plots from the original series, and avid Trekkies greeted the film’s bland costumes with derisive laughter. But as a feast for the eyes, this is an adventure worthy of big-screen trekkin’. Douglas Trumbull’s visual effects are astonishing, and Jerry Goldmith’s score is regarded as one of the prolific composer’s very best (with its main theme later used for Star Trek: The Next Generation). And, fortunately for Star Trek fans, the expanded 143-minute version (originally shown for the film’s network TV premiere) is generally considered an improvement over the original theatrical release. –Jeff Shannon

oliver.jpg5. Oliver! – Now we’re back to my childhood. I remember this mostly as the first movie I was allowed to see without an adult — just me and some friends, at the movies on a Saturday afternoon. How cool is that? (I was 9, BTW) Honestly, I don’t remember much about the movie itself, except that Mark Lester was in it. He went on to become a Tiger Beat cover-boy, and all us pre-pubescent girls were ga-ga over him (which is not to diminish the poster-boy appeal of Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger). The movie starred Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe, and Mark Lester; it was directed by Carol Reed. From Amazon.com: Film buffs and critics can argue until their faces turn blue about whether this lavish Dickensian musical deserved the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1968, but the movie speaks for itself on grandly entertaining terms. Adapted from Dickens’s classic novel, it’s one of the most dramatically involving and artistically impressive musicals of the 1960s, directed by Carol Reed with a delightful enthusiasm that would surely have impressed Dickens himself. Mark Lester plays the waifish orphan Oliver Twist, who is befriended by the pickpocketing Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and recruited into the gang of boy thieves led by Fagin (played to perfection by Ron Moody). The villainous Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed) casts his long shadow over Oliver and his friends, but the young orphan is still able to find loving care in the most desperate of circumstances. Full of memorable melodies and splendid lyrics, Oliver! is a timeless film, prompting even hard-to-please critic Pauline Kael to call it “a superb demonstration of intelligent craftsmanship,” and to further observe that “it’s as if the movie set out to be a tribute to Dickens and his melodramatic art as well as to tell the story of Oliver Twist.” –Jeff Shannon

rocky.jpg4. Rocky – The original Stallone movie, this carries fond memories for me as a date movie that I saw at least 3 times in the theatre. I had nightmares about the scene where Burgess Meredith cuts Rocky’s eyelid with a razorblade. I still shudder when I think about it. The music was phenomenal, especially the theme. Although the film spawned countless (okay, 4) sequels, I think they should have stopped after the first one. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith; directed by John G. Avildsen. From Amazon.com – The only remaining evidence that Sylvester Stallone might have had a respectable career, this 1976 Oscar winner (for Best Picture, Director, and Editing) is still the quintessential ode to an underdog and one of the best boxing movies ever made. After writing the script about a two-bit boxer who gets a “million-to-one shot” against the world heavyweight champion, Stallone insisted that he star in the title role, and his equally unknown status helped to catapult him (and this rousing film) to overnight success. The story is familiar, but it has been handled with such vitality and emotional honesty that you can’t help but leap and cheer for Rocky Balboa, the chump turned champ (despite his valiant defeat in the ring) who stuns the boxing world with the support of his timid girlfriend, Adrian (Talia Shire), and grizzled trainer, Gus (Burgess Meredith). Oscar nominations went to all the lead actors (including Burt Young as Adrian’s hot-tempered brother), but four sequels could never top the universal appeal of this low-budget crowd pleaser. —Jeff Shannon

tommy.jpg 3. Tommy – I had the priviledge of seeing this movie in London when it made it’s British debut in 1975. At first I found it hard to follow (not being at all familiar with the format of opera) but once I caught on, I caught up. Starring Oliver Reed, Ann-Margret, Roger Daltrey, Elton John, and Eric Clapton; directed by Ken Russell. There were also cameo appearances by Jack Nicholson, Keith Moon, Tina Turner and Pete Townshend. I especially remember Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie, and Tina Turner as The Acid Queen. This movie was based on the 1969 album Tommy, written by Pete Townshend. I notice that Amazon.com has a closed captioned version available; I’m trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a closed caption version of an opera about a blind, deaf mute. There’s a story there somewhere. From Amazon.com: If you’ve ever wanted to hear Jack Nicholson sing (or try to) or marvel at the sight of Ann-Margret drunkenly cavorting in a cascade of baked beans, Tommy is the movie you’ve been waiting for. As it turns out, the Who’s brilliant rock opera is sublimely matched to director Ken Russell’s penchant for cinematic excess, and this 1975 production finds Russell at the peak of his filmmaking audacity. It’s a fever-dream of musical bombast, custom-fit to the thematic ambition of Pete Townshend’s epic rock drama, revolving around the titular “deaf, dumb, and blind kid” (played by Who vocalist Roger Daltrey) who survives the childhood trauma that stole his senses to become a Pinball Wizard messiah in Townshend’s grandiose attack on the hypocrisy of organized religion.

The story is remarkably coherent considering the hypnotic dream-state induced by Russell’s visuals. Tommy’s odyssey is rendered through wall-to-wall music, each song representing a pivotal chapter in Tommy’s chronology, from the bloodstream shock of “The Acid Queen” (performed to the hilt by Tina Turner) to Nicholson’s turn as a well-intentioned physician, Elton John’s towering rendition of “Pinball Wizard,” and Daltrey’s epiphanous rendition of “I’m Free.” Other performers include Eric Clapton and (most outrageously) the Who’s drummer Keith Moon, and through it all Russell is almost religiously faithful to Townshend’s artistic vision. Although it divided critics when first released, Tommy now looks like a minor classic of gonzo cinema, worthy of the musical genius that fueled its creation. –Jeff Shannon

live-and-let-die.jpg2. Live and Let Die – This movie has the dubious distinction of being the only James Bond movie I’ve ever seen. I hated it that much. I guess the whole genre of ‘private eye who beds every available woman, no matter whose side she’s on, and who always gets into just the right situation to require the use of the very latest gadget’, just tires me; although after reading Amazon.com‘s review (below) I wonder if maybe I didn’t judge the whole franchise by the worst it had to offer. I didn’t even particularly care for the theme song (written by Paul McCartney and performed by Paul McCartney and Wings). Starring Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris; directed by Guy Hamilton. From Amazon.com: Roger Moore was introduced as James Bond in this 1973 action movie featuring secret agent 007. More self-consciously suave and formal than predecessor Sean Connery, he immediately reestablished Bond as an uncomplicated and wooden fellow for the feel-good ’70s. This film also marks a deviation from the more character-driven stories of the Connery years, a deliberate shift to plastic action (multiple chases, bravura stunts) that made the franchise more of a comic book or machine. If that’s not depressing enough, there’s even a good British director on board, Guy Hamilton (Force 10 from Navarone). The story finds Bond taking on an international drug dealer (Yaphet Kotto), and while that may be superficially relevant, it isn’t exactly the same as fighting supervillains on the order of Goldfinger. –Tom Keogh

star-wars.jpg1. Star Wars (Part IV) – Is there really any more that can be said about this movie? When it was released, I was a freshman in college; I had absolutely zero desire to see a space cowboys flick, but one night I went along with the crowd and saw it. I was completely blown away. I saw this in the theatre 17 times that year; I couldn’t begin to guess how many times I’ve seen it since then. But if you haven’t seen it in the theatre, you haven’t seen it. The small screen CAN NOT do this movie justice. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness; directed by George Lucas. Amazon.com has nothing to say about the plotline or direction of this film; they only want to compare one DVD release to another. Wikipedia doesn’t have separate entries for each episode. Besides, you all know what this movie is about, right?