50 Movies Turning 50 in 2024
1974 was quite a year for movies. Several of the most famous films of all time were released; pictures that remain widely viewed even to this day, a full half a century later.
It was also a transitional year for film; it was the time when the young directors of the so-called “New Hollywood” movement began to suffer their first flops, and another crop of more commercially-minded filmmakers began to find their first footing at the studios. Within a year, Steven Spielberg would release Jaws. American films would never be the same again.
Looking at the box-office chart for 1974, theaters were dominated by disaster movies, a genre that remains hugely popular to this day (especially on streaming), and by spoofs, which are sadly in desperate need of a revival. (When we do get a spoof these days, it is almost always terrible.) The Oscars were more into honoring gangster and detective films, of which 1974 had several iconic masterpieces — including one that modern audiences still consider one of the greatest sequels in the entire history of cinema.
But in between those well-known hits there were all sorts of other lesser-known movies too; musicals and romances and science-fiction oddities and women-in-prison-pictures and drive-in fare and blaxploitation favorites. All these movies deserve recognition, so here are 50 of the most notable films released 50 years ago, in 1974...