A friend suggested a list of the Ten Best American Crime Flicks of the ‘70s.

By which he meant films that spend more time on criminals than people trying to catch them, or no time with the catchers at all.

No cop movies, he said, which eliminates Dirty Harry, The French Connection, The Seven-Ups, etc. Also no period caper or con movies (The Sting, The Great Train Robbery), no historical gangster flicks (The Godfather I and II). Strictly contemporary crime pictures in which the protagonists are engaged in criminal activity. Hence Friedkin’s Sorcerer (desperate struggle over rough terrain) and Don Siegel’s Escape From Alcatraz don’t qualify. And no Juggernaut because it’s told almost entirely (98%) from the point of view of the catchers.

Three of his picks I immediately scratched off — Richard Brooks$ (aka Dollars), Michael Cimino‘s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (fuck Cimino) and Walter Hill‘s The Driver (too loud, brutalist, mechanical). Which left seven.

I then added seven more for a total of 14 films, all released between 1.1.70 and 1.1.80.

Three of my top ten opened in ’77 and ’78, but the other seven were released between ’71 and ’73. In order of preference…

1. The Day of the Jackal (’73)
2. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (’73)
3. Get Carter (’71)
4. Badlands (’73)
5. The Outfit (’73)
6. The American Friend (’77)
7. Who’ll Stop the Rain? (’78)
8. Charley Varrick (’73)
9. The Hot Rock (’72)
10. Straight Time (’78)

Slightly second tier but at the same time smart and engaging:

11. The Taking of Pelham 123 (’74)
12. The Getaway (’72)
13. The Silent Partner (’78)
14. Going in Style (’79)