At the height of the directors era, talents emerged in the seventies that stunned American and world audiences and critics with their artistry. Fulfilling on the genius of The Godfather (1972), Francis Ford Coppola directed The Godfather Part II (1974), in my opinion the finest film in the history of the cinema. Deeper, more complex, more in depth, darker and greater in scope than the first film it would win six Academy Awards including this time an Oscar for Coppola as Best Director. He gave us two films this year, the low budget, paranoia thriller The Conversation (1974) won Best Film at Cannes and was nominated for Best Picture giving Coppola two Best Picture nominees.
Roman Polanski, Bob Fosse, Sidney Lumet, Terence Malick, Mel Brooks, John Cassavettes, Brian de Palma, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg all had major films in release, major works all. They were young upstarts and their careers were just beginning, within two years they owned the American moviue business. 1939 often is hailed as the greatest movie year, 1956 has a great list of films that make a good argument, but I am not sure any single year rivals 1974 for the sheer artistry of the work created and presented. Following is the list of 14 best of 1974.
1. THE GODFATHER PART II
For me, this is the single greatest film ever made, a sequel and prequel to the first film that goes further into the story and the moral soul of Michael Corleone. Darker, deeper, more complex, the film explores in flashback the rise of Vito, portrayed this time by Robert De Niro who in every move and word spoke suggests a young Brando, while the balance of the film explores Michael solidifying his power as the most powerful and dangerous Don in America. It is a stunning study of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. The film earned six Academy Awards, though incredibly Pacino lost for his greatest performance. A masterpiece.
Read More: Best Movies of 1995