By Megan Bianco
While 1967 is arguably the greatest year in pop culture history, my favorite year on a subjective level is 1977. Forty years ago, the hippie days were long over, and punk and disco were already taking over full throttle. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had just broken through and would help return the big, studio movies after eight years of booming independent cinema. Even sci-fi was breaking through to the mainstream. In a rather non-kid friendly decade, blockbusters would be the beginning of family-appropriate entertainment again starting slowly with Disney’s The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon.
My favorite movie, Annie Hall, was released in 1977 to much success with audiences and critics. It would win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. Both Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were at the top of their careers, and Keaton would also have another critical hit with Looking for Mr. Goodbar the same year. Hall, along with The Goodbye Girl, would show that the romantic comedy was as relevant as ever. The Turning Point and Julia would provide female lead dramas, while The Spy Who Loved Me and Smokey & the Bandit were good, old-fashioned adventure fun.
Oh, God! maintained a big audience for a light-hearted romp, while The Deep and Sorcerer kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Sci-fi would make a cinematic landmark as a genre with Star Wars (later re-titled Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, both mesmerizing audiences with groundbreaking direction and special effects, on top of memorable John Williams scores. The big-hit winner, next to Hall and Star Wars, would be the disco feature Saturday Night Fever, which took over the world and made a superstar out of John Travolta.
The soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever featuring original songs from the Bee Gees would also be a mega success in its own right and is still one of the top 10 biggest albums of all time, as is Fleetwood Mac’s soft-rock classic and my personal favorite “Rumours,” released only a few months earlier. In the United Kingdom, punk had already made its mark on society in 1976, but it would be a year later when the United States would get a triple whammy of the Sex Pistols’ “Never Mind the Bollocks,” the Clash’s self-titled debut and the Ramones’ “Rocket to Russia” that certified the movement. David Bowie’s “Low” and “Heroes,” Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True” and Pink Floyd’s “Animals” would keep alternative fans content; while Heart’s “Little Queen” was keeping hard rock alive. Jackson Browne’s live album “Running on Empty,” Steely Dan’s “Aja,” and Eric Clapton’s “Slowhand” would satisfy for easy listening, and Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” quickly found a cult following.
Another year, another anniversary celebrating some of the best movies and music ever made for us to enjoy.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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