Weekend Roundtable: Best Movie from the Year You Were Born

In this week’s Roundtable, let’s look back in time a little and mark some milestones. What was the best movie released the year you were born? This may or may not happen to be the film that won the Oscar that year, but we’re really interested in movies from your birth year that you’ve actually seen and enjoyed.

Shannon Nutt

I was born in 1969, and while most would associate that year with ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ or perhaps Best Picture winner ‘Midnight Cowboy’, for me there’s only one name that comes to mind: Bond… James Bond.

Yes, 1969 marked one of the most interesting Bond movies to date, as George Lazenby got his one and only shot playing 007 in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘. For many Bond fans, Lazenby represents the worst of the actors to play the character. However, the movie itself contains one of the franchise’s best scripts ever, as Bond falls in love, gets married and loses his bride at the hands of his number one nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played here by Telly Savalas). It’s the only Bond movie to end on a downer, and for that reason, it’s also one of the most memorable films in the series.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I was born all the way back in 1978, and that means I was “released” alongside the likes of ‘Animal House’, ‘Superman’, ‘Halloween’, ‘Grease’ and ‘The Deer Hunter’. That’s obviously exceptional company to keep. More significantly for me, though, 1978 also marked the debut of ‘Dawn of the Dead‘. My introduction to the film came courtesy of a triple feature of ‘Night’, ‘Dawn’ and ‘Day of the Dead’ at the tender age of 11 or so. (Thanks, Dad!)

It’s hard to fully convey what a profound impact George Romero’s zombie epic has had on my life. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is the movie that made me fall in love with the medium. I’d been surrounded by horror flicks for my entire life up to that point, but my decades-long fascination with the genre really dates back to that one Sunday afternoon. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is to blame for zombies being the only movie monsters to really unnerve me. I’ve devoured ‘Dawn’ endlessly over the past quarter-century, and it to my eyes remains a stone-cold classic and has aged spectacularly well. As hyperbolic as it might sound, I sincerely think I’d be a very different person if not for that movie at that age.

Mike Attebery

The year was 1978. The newcomer was me. The movies were ‘Grease’, ‘Halloween’, ‘The Deer Hunter’, ‘Animal House’, ‘Dawn of the Dead’, ‘Watership Down’, ‘Jaws 2’, ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and ‘Days of Heaven’. Among others. Not being a horror fan, ‘Halloween’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead’ are not my favorites. I think ‘Animal House’ is vastly overrated. ‘Watership Down’ scared the ever-living shit out of me when I was a kid. ‘Heaven Can Wait’ is okay, but someone else can wait to sit through ‘Days of Heaven’. ‘Jaws 2’ is… ‘Jaws 2’. ‘The Deer Hunter’ I haven’t seen (shame on me).

But one movie captured my imagination like none other. When I was little, I used to go absolutely insane whenever it aired on TV. For me, the best movie from the year I was born is ‘Superman: The Movie‘ featuring the only Superman who will ever matter, Christopher Reeve.

Brian Hoss
Let’s see what opened in 1982. ‘First Blood’, ‘The Thing’, ‘Conan the Barbarian’, ‘Wrath of Khan’ and ‘Pink Floyd: The Wall’ are all great movies. There’s even ‘E.T.’, ‘Poltergeist’, ‘Sophie’s Choice’, ‘Gandhi’ and ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’. But then came one of the year’s biggest bombs: ‘Blade Runner‘. With one of the most visually influential films of all-time, 1982 has a strong case for being one of the best year’s in film, period.

Tom Landy

When I was younger – much younger, in fact – I had a thing where I was under the impression that if a movie was older than me, then it was crap. ‘Star Wars’ was my favorite movie growing up, and being released the year after I was born kind of saved it from my own law in my twisted little pre-teen mind. Of course, I’ve wised up over the years since then.

Now if I had to pick a favorite film from my birth year of 1976, I think I’d have to go with ‘Rocky‘ – although ‘Taxi Driver’ is a close second. The story about the Italian Stallion is just an all-around great piece of cinema and the film that truly made Sylvester Stallone a star. But really, mom, couldn’t you have held me in for another month and a half?

Junie Ray

I looked through the various lists of movies from 1972: the top grossing films, the most Oscars, the best user ratings. Even though it’s the obvious choice showing up at the top of all the lists, I have to go with ‘The Godfather‘. I’d like to pretend that this movie didn’t make much of an impression on me and that the mafia genre is not really my thing. However, I’ve read all the ‘Godfather’ books and seen all the movies multiple times. Just as this film became the benchmark for a generation of mafia movies (and some say for the mobsters themselves), its vocabulary has become ingrained in me as well. I’ve occasionally uttered such phrases as, “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse,” or “going to the mattresses.” I’ve also developed a distrust for people named Fredo. The movie left a lasting impression well beyond 1972.

Luke Hickman

While many know 1980 as the year that ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was released, I’m especially proud of it being the year that ‘Airplane!‘ hit the big screen. Although completely inappropriate for children, it’s somehow a movie that I recall watching frequently throughout my childhood. The movie has so many memorable lines and bits.

“I’ve got a drinking problem.”
“Don’t call me Shirley.”
Regarding coffee: “I take it black, like my men.”
“You ever seen a grown man naked?”
“Do you like movies about gladiators.”
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”

It’s too bad this style of humor has died off.

Josh Zyber

1974 was a pretty huge year for film. It’s next to impossible to decide whether Roman Polanski’s ‘Chinatown‘ or Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather, Part II‘ is allegedly a better movie than the other. They’re both stone-cold masterpieces. If I were absolutely forced at gunpoint to choose, I’d probably go with ‘Chinatown’, if only because it’s a standalone work that doesn’t require having seen a previous movie to fully appreciate.

Although often overlooked, Coppola also released another, smaller-scale film that year, the paranoid conspiracy thriller ‘The Conversation‘, which is also great, great movie that deserves to be more widely seen.

What was the best movie released during your birth year? Tell us in the Comments.


  1. Phil Brown

    I was born one day before the release of both Ghostbusters and Gremlins in the summer of 1984. I was also born prematurely. I don’t think it was a coincidence.

  2. Bill McClain

    Notable films of 1955 include:

    Bad Day at Black Rock
    Big Combo, The
    Kiss Me Deadly
    Ladykillers, The
    Man from Laramie, The
    Night of the Hunter
    Rebel Without a Cause
    Seven Year Itch, The
    To Catch a Thief
    Trouble with Harry, The

    Although I haven’t seen it for years, Bogart as a villain calls to me in THE DESPERATE HOURS, about escaped cons terrorizing a family. Have to see it again soon.

    And get off my lawn.


  3. Deaditelord

    Let’s see… 1978:

    The Deer Hunter
    Dawn of the Dead
    Animal House
    Lord of the Rings (oh wait, wrong one)

    Some definite classics in this group.

  4. Chris B

    1983 bitches!
    Trading Places
    The Dead Zone
    National Lampoon’s Vacation
    but of course, my favorite from that year would have to be Return of the Jedi, people tend to view it as the lesser of the trilogy, but I think it has the best lightsaber duel of them all….

      • Chris B

        Jedi is fucking awesome, you have the big space battle, the Endor shield generator assault, the whole sarlac pit sequence in the first act, the badass lightsaber duel, the empereor finally getting what he deserves, you even get to see under Vader’s mask! I remember the first time as a kid watching that. As luke was removing Darth’s shield I was thinking “holy shit! We actually get to see beneath the mask!” Such an emotional moment…such a great movie.

        • Little kid me was dissapointed with Darth Vader’s face, I was like, ” who’s that egghead?!” Grown up me loves Vader’s face. The Rancor scared the piss out of me! I still love that scene. I still remember when Vader picks up the emperor and QUIETLY throws him over the balcony. That was a moment to remember. My brother, sister and I talked about it for days.

  5. 1976. Year of the Dragon

    Assault on Precinct 13
    Rick Baker in a gorilla suit. Sorry, I’m nostalgic like that.
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    Marathon Man ( I need to pick it up on blu!!)

  6. Thulsadoom

    I would’ve said Star Wars, but it was one year after I was born. 76 was a good year for a lot of movies though. My favourite has to be Logan’s Run. I love that movie, even if it really shows the sudden jump between the height of Science Fiction at the time and then Star Wars.

  7. Elizabeth

    I was born in 1976. As a big John Carpenter fan, I have to go with Assault on Precinct 13. (Plus I’ve never seen Rocky.)

    • Thulsadoom

      I’m a huge Carpenter fan as well! 😀 I love Assault on Precinct 13, but Logan’s Run pipped it at the post for me.
      I’ve also never seen Rocky or Taxi Driver, to be honest. They’re just the kind of story’s for which I can’t find the enthusiasm to take the time to watch. Terrible, I know, given how critically acclaimed they are, but whenever I think “Hmm… I should watch that…” I just end up finding something else instead… 😉 (I’ve never seen The Godfather either!! I know! Shocking!! Pick up your jaws and get back on your chairs!)

  8. From 1973:

    The Exorcist
    The Sting
    Enter the Dragon
    American Graffiti
    Mean Streets
    The Wicker Man
    Soylent Green (It’s people!!!)
    Paper Moon
    and one of my personal favorites….Sleeper.

  9. Guy

    There are very few movies I’ve seen that I really, really like from my birth year, but it just so happens one of my all-timers is When Harry Met Sally… and luckily it’s a 1989 movie. There’s just something about the way Nora Ephron writes characters and witty dialogue that hits home for me; the special features suggest Reiner was involved in idea/conception form for a lot of the script as well. The Billy Crystal-Meg Ryan dynamic, as many have noted over the years, is one of the great screen pairings, but I’ve always loved Crystal’s screen chemistry with Bruno Kirby in their two movies together as well. The scene between them at the football game with this harrowing story being told as they keep absent-mindedly doing The Wave is just beautiful. Reiner, Ephron, Sonnenfeld’s lensing, the cast and New York City itself as a location were firing on all cylinders in that one. If only I agreed with the central premise. I’m a straight man with a straight female best friend. It can happen.

  10. DarAsh

    Being born in 1979 gives me the sole privilege to claim Alien. Until someone else comes out a saying they were born then.

  11. Greg


    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    A Nightmare on Elm Street
    Sixteen Candles
    The NeverEnding Story
    Police Academy
    Beverly Hills Cop

    etc, etc.

  12. Grant Miller

    Hmm, so many great movies to choose from in 1973. I’ve never seen the oscar winning The Sting. Come to think of it, looking at the list from Wikipedia there are a good many that I haven’t seen. However, being a big James Bond fan I could say my favourite that year was Live and Let Die, but I’d be lying. I have seen American Graffiti several tens of times but I still wouldn’t call it my favourite of that year.

    No, that distinction goes to the Disney animated movie Robin Hood. I remember humming the songs, developing an interest in archery and quoting lines from the movie. All this years after its release when I was between 5 and 10. Great movie.

  13. 1983 not bad selection – Scarface -Classic / Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi – last good Star Wars film / Risky Business & All the Right Moves – good year for the young Mr Cruise / The Right Stuff / Octopussy / Videodrome and if my mother knew this film came out same year i was born she would say ” that explains alot ” – Twilight Zone: The Movie 🙂

    • William Henley

      BTW, I realize Superman was 1978, but it was a December release, right before Christmas, and most of the rest of the world had a 1979 release. My mom saw it the day before she went in to have me.

      Other films from 1979 include Alien, Moonraker (probably one of the best Bond movies), Alien, Apocolypse Now, Mad Max, Life of Brian (this movie is very much underappreciated), The Jerk, All That Jazz, The Black Hole (I very much love this movie), 1941, The Muppet Movie, and The Jesus Film,

  14. ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Amadeus’ are amazing. I also get major Zyber props for being born in the DUNE year.

    My two favourite movies are from 1985, though. Best movie year for me.

  15. Probably my favorite of the year would be Dirty Harry.
    Other well-knowns (of 1971) are: Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Diamonds are Forever, Fistful of Dynamite aka Duck You Sucker, The French Connection, THX 1138, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

  16. Kyle

    There are quite a few from 1987 that i enjoy:

    Full metal jacket, Predator, The Lost Boys, Evil Dead 2, , Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Running Man, The Living Daylights

    But the one i probably enjoyed most was Hellraiser

  17. Paul J Anderson

    1970…basically a two horse race.

    M.A.S.H. vs Patton

    I love Patton and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture (yes I know that doesn’t mean much), but M.A.S.H. was an astounding film. It gets my vote for ’70.

    • EM

      I have been hating this question. It’s not a bad question. For many Roundtable questions, especially those for which I don’t feel I have a clear-cut answer off the top of my head, I turn to my movie collection and see what in there fits. The problem here is simple: I knew right away that I don’t have any movies from 1970. In fact, I had to consult the IMDb to even remember what 1970 movies I have seen.

      To try to improve the results, I went to my local library and engaged in a mini-marathon of four films released in 1970. For my Roundtable selection, I’ve decided to go with a film not in that marathon, that I saw a few years ago. That would be the sci-fi thriller Colossus: The Forbin Project, about a highly intelligent military supercomputer that seeks to take over the world (years before The Terminator and Skynet). Honorable mention goes to one of my marathon selections, Billy Wilder’s Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, which boasts an excellent cast and a frequently splendid script. I’d also like to cite the oft-hilarious Clint Eastwood–Shirley MacLaine western Two Mules for Sister Sara, which I saw a couple or so years ago when I was trying to expand my exposure to westerns, a genre I’ve never gotten much into.

      Incidentally, I have never seen M*A*S*H (I’ve read the source novel, though, and seen many episodes of the series) or Patton. My library carries M*A*S*H, but it wasn’t available for my marathon; I plan to make a point of seeing it sometime (it might have to be after the Christmas season…definitely after the Halloween season, anyway). Patton was available, but at nearly three hours it wasn’t good fodder for a quickie marathon…and frankly, I suspect it isn’t my kind of movie. (In my marathon I did watch one war movie: Catch-22, which turned out to not be my kind of movie itself.)

      • Chris B

        Wow, 1970 wasn’t the best year. Patton is pretty damn good and worth watching for sure, but other than that…slim pickins’!

        • EM

          Was Pickens in that? Another war movie I’d rather watch is Dr. Strangelove, which is in my collection and has ol’ Slim, but that’s from six years before my birth. 🙂

          While the movies from one’s birth year can present interesting trivia, I see, at least in my personal case, more relevance in the movies released during one’s formative years. 1982, the year I turned twelve, is the year boasting the greatest number of my personal favorites (personal favorites being those I have bothered to seek to incorporate into my collection). Indeed the 1980s is the decade boasting the greatest number of my favorites, if one counts “calendar” decades (i.e., sequences of ten years where only the final digit differs); if one counts any span of ten years, then 1977–1986 is the winner. Some of my formative-years favorites are films I saw and loved when they were new;and some I did not see until years, even decades, later.

          I don’t have any lists in front of me, but to the best of my recollection these are all the 1970 films that I have viewed and therefore considered for this Roundtable:
          The Aristocats
          Beneath the Planet of the Apes
          The Bird With the Crystal Plumage
          Colossus: The Forbin Project
          Count Yorga, Vampire
          The Dunwich Horror
          Even Dwarfs Started Small
          House of Dark Shadows
          Little Big Man
          The Phantom Tollbooth
          The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
          Two Mules for Sister Sara
          Watermelon Man
          Incidentally, for my mini-marathon, I checked out El Topo but did not have time to view it. There are other 1970 films I plan to get around to…

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