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The Best Adventure Movies of the 1970s, Ranked

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The Best Adventure Movies of the 1970s, Ranked

Adventure films are an exploration of known and unknown environments. The hero’s journey involves the rise and fall of a character, learning who he is, where he’s going, how far he’s come, and what he must overcome. Many adventures use historical significance and settings as their premise. As events unfold, the character adapts and fails, leaving behind old comforts in search of new knowledge. Until he reaches his fulfillment, the hero, no matter how unlikely, opposes the powers that be. He rebels against conformity, control, and normalcy. He remains resolute in the pursuit of change, happiness, and truth.

The heroic outlaw Robin Hood represented the fight against injustice, stealing from the rich and giving back to the poor, supporting the serfdom in the feudal system during the Late Middle Ages. Swashbuckler and Spanish vigilante Zorro defended his native Californians from corruption. Clever-talking, opportunistic pirate Long John Silver is courageous and wise with his treasure and seafaring enemies. Adventurers continue to grace the silver screen, and the ’70s are rife with daring excitement.


8 The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Columbia Pictures

The Man Who Would Be King is an adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling novella of the same name, starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery. Both men are former non-commissioned officers of the British Army from British India. With most of the world becoming developed, the two find no more purpose in being soldiers. They find themselves in remote Kafiristan, a part of Afghanistan, where they plot to inflate the country’s power to then steal its riches. Their scheme is postponed when they’re lauded as kings for conquering and surviving a battle.

7 The Three Musketeers (1973)

20th Century Fox

The Three Musketeers are Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, skilled swordsmen who challenge Paris newcomer d’Artagnan for his faux pas encounters. A novice with a sword, d’Artagnan aspires to be a swordsman for King Louis III. They band together, teaching d’Artagnan the ways of the musketeer to defeat the French elite Cardinal Richelieu and his plot to overthrow the king’s court.

6 Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Star Trek_ The Motion Picture (1979)
Paramount Pictures

More of a thinking man’s adventure, Star Trek: The Motion Picture is set 300 years in the future, during the 23rd century. The Starfleet Command has detected a nebulous energy that destroys everything in its path. The USS Enterprise is tasked with preventing the alien entity from colliding with Earth. Captain Kirk enlists the help of Commander Spock to communicate with the unknown presence. When they make contact, they discover a hybrid anomaly unlike any other.

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5 Time After Time (1979)

time after time-1979
Warner Bros.

Time After Time follows author H.G. Wells, who has become a celebrity in 1893 London. At a dinner party, he shows his disbelieving guests a time machine. Before long, coppers arrive to arrest a suspect they believe is Jack the Ripper. During the interruption, the suspect has traveled through time to the year 1979, and Wells follows him to the future to turn back the clock.

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4 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

EMI Films

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a parody of the legend of King Arthur and his quest for the Holy Grail. Arthur travels all over Britain, recruiting men for his fellowship, the Knights of the Round Table. The peanut gallery of dimwitted knights were on their way to Camelot, but Arthur decided to change course after divine intervention from God told him to search for the prized chalice. They face formidable foes like rude French soldiers, the Knights Who Say “Ni!”, and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog in this alternative and funny historical tale.

3 Zorro (1975)

Zorro (1975)

Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega. He resides in Pueblo of Los Angeles in Alta, California, where crime is the norm, from the poorly civilians up to its political leaders. Diego warns his friend Miguel de la Serna, wanting to become a voice of reason, about Colonel Huerta, a dictator in his own right. Huerta has Miguel assassinated, leading Diego on a path to vigilante justice.

2 The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

the golden voyage of sinbad-1
Columbia Pictures

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is based on Sinbad the Sailor, collected in the Middle Eastern folk tale anthology One Thousand and One Nights. In this fantasy adventure, Sinbad and his crew come across a golden tablet discarded by an unidentified flying creature, followed by premonitions of a dark magician and a woman with an eye tattoo on her hand. His ship crashes on the shore of Marabia, where he meets the golden-masked Vizier. He tells Sinbad the amulet belongs to a puzzle map, which reveals the location of the Fountain of Destiny on the forgotten continent of Lemuria, home to dangerous guardians and monsters.

1 Star Wars (1977)

20th Century Fox

Star Wars is one of the greatest adventures ever told. Luke Skywalker, a moisture farmer, inadvertently saves the galaxy from the imperialist clutches of the Galactic Empire. Luke is joined by Ben Kenobi, a freedom fighter for the Galactic Republic, now known as the Rebellion or the Alliance to Restore the Republic, who teaches Luke how to use the Force and become a Jedi. They hire smuggler Han Solo and Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca to fly to Princess Leia Organa’s rescue, who intercepted plans that share a weakness in the Empire’s planet-killing space station, the Death Star, before destroying the destroyer from their secret Rebel base.

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