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72 days until Oscar nominations. Let's talk '72

What's your favorite movie of 1972? My top ten goes like so...

01 Cabaret (Bob Fosse)
Come to the cabaret 🎵

02 The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
Everyone's favorite thing ever. Well, except mine. It's great, sure, but I have an ingrained deep resistance to the mass mainstream fetishizing / glamorization of organized crime. And Cabaret would be in my all time top ten were I to make one, so this has to take runner-up position.

03 What's Up Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich)
Babs in comedies 4ever - we lost so much when she got self serious by the early-80s.

04 The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
So exciting to think about / write about.

05 Deliverance (John Boorman)
Burt Reynold's rubber vest is everything.

06 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel)
Due for a revisit

07 Agguire the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog)
I know I was too young for this when I first saw it so need to reevaluate. The monkeys and the raft sure were memorable. Insane Klaus Kinski sure was inimitable.

08 Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41  (Shun'ya Itô)
Was this a Tarantino obsession? There was some reason why I saw it that I now can't remember but it's quite a trip.

09 Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock)
Not fully in love with this one but there are definitely masterful beats. At any rate Hitchcock's penultimate film is far superior to his uneven final effort Family Plot (1976). There's a really interesting chapter of the fascinating Psycho-inspired novel "What You See in the Dark" that alludes to Frenzy a bit. (Full disclosure: The author Manuel Muñoz is a friend but his incredible writing has won tons of awards so you don't even have to take our word for it that you should read his stuff!)

10 ...and I'm leaving a spot open because honestly I have plenty left to see from that year like The CandidateSounder and Sleuth. You?

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Reader Comments (42)

Cries & Whispers, without a doubt.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Sleuth is well worth seeing.
But love love LOVE the high ranking of What's Up Doc? Easily one of my favorite comedies and Madeline Kahn is legendary in it.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

I love Cabaret, truly, madly, deeply, but No.

Forget The Candidate. The Robert Redford masterpiece of that year is Jeremiah Johnson.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Tyler -- i count that as 73 since Oscar counts it that way. and it would be here.

November 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I was 8 years old in 1972, so my list is heavily influenced by early movie going experiences:

1) The Godfather
2) Cabaret
3) The Poseidon Adventure
4) Sounder
5) Deliverance
6) What's Up Doc
7) Jeremiah Johnson
8) Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex...
9) The Candidate
10)Pink Flamingos

Can we also take a moment to remember how beautiful Robert Redford was that year.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterhepwa

I'm looking forward to a Supporting Actress Smackdown for 1972.

Butterflies Are Free, Pete 'n' Tillie, Fat City, The Heartbreak Kid, and The Poseidon Adventure.

I need to do some catching up myself because I've seen only The Poseidon Adventure, though Shelley Winters would have been a worthy 3-time winner.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

If Cries and Whispers is 1973, then...

1. Cabaret
2. The Candidate
3. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
4. Images
5. Deliverance
5. What's Up, Doc?
6. The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
7. Play it Again, Sam
8. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

I was never a big fan of The Godfather; it might have seemed fresh when audiences saw it in 1972 but I had seen so many mafia movies by the time I saw it that it did not seem very distinctive.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Amazing year for cinema. I would include The Canterbury Tales, but maybe it's a 1973 release as well.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

I saw just 17 films from that year, so a top 10 may be too much.
my favorite 8 films are, in no particular Order:

Play It Again, Sam
What's Up, Doc?
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Pink Flamingos

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgeT

Top Ten Films of 1972 (alphabetical)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
The Cannibal Man
The Canterbury Tales
The Inner Scar, The
Last Tango in Paris
Red Psalm
What’s Up Doc?

(I know Last Tango wouldn't count for Oscar till 73, but by that logic, at least one of these films might not count at all, "Inner Scar," since it wasn't submitted by its country for best foreign film, and it never received a theatrical release in the US.)

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDan Humphrey

1 The Godfather
2 Deliverance
3 What's Up Doc?
4 Cabaret
5 Play It Again, Sam
6 The King of Marvin Gardens
7 Frenzy
8 Bad Company
9 Sleuth
10 The Poseidon Adventure

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I have The Godfather at #1, Cabaret at #2 (I'm still not sure who I'd give the Directing Oscar to - Coppola delivers a beautifully controlled epic, Fosse gives us some of the greatest dance numbers ever as well as the terrifying "Tomorrow Belongs to Me"). They're the top two for me - with Play It Again, Sam hanging around as well for light relief!

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I'm in the middle of doin' my 72 nominess,yes to Marlon and Liza,Frenzy has some gr8 supporting actress turns.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

The Poseidon Adventure
What's Up, Doc?
The Hot Rock
Prime Cut
The Candidate
Junior Bonner
The King of Marvin Gardens

I know the two biggies are missing but to be honest while both are excellently crafted films I've never cared that much for either Cabaret nor The Godfather.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I like...


November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

oh god...all Ive seen are Godfather, Deliverance and Way of the Dragon oops

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkris

my top 3
1. the godfather
2. 1776
3. cabaret

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoe

my top 3
1. the godfather
2. 1776
3. cabaret

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoe

For me, '72 was the year three of the five actress nominees would have shared the same last name - Sarah Miles( "Lady Caroline Lamb"), Vera Miles( "Molly and Lawless John") and Sylvia Miles( "Heat"). Those three fantastic performances would be enough on their own to put the films on my list of '72 favorites. I'd probably rank "Fat City" as the year's best movie. But I also loved "Play It Again Sam:, "What's Up Doc" and "Dr. Phibes Rises Again"
Never "got" all the adulation for "The Godfather" (it's okay) or "Cabaret" (hated the decision to jettison some of the stage play's best characters and songs). Lotte Lenya and Jack Gilford,added so much to the original . And their characters and songs were pretty much erased from the movie version. Much to its detriment, I felt..

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen

I'mma be controversial and say this: Cabaret is the only thing Liza's ever done that I actually liked.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCal

My Top 5:

What's Up, Doc?
Lady Sings The Blues
The Poseidon Adventure
Butterflies Are Free

Still can't believe Babs and especially Madeline Kahn missed out on nominations. They were truly "the top"!

I echo joel6: Both Cabaret and The Godfather are impressive films, but neither moved me.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNewMoonSon

1. The Godfather
2. Cries & Whispers
3. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
4. Cabaret
5. Deliverance
6. Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
7. Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
8. The Getaway
9. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)
10. Junior Bonner

This is what I can think of so far.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

the poseidon adventure
travels with my aunt
what's up doc

with cabaret winning

[of course, if it were up to me, cabaret would win each and every year]

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

The Godfather
Un Flic
Play it again Sam
The Candidate
Jeremiah Johnson
The Getaway
The Heartbreak Kid
Cries & Whispers

hon. mentions:

Seduction of Mimi
Slaughterhouse 5
Enter the Dragon
The Hot Rock

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel23

I haven't seen all the movies released in 1972, even some of the famous ones.
I saw these movies in different years, under different circumstances.

"Aguirre, The Wrath of God", dir. Werner Herzog, with Klaus Kinski

"Boxcar Bertha", dir. Martin Scorsese, with Barbara Hershey, David Carradine

"Cabaret", dir. Bob Fosse, with Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey

"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", dir. Luis Bunuel, with Fernando Rey

"Fellini's Roma", dir. Federico Fellini

"The Heartbreak Kid", dir. Elaine May, with Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin

"Junior Bonner", dir. Sam Peckinpah, with Steve McQueen, Ida Lupino

"The Rowdyman", dir. Peter Carter, with Gordon Pinsent

"The Ruling Class", dir. Peter Medak, with Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim

"Slaughterhouse-Five" (from the novel by Kurt Vonnegut), dir. George Roy Hill, with Michael Sacks, Valerie Perrine

"Sleuth", dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine

"Sounder", dir. Martin Ritt, with Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield

"Une belle fille comme moi" ("Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me"), dir. Francois Truffaut, with Bernadette Lamont

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I seriously believe that, after 1939 and 1962, this is the third best year in Hollywood history:

In no specific order:

The Godfather
The King of Marvin Garden
What's Up, Doc?
Pete'n'Tillie (Carol Burnet and Geraldine Page!)
Child's Play
The Candidate
Lady Sings the Blues
and, just because of Liz Taylor, X, Y and Zee.

Finally, 4 foreign-language gems;

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
The Discreet Charm of the Burgeoisie
Cries and Whispers
The Emigrants

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Great list never heard of # 8 I will have to see it

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

1. Cries and Whispers
2. Cabaret
3. The Godfather
4. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
5. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
All of the above are among my all-time favourites and 2/3 may as well be a tie, with 4/5 not far behind. So many [justly celebrated] masterpieces in the same year. One unfairly neglected one is:
6. My Childhood
Bill Douglas was a poet.
7. Bad Company
Less well known than some of the above (and some of the below) but impeccably written, acted and photographed nonetheless. Gorgeous enveloping classical storytelling.
8. The Candidate
9. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
Though both are perfect and revelatory and 8/9 feels far too low for each.
10. The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick

I do also quite like What's Up Doc and Deliverance - but WUD is just a tad too derivative of much better films, whereas Deliverance ultimately feels a bit slight for me considering the reputation. Though usually when I feel that way about a film, it just means I need to see it again.

November 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Nathaniel, agree that CABARET is one of the best films ever made.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEricB

joel6 I completely agree with your Top 3. 3 of my all time favorites.

I hadn't realized until reading all of these lists how many great movies were that year.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Lady Sings the Blues!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L.

2. „VISKNINGAR OCH ROP“ (Schweden)
8. „L'ULTIMO TANGO A PARIGI“ (Frankreich/Italien)
9. „LUDWIG“ (Italien)
10. „NYBYGGARNA“ (Schweden)

also good:
„IL CASO MATTEI“ (Italien) (Cannes x)
„ÉTAT DE SIÈGE“ (Frankreich)
„IMAGES“ (Irland)

„THE GODFATHER“ (USA) one of the most overrated movies in the history of cinema

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

Yes! What a fun year for Elizabeth Taylor! Such an adventurous actress, and her three 1972 movies make good use of her skills in comedy and satire. I don't care if they didn't make any money.

"X, Y, Z, and Co." Michael Caine makes a good screen partner for Liz. I love Edna O'Brien, who wrote the novel.

Then there's the two she did with Richard Burton.
"Under Milk Wood", a dramatization of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' radio play. Beautiful and charming. "Hammersmith is Out", an adaptation of the Faust legend (!) directed by Peter Ustinov, with Beau Bridges as Faust.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

For films released in the US:

1. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
2. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
3. Cries and Whispers
4. What's Up, Doc?
5. Cabaret
6. Solaris
7. The Godfather
8. The Heartbreak Kid
9. 1776
10. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex *but were afraid to ask

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTripp

Because it didn't reach America until 1977, I don't count Aguirre, the Wrath of God as a 1972 movie. It's in my All-Time Top 10 and would top just about any individual year's list. Also 1972 was the big year that Tokyo Story, after 20 years, finally came to America and Ozu was finally "discovered" here, finally only 10 years after his death. My Top 10:

1. The Emigrants
2. The Sorrow and the Pity
3. Cries and Whispers
4. Pink Flamingos
5. Slaughterhouse Five
6. Cabaret
7.Fellini's Roma
8.The Ruling Class
9. Sleuth
10. My guilty pleasure of the year Man of La Mancha. Yes, it's a piece of crap as a film, but what Sophia Loren and Peter O'Toole do in that film is so magical, that I could see it over and over again

Not a fan of The Godfather and really dislike Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Two English Girls and The Heartbreak Kid

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Cries and Whispers is Cannes 73. Wikipedia says it was released in US in 72, but it can't be, because it was elegible for the next year's Oscars.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal -

Cries and Whispers was released in New York City in late 1972 and won the New York Film Critics Awards for Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actress and the National Society of Film Critics Awards for Screenplay and Cinematography. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe that year for Foreign Film. But it didn't play in Los Angeles until 1973, so therefore wasn't eligible for Oscar nominations until 1973, when it was nominated for Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography and Costumes - with Sven Nyqvist winning for Cinematography.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterken s

@Adri. What a pleasure! Finally someone who has seen X, Y and Zee! Taylor was incredible, but so was Margaret Leighton. And just think that Leighton was then married to Taylor's ex-husband Micheal Wilding! That's what I call being civilized! Leighton died at 53, but -had she lived to old age- she no doubt would have become acting royalty, just like Maggie Smith or Judi Dench. The two-time Tony winner was outstanding in The Go-Between (Oscar nomination), Lady Caroline Lamb, The Madwoman of Chaillot and The Nelson Affair, to name just a few.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

The Poseidon Adventure holds a great place for me. When that film was shown on TV-it was an event to me.
The Heartbreak Kid is a Classic.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

What are you guys - lemmings?!
Nathaniel mentions The Candidate and almost all of you include it!
If he asked you to jump in front of a train would you do it?!
Just kiddin'! The Candidate IS a masterpiece and one of 1972's best movies.
I love Michael Ricthie - he made 4 great movies - Downhill Racer, The Candidate, Prime Cut and Smile, before his career got dragged into the mainstream where it subsequently died.
But that trilogy on The American Dream and Prime Cut are fucking classics.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

I remember being shocked (once I had finally seen both) that I actually enjoyed Lady Sings the Blues more than Sounder. lol. Sounder did not click with me at all and I really went in expecting to be floored by Cicely :/

Cabaret is one of my all-time favorite films, though. And The Godfather is pretty awesome too.

Haven't seen enough 72 films to make an extensive list, though.

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Nathan, you nailed it -- YES Cabaret definitely tops of '72 closely followed by What's Up, Doc. Bogdanovich's best with Barbra and Madeline Kahn in TOP FORM.
My other favorites:
The Getaway
Lady Sings the Blues
Crimes and Whispers
The Heartbreak Kid
Poseidon Adventure
The Ruling Class

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLoren King

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