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Leading Man Tournament Week 5: The 1970s

We’re entering the 1970s and the more modern actors that everyone should know (although the current generation only knows them as “those old guys”).  I’ve probably mentioned this with all the other weeks but we have a fairly diverse range of actors here who encompassed all sorts of genres in the 1970s and a few have also found recent success as directors!  I didn’t hear back in regards to cutting this tournament early and considering that we have an even eight decades I’ll go through the 2010s and reassess once the tournament is over.  If you’re just joining into the tournament remember asterisks next to titles indicate I’ve reviewed this, voting closes next Sunday, June 24th!


Films That Secured His Nomination:  Play Misty for Me, Dirty Harry, High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Magnum Force

Go ahead, make his day…and vote!

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  I’ve seen a fair amount of Eastwood’s later acting and his directorial work (Mystic River is one of my favorite films).  I have seen Play Misty for Me and enjoyed it (who doesn’t love a crazy Jessica Walter?) but I’m still working my way up to Dirty Harry.  Eastwood epitomized the guy on both sides of the law from Dirty Harry to his spaghetti Westerns and is iconic of the decade.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Parallax View, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait

Faye Dunaway would vote for him!

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  I know Bonnie & Clyde is 1967 but that seems to be the only images I could find.  Either way Beatty ushered in the 70s with this gangster film and he’s an expert blend of Hollywood machismo, glamour, and the type of playboy we haven’t seen since William Holden!  I love Beatty’s slate of films both past and present (although Ishtar is evading me, I’m sure for good reasons).  The films above not only represent Beatty’s acting accolades but are also representative of the decade and discuss many of the political issues that were going on during the time.  Shampoo secured his nomination and I should do a review of it in the future because it’s hilarious.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  The Way We Were, The Sting, The Great Gatsby, Three Days of the Condor, All the President’s Men

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  I’ve seen The Great Gatsby and as an English major, that probably shouldn’t have been my introduction to Redford (I’m judgemental of my adaptations).  Since then I have two of Redford’s prominent roles in my possession so I’ll be doing reviews of The Way We Were and The Sting in the future which should give me a better assessment of him as an actor.  I’m well-versed though in Redford’s creation of the Sundance Film Festival and my mother personally harassed me to include him in this tournament.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  The Godfather, Serpico, The Godfather: Part II, Dog Day Afternoon

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  Sadly Pacino was a last-minute addition after I switched out another actor but that doesn’t mean Pacino is representative of the 1970s.  He made two legendary films in that decade alone with the Godfathers I and II.  He also did one of my favorite bank robbery films Dog Day Afternoon.  It’s sad to see what Pacino has become in recent years, a caricature of himself so I recommend checking out his 70s body of work and discovering what an amazing and challenging actor he once was.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  Five Easy Pieces, Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Nicholson will stare you down and make you vote for him!

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  Who doesn’t love Jack Nicholson?  He can be crazy, silly, dramatic and even when he’s being one there’s a rogue strain of lunacy bubbling under the surface.  From the tough as nails detective in the neo-noir Chinatown, to the asylum inmate trying to shake things up in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nicholson is our wildcard in this tournament as well as in his film career.


Good luck to our nominees!  Happy voting!

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

6 thoughts on “Leading Man Tournament Week 5: The 1970s Leave a comment

  1. You mean, mean person. I have no idea who to vote for. I’m not a huge Clint Eastwood fan – but apart from him, I want to vote for everyone else on this list. 😦

    Love the new look, by the way!

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