10 Conspiracy Thrillers From the 1970s that are fantastique!


The high-tech conspiracy tales have their roots in the 1970s, which saw a great upsurge of movies about secret governments, corporate cabals, assassins and surveillance. The result was a decade’s worth of extremely entertaining thrillers. Here are the ten films you must watch.

The Parallax View (1974)

This is a gripping paranoia political thriller which happens to be an adaptation of Loren Singer’s novel. The story follows a journalist Warren Beatty who stumbles upon a discovery of an assassination complex involving the Parallax Corp (a security organization) which deliberately seeks out social misfits, dispatched by clients to murder political figures of various persuasions. Alan J. Pakula’s direction is the real standout here.

The Conversation (1974)

Francis Ford Coppola’s tale of a surveillance expert forced to confront the consequences of his work was written in the 1960s, and is rooted in the new American anxiety of the time, the idea that behind every ideal was a rotten, festering truth. The story hinges on an internal conflict within an anonymous corporation, not a broader plot against the public good and the film stars Gene Hackman who is a professional surveillance expert. His resurgent conscience involves him in murder and leads to self-destruction.

The Domino Principle (1977)

A surprisingly muddled direction from Stanley Kramer the movie’s got one of those scripts where smart people suddenly do stupid things because the screen-play requires it, and it includes more than one heavy-handed conversation in which characters articulate themes that didn’t really need to be stated aloud. Gene Hackman, who’s great as always, plays a convict quietly directed into becoming an assassin for a mysterious, apparently all-powerful organization. The upside – seeing Candice Bergen in her golden days.

All the President’s Men (1976)

Pakula’s follow-up to Parallax tells the Watergate story from the Washington Post’s point of view and fetishizes America’s now-defunct newsroom culture that once assured to keep America’s political procedure honest (if not accountable.) That story, of course, is the Watergate break-in of Democratic National Headquarters June 17, 1972, and the trail that led to the White House.

Good Guys Wear Black (1978)

This is an embryonic form of Rambo: First Blood Part 2 and all the other bloody MIA/POW movies of the 1980s. This flick quickly morphs into a ’70s-style conspiracy thriller foundation in this movie that goes over into classic Chuck Norris martial art action and Norris tracking down the well-placed plotters who sabotaged his mission. Chuck Norris teaches an ambitious beaurocrat the hard way that US soldiers are not expendable for his self-serving diplomatic purposes.

Executive Action (1973)

This conspiracy theory drama showcasing the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy by a band of wealthy right-wingers for their personal gain somehow manages to be both incredibly innocent and deeply cynical at the same time, as though the filmmakers couldn’t imagine an evil elite without also making the plotters’ target improbably pure. The story is engaging, especially for fans of political intrigue.

Telefon (1977)

Though this almost sounds like a conventional espionage movie, it’s an action picture, an intriguing spy thriller from Don Siegel where a spy tries to stop a rogue Russian from activating a network of brainwashed assassins scattered across America. But the hero works for the KGB, not the CIA. Walter Wager’s novel was adapted into a screenplay that is credited to Stirling Silliphant and Peter Hyams.

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Three Days of the Condor transforms the original novel in ways that slice sympathetic CIA men out of the story and give the villains’ crimes a more political edge and also pits its CIA-analyst hero against his own agency; the film is though undermined by a subplot that was surely over-egged even when it was made. At its best moments, Three Days of the Condor creates without effort or editorializing that sense of isolation—that far remove from reality—within which super-government agencies can operate with such careless immunity.

Cutter’s Way (1981)

The film moves with an easy uncoerced swing: moment by moment, scene by scene, we are unsure what to think or where we are going; it is constructed like a thriller; but instead of reaching for thrills, it leaves them in the background and concentrates on the complexities of its characters. Based on Newton Thornburg’s novel, Cutter and Bone opened to dismal reviews and nonexistent box office, but a second wave of critical evaluations – a positive batch this time – led to a title change, a theatrical re-release in the same calendar year and, if not financial riches, the start of a sustained standing as a cult flick.

Winter Kills (1979)

This is a wild and funny ride through virtually every conceivable villain in a JFK assassination conspiracy—mobsters, federal agencies, anti-Castro Cubans, even Hollywood entangled in a web of darkly comic paranoia, spun by an endless parade of iconographically aggressive guest stars—John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone, Ralph Meeker, Richard Boone, Toshiro Mifune, Elizabeth Taylor. The dead president here is called “Timothy Kegan,” but Kennedy is the obvious inspiration. Based on Richard Condons 1974 novel William Richert directs this movie, a roman a clef about the Kennedy family set several years after the President’s assassination.

That’s all folks!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[+] Zaazu Emoticons