10. Animal House (1978)The best raunchy college comedy. Full of great characters and hilarious sequences (the roadtrip is my personal favorite).
9. Walkabout (1971)A mesmerizing, borderline-surreal vision of two children who wander across Australia after their father kills himself.
8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)Ordinary people faced with the extraordinary. This was Spielberg's bread-and-butter in the '70s and '80s, and this is one of his best. Great performances from Richard Dreyfuss and Terri Garr as the harried married couple.
7. The Last Picture Show (1971)Every character works in this small town, multi-character study by Peter Bogdanovich. Heartbreaking, funny (mostly thanks to Larry McMurtry's source novel) then brilliantly acted and beautiful filmed.
6.The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather 2 (1974)Greatness on every level. Two epic American movies better than their source material.
5. Annie Hall (1977)To me, this is Woody Allen's funniest film. And between the great one-liners is an amazing exploration not just of one particular relationship, but modern relationships in general.
4. Taxi Driver (1976)A razor-sharp character-study of an everyday psychotic. But Bernard Herrmann's score and Scorsese's dreamy direction turn this into something even more fascinating.
3. The Exorcist (1973)This film oozes evil and has not dated at all. Simply put, the greatest horror film, and some of the greatest in-camera special effects ever put on film.
2. Chinatown (1974)Never takes a misstep. Starts off almost jaunty and cocky like its main character, J. J. Gittes, then winds up in the muck of moral and institutional corruption.
1. Jaws (1975)Spielberg's first film, and my personal favorite of his. It's the best filmed version I've seen on the theme of man versus nature. And Roy Scheider's Chief Brody is the greatest reluctant hero ever.
runners up: Cabaret, A Clockwork Orange, Deliverance, Halloween, Manhattan, Star Wars