The genre would get its big renaissance in the 80's, but there's absolutely no denying that the 70's brought about a more cynical, grayer edge to what would follow, and further, the "action" mold was more flexible and variable. Here's to those trailblazers.
1. Dirty Harry (Siegel, 1971)
I...I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots, or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off...you've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?
A tight-knit, fast-paced and thoroughly badass thriller that defined Clint Eastwood, the square-jawed showstopper of TV's Rawhide and Sergio Leone's Euro-Westerns, as a living legend and the antihero perfected. Steely narrative and deft direction at every corner of its 103 minutes and a profound, if less politically harmonious benchmark of the New Hollywood era.