While the 50s and 60s defined Indian cinema, the 70s took it to a whole new level. This was also the decade when Indian cinema discovered the gems in superstars like Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. The former ruled the industry in the first half of the 70s, whereas the latter took over in the second half and is still the ultimate Shehenshah of Indian Cinema.
The decade is also famous as it also introduced some of the most iconic pairs of Bollywood such as Amitabh-Rekha, Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Tagore, and Dharmendra-Hema Malini. Besides the actors, several actresses like Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore, Rekha, Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman, etc. made their presence felt in Bollywood with their superb acting and dancing skills.
Best Bollywood Movies of 1970s
It was tough for us to make a list of best Bollywood films of the 70s as there are so many of them. However, we have tried our best to sort out the top 70s Bollywood films.
Here’s the list of Best Bollywood films of 1970s
Mera Naam Joker (1970)
Considered as one of the longest films in Indian film industry, Mera Naam Joker didn’t fare well at the Box Office. However, over the years, the film gained a cult following owing to the superb music and overall scripting of the film that displays the life of a Joker.
Purab Aur Paschim (1970)
Purab Aur Paschim is a pure Indian film that highlights the values of Indian traditions and culture against the luxuries of the Western culture. The film stars Manoj Kumar, in one of his Bharat characters, and Saira Banu, as his female lead. The film is considered as a patriotic drama and a must watch if you want to relive the influence of Western Culture during that era.
Kati Patang (1970)
One of the films featuring the actor-director pair of Rajesh Khanna and Shakti Samanta, Kati Patang is the film adaptation of Gulshan Nanda’s novel of the same title. The film is known for its legendary music by R.D. Burman and songs voiced by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.
Sachaa Jhutha (1970)
One of the 17 consecutive hit films starring Rajesh Khanna, Sachaa Jhutha is a 1970 film directed by Manmohan Desai. The character portrayed by Rajesh Khanna as simple village boy also won him the Filmfare Best Actor that year.
Johny Mera Naam (1970)
Directed by Vijay Anand, Johny Mera Naam is a 1970 crime action film starring his brother Dev Anand in the lead role. The film tells us the lost and reunited story of two brothers portrayed by Dev Anand and Pran, whereas Hema Malini, Iftekhar, I.S. Johar play pivotal roles in the film.
Anand is a 1971 Hindi drama film starring two of the legendary actors Bollywood ever produce. While one of them, Rajesh Khanna, was already at his peak, the other, Amitabh Bachchan, was still finding his foothold in Bollywood. Unfortunately or fortunately, Anand is the only film that saw these two actors together in a movie.
Guddi is one of the remarkable films starring Jaya Bachchan in the titular role. Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Guddi is about a girl who is obsessed with the film star Dharmendra. The film also stars Utpal Dutt in an important role whereas superstars like Rajesh Khanna, Naveen Nischol, Asrani, Amitabh Bachchan, Om Prakash, and Pran also played a cameo as themselves in the film.
Also Read: List Women-Centric Bollywood Films
Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
Hare Rama Hare Krishna is a 1971 Hindi drama film centered on a brother and a sister who are separated and later united in the film. The film stars Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman as the siblings, whereas Mumtaz plays the second female lead. The film also featured the decline of the Hippie culture and tried to convey an anti-drug message to the viewers.
Pakeezah is a 1972 cult classic film directed by Kamal Amrohi. The film is considered to be loosely based on the love story of real-life couple; Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari. Meena Kumari also portrays the female lead in the film, whereas Raaj Kumar plays the male lead.
Amar Prem (1972)
Amar Prem is yet another Rajesh Khanna–Shakti Samanta film released in the 70s. It is one of the 17 consecutive hits by Rajesh Khanna in the 70s. The film is the remake of 1970 Bengali film Nishi Padma directed by Arabinda Mukherjee. The film tells us the story about a budding mother-son relationship between a young boy and a prostitute neighbor played by Sharmila Tagore.
Koshish is a 1972 Hindi drama directed by Gulzar. The film features a deaf and mute couple who are leading a happy life spreading joy and hope around them. Starring Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bachchan in the lead roles, the film is about hope and determination.
Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Bawarchi is Hindi comedy film starring Rajesh Khanna in the titular role. The film tells a story of a family where all the family members despise one another. However, when a Bawarchi (Chef) enters the scene, the tensions and hatred among the family members turn to love and care. The film also stars Jaya Bachchan as the female lead, whereas Asrani, Usha Kiran, A.K. Hangal, Durga Khote, and Harindranath Chattopadhyay also play pivotal roles.
Bobby is directed by Raj Kapoor and the debut film of his son, Rishi Kapoor, as a male lead. Bobby also happens to be the debut film for Dimple Kapadia as well. The film began the trend of teenage romance with the rich vs. poor class as the biggest hurdle in the love story.
Yet another Hrishikesh Mukherjee film that makes it to our list of best Bollywood films of the 70s is Abhimaan. The film stars the real-life couple Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan and is themed around the life of playback singers. As per author Raju Bharatan, the film was based on Kishore Kumar and his first wife, Ruma Ghosh.
Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973)
Yaadon Ki Baaraat is a 1973 action drama film starring Dharmendra in the lead role. Directed by Nasir Hussain, the film is based on the popular lost and reunite trend in Bollywood. The film has become immortal in the history of Indian cinema for its soundtrack composed by the legendary composer R.D. Burman.
Garm Hawa (1973)
Garam Hawa is an Urdu film starring Balraj Sahni in the lead role. Directed by M.S. Sathyu, the film is written by Kaifi Azmi and Shama Zaidi. The film was actually adapted as a feature film from an unpublished short story by noted Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai. The film is set during the partition of India in 1947 and focuses on the dilemma of Salim, portrayed by Sahni, whether to join other family members and move to Pakistan or stay back.
Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (1974)
Roti Kapda Aur Makaan is a 1974 social drama focusing on the basic necessities of life. The film was written, produced, and directed by none other than the patriotic hero of all times, Manoj Kumar. He also plays the lead in the movie alongside Shashi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, and Moushmi Chatterjee, whereas Amitabh Bachchan, Madan Puri, and Prem Nath play supporting roles.
Deewar revived the angry young man avatar of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan after his first blockbuster film Zanjeer. The film was directed by Yash Chopra and was centered upon the rivalry between two brothers. Besides Amitabh Bachchan, the film also features Shashi Kapoor as his brother and Parveen Babi as his lover. Neetu Singh and Nirupa Roy also play pivotal roles in the film.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
Chupke Chupke featured Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra together for the first time before they became the iconic friendship models as Jai and Veeru later in Sholay. Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore played the lead in this light comedy film, whereas the real-life couple Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan played supporting roles. Veteran actor Om Prakash also played a strong and important role in the film giving one of his best performances in Bollywood.
There’s no way the list of best Bollywood films of the 70s gets completed without the mention of the epic action adventure film Sholay. Even today, Sholay is considered a benchmark in Bollywood film fraternity. It featured an ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan and others.
Aandhi is a 1975 political drama Bollywood Film featuring Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen in the lead pair. The film is directed by Gulzar and it is often said that the story of the film is based on the life of the then-Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and her estranged husband Feroze Gandhi. However, the suspicions were cleared by the director later suggesting that only the look of the female lead was inspired by the PM and another politician Tarkeshwari Sinha.
Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Amar Akbar Anthony is another benchmark set for the popular Bollywood trend of lost and reunite formula. The film tells the story of three brothers, who are lost during their childhood and eventually reunite with one another at the end under various circumstances. The three brothers as well as the titular characters are portrayed by Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, and Amitabh Bachchan respectively. Shabana Azmi, Neetu Singh, and Parveen Babi play the female lead, whereas Nirupa Roy and Pran play supporting roles in the film.
Trishul is another sibling rivalry film featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor. However, this time, they are the step brothers and their father’s role is portrayed by Sanjeev Kumar. While Vijay, the illegitimate son, grows up to get his revenge against his father Mr. Gupta, Shekhar, his step brother stands in between. The film also stars Hema Malini, Rakhee, Waheeda Rahman, Poonam Dhillon, and Prem Chopra in important roles.
Also Read: All Famous Dialogues of Trishul
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
Directed and produced by Prakash Mehra, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar is one of the 70s hit films featuring the actor-director pair of Amitabh Bachchan and Mehra. The film is about a orphaned kid, who makes his own destiny as he grows up but later fails in love and life. The film also features Vinod Khanna, Rekha, Rakhee, and Amjad Khan in important roles.
Don is an iconic film for the mere fact that it has been remade over and over again in multiple languages and multiple decades. Featuring Amitabh Bachchan in the titular role, the film tells the story of a young man who is a lookalike of the most wanted criminal called Don. The film also stars Zeenat Aman as the female lead whereas Pran, Iftekhar, Helen, and Om Shivpuri play pivotal roles.
Gol Maal (1979)
Gol Maal is a 1979 comedy film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The film tells the story of a young man Ramprasad Sharma, played by Amol Palekar, who struggles in life without any job and has the responsibility of a young sister. Well, things get interesting and comical when he disguises himself as a non-existent twin brother and creates Laxman Prasad Sharma. The film also stars Utpal Dutt in one of his iconic Bhavani Shankar avatar, alongside Bindya Goswami, Deven Varma, Om Prakash, David, Manju Singh and others in supporting roles. The film also features Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman, Aruna Irani, and Lata Mangeshkar in their cameo appearances.