Top Ten 1973

1. The Mother and the Whore
2. Love And Anarchy
3. The Spirit of the Beehive
4. Day For Night
5. The Exorcist
6. Amarcord
7. The Three Musketeers
8. The Long Goodbye
9. Don’t Look Now
10. Scarecrow


Awarded the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Giancarlo Giannini‘s work in Lina Wertmuller’s Love And Anarchy is the highlight of his career. Bug-eyed and with a wavering voice, he is captivating throughout the entire brilliant film. He was often the director’s muse, the two of them achieving the pinnacle of their international success three years later with Seven Beauties.

Honour Roll:  Helmut Berger, Ludwig; Timothy Bottoms, The Paper Chase; Rutger Hauer, Turkish Delight; Al Pacino, Serpico


Four hours of dialogue about life and love in grainy black and white doesn’t sound like a feel-good flick, particularly when one of the three members of the troupe at the head of the experience is constantly drowning her sorrows in whiskey and Coca-cola. All the same, The Mother And The Whore is one of the best, most exuberantly passionate films ever made, and much of the joy of the experience is due to the captivating presence of both Bernadette Lafont and Francoise Lebrun, who share the screen with an equal amount of vivacity, pathos and bewitching vulnerability.

Honour Roll: Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist; Glenda Jackson, A Touch Of Class; Marsha Mason, Cinderella Liberty; Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were


It never ceases to amaze how Robert Altman’s improvisational, experimental style can be applied to so many popular Hollywood genres; overlaying hardboiled detective fiction with his drawn-out rhythms and dry humour turns out to be a terrific success in The Long Goodbye, one of his finest films. The gem of the picture is in the performance by an aging Sterling Hayden as an angry, grizzled and actually quite dangerous writer who holds all around him in terrorized thrall.

Honour Roll: John Houseman, The Paper Chase; Jason Miller, The Exorcist;Al Pacino, Scarecrow; Randy Quaid, The Last Detail


Peter Bogdanovich directed nine year-old Tatum O’Neal to the youngest competitively-won Academy Award in history, but as adorable as she is, hers is not the most impressive performance in Paper Moon. Less screen time but more punch comes from Madeline Kahn as the sharp-tongued floozy who asks the little girl to let “me and my tits” ride in the front seat of the car. Kahn often stole every film she was ever in, and this one is among the best.

Honour Roll: Ingrid Bergman, The Hideaways; Linda Blair, The Exorcist; Valentina Cortese, Day For Night; Vivien Merchant, The Homecoming


It’s one of the most famous films ever made, and it truly deserves to be. Heavyhanded and definitely too long, The Exorcist also benefits greatly from the intelligent direction of William Friedkin, who donates as much of his energy towards creating genuinely sympathetic drama (in the character of the movie star who just wants to be a good mom) as he does towards exploiting the fun aspects of superstitious Catholicism. The result is a horror classic that is among the most enjoyable scary movies ever made.

Honour Roll: Robert Altman, The Long Goodbye; George Roy Hill, The Sting; Francois Truffaut, Day For Night; Lina Wertmuller, Love And Anarchy