The seventies were a time of cultural revolution, marked by social change, political upheaval, and a vibrant explosion of artistic expression. In the world of cinema, this era gave birth to some of the most iconic and influential films in history. Interestingly, many of these films featured cocktails as important elements, using them to convey themes, character traits, and the spirit of the times. In this article, we will embark on a journey through the past and explore the seven most iconic cocktail movies of the seventies.
“The Godfather” (1972)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, “The Godfather” is a cinematic masterpiece that introduced the world to the complex and captivating Italian-American mafia. Cocktails, especially martinis and whiskey, play a pivotal role throughout the film. These beverages symbolize power, control, and the fine line between camaraderie and betrayal in the world of organized crime. Notable cocktail moments include Don Vito Corleone’s profound discussions over a glass of Scotch and Michael Corleone’s transformation over a Martini.
“Casino” (1995, Set in the ’70s)
While “Casino” was released in the nineties, it’s set in the tumultuous seventies and deserves a place on our list. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this film offers a gritty portrayal of mob-controlled casinos in Las Vegas. Classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Tom Collins take center stage, mirroring the excess and decadence of the era. Cocktails in “Casino” are not just drinks but reflections of the characters’ desires and flaws.
“Saturday Night Fever” (1977)
Directed by John Badham and starring John Travolta as Tony Manero, “Saturday Night Fever” is an iconic disco-era film that captures the spirit of the late seventies. Amidst the dazzling disco balls and dance floors, cocktails like the Tequila Sunrise and Grasshopper make appearances, adding a touch of glamour to the nightlife scenes. Tony’s signature drink, the 7 and 7 (Seagram’s 7 Crown whiskey and 7 Up), is a nod to the cocktail culture of the time.
“Annie Hall” (1977)
Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” is a timeless romantic comedy that explores the quirks and complexities of relationships. While cocktails are not the central focus of the film, there’s a memorable scene where Alvy Singer (played by Woody Allen) and Annie Hall (played by Diane Keaton) attempt to order cocktails they can’t pronounce. This humorous moment highlights the role of cocktails in setting the mood and atmosphere during social interactions.
Directed by Hal Ashby and starring Warren Beatty, “Shampoo” is a satirical look at the sexual and social mores of the seventies. The film features an array of classic cocktails, including martinis and champagne, which reflect the superficiality and excesses of the era. Cocktails in “Shampoo” are intertwined with themes of personal desires, infidelity, and the pursuit of happiness.
“Barfly” (1987, Capturing the ’70s Bar Scene)
Though “Barfly” was released in the late eighties, it authentically captures the gritty and unconventional bar scene of the seventies. Directed by Barbet Schroeder and starring Mickey Rourke as the semi-autobiographical character Henry Chinaski, created by writer Charles Bukowski, the film delves into the life of a hard-drinking writer. Cocktails, especially whiskey and beer, are central to the film’s narrative. “Barfly” offers a raw and unfiltered look at alcoholism and the culture of dive bars in the seventies.
“The Long Goodbye” (1973)
Directed by Robert Altman and starring Elliott Gould as the iconic detective Philip Marlowe, “The Long Goodbye” is a neo-noir film that subverts traditional detective tropes. Cocktails, particularly gimlets, feature prominently in the film. Marlowe’s character is often seen making and sipping gimlets, showcasing his laid-back and unconventional approach to detective work. The cocktail serves as a symbol of Marlowe’s idiosyncrasies and the changing times.
The seventies were a time of tremendous change and artistic experimentation, and the world of cinema was no exception. The seven iconic cocktail movies of the seventies discussed in this article offer a glimpse into this transformative era. In these films, cocktails are not mere props but integral elements that contribute to character development, atmosphere, and storytelling.
Whether it’s the power dynamics of “The Godfather,” the excess of “Casino,” the disco fever of “Saturday Night Fever,” the humor of “Annie Hall,” the satire of “Shampoo,” the raw realism of “Barfly,” or the subversion of “The Long Goodbye,” cocktails serve as cultural markers and narrative tools that transport us back to the vibrant and complex world of the seventies. These cocktail movies of the seventies remind us that a well-crafted cocktail can be more than a drink; it can be a reflection of an era, a character’s personality, and a storytelling device that stands the test of time. Cheers to the cocktails and cinema of the seventies!