13 Popular Film Endings from the ’70s That Wouldn’t Be Acceptable in Today’s Cinematic World

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The cinema of the 1970s was characterized by bold storytelling and unfiltered depictions of societal issues. The endings, especially, would leave the audience feeling stunned and, at times, disturbed. However, some of these epic climaxes might not work in today’s era as the world has evolved. So, today, we’ll be looking at 13 Popular film endings from the ’70s that wouldn’t be acceptable today.

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A Clockwork Orange

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Released in 1971, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ was directed by Stanley Kubrick and showed the main character, Alex DeLarge, reverting to his violent self and fantasizing about violence again. This ending suggests that his violent nature was unchangeable as it was inherited. This celebration of his return to brutality would receive heavy backlash from today’s audience for its glorification of violence and lack of accountability for the crimes he committed.

Taxi Driver

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Martin Scorsese released ‘Taxi Driver’ in 1976. In the end, the protagonist, Travis Bickle, was hailed as a hero after a brutal shootout that overlooked his mental instability and potential violent tendencies. This left the viewers wondering if his recovery was natural or just his fantasy. According to today’s viewers, this ending promoted vigilant injustice and failed to address the psychological issue of the main character.

The Exorcist

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One of the classic cults of its time, ‘The Exorcist’ was released in 1973. Its ending showed Father Karras sacrificing himself to save Regan by allowing the demon to take over his body and take away his soul. Even though the portrayal of the sacrifice was depicted as a heroic move, some viewers today criticize it for perpetuating stigmas around psychiatric conditions and religious fanaticism through horror.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Released in 1975, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ had a pretty tragic ending where Randle McMurphy tried to kill himself while fighting against the oppressive mental institution, and his friend, Chief Bromden, suffocated him as an act of mercy before escaping. This problematic conclusion is likely to receive negative reviews in today’s time for its depiction of mental health treatment and the use of mercy killing.


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‘Grease’ was a light-hearted musical released in 1978 where Sandy had her wholesome image changed by wearing a provocative outfit to fit Danny’s rebellious lifestyle and win his approval. In today’s time, audiences would not like the transformation as much as it was celebrated back then as they believe that a woman need not change herself to gain a man’s love.

Animal House

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‘Animal House’ was a raunchy comedy film released in 1978. Apart from its whole storyline being filled with college students’ reckless and illegal behavior, its ending humorously narrates the characters’ future. Now, when issues like consent and substance abuse are considered sensitive, this movie’s glorification of the same is likely to receive backlash. People believe that it ignored the serious issues associated with such behavior and the impact it could have on the younger generation.

Love Story

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‘Love Story’ was an epic of its time that made everyone cry at the end. Jenny, the female lead, died at the end from an unspecified illness and gave the world an iconic line to remember: ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry.’ However, today’s generation feels that the romanticized view of suffering and forgiveness simplifies complex emotions and also promotes misleading messages about relationships and communication. They believe that it shouldn’t have shown love as ‘self-sacrificial.’


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‘Carrie’ was an adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ directed by Brian De Palma in 1976. The movie’s ending saw Carrie taking revenge on her bullies through her telekinetic powers in a violent manner. Today, viewers believe that the film should have promoted more positive resolutions to such issues rather than violent revenge, as the portrayal of violence as a response to bullying glorifies revenge.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, released in 1974, featured the story of Sally, a lone survivor who had escaped Leatherface and his family’s control. It had a chilly ending, with Leatherface maniacally dancing with his chainsaw at sunrise. Although it was a horror classic of its time, people might criticize it for its portrayal of extreme violence and lack of resolution for the victims.


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‘Chinatown,’ released in 1974, had a devastating ending with the iconic line ‘Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.’ The corrupted Noah Cross won, and Evelyn and her daughter were left with a tragic fate. While it showed the reality of systemic corruption and abuse, the audience might not like it because it lacks some form of justice or hope.


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‘Network’ was released in 1976 and had a pretty horrifying ending where a news anchor named ‘Howard Beale’ was murdered live television by the network executives he criticized. It was a dark satire and was sensationalized by the media. However, viewers today feel it is too extreme, which promotes suspicion regarding ethical media practices and the value of human life. They argue that its depiction of showing the media as willing to sacrifice individuals for ratings would set a wrong idea in people’s minds.

The Deer Hunter

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The Deer Hunter was released in 1978 and based on the War between America and Vietnam. It ended with the characters singing ‘God Bless America’ after the trauma caused by the Vietnam War and the suicide of Nick. While it was considered a patriotic conclusion back then, it might be criticized for portraying patriotism as a response to profound personal and collective trauma. People believe that it took the emotions and ethics surrounding the Vietnam War lightly and ignored critical aspects.

Straw Dogs

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Directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1971, Straw Dogs featured an ending in which David Sumner violently defends the intruders entering his home. However, it might not resonate well with today’s audience due to its toxic masculinity and glorification of violence as a means of resolving conflict.

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