The ’70s Is In Right Now—Here Are the Best Onscreen Depictions of the Decade

The ’70s. Rarely does something that’s such a pejorative (picture any home-design show host dismissing a kitchen, floor, or wall color as “so ’70s”) provide so much joy to watch in TV shows and movies. Perhaps it’s the sheer maximalism of the decade—the patterns, the textures, the heft of the furniture—or the fact that its screaming oranges, avocados, and mustards are so opposite of today’s popular calm and neutral tones.

Whatever the psychology, ’70s design trends in movies continue to delight audiences and inspire new generations of directors and designers, up to the present day. Films set in the time period are as plentiful and wide-ranging as ever—from the upcoming animated kids’ film Minions: The Rise of Gru (a prequel to the hit Despicable Me) to the recent A24 slasher film X, which starred Mia Goth as an adult film star. Add to this the full-force comeback of the disco ball, and we may just be living in a bona fide ’70s renaissance.

Below, AD rounds up the best examples of ’70s design to ever hit the silver screen.

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

John Travolta as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever.

Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

In a roundup like this, there’s no avoiding the movie that’s shorthand for the major style points of ’70s fashion and nightlife. Fever’s dirty secret is that it was pretty gauche upon release—those butterfly collars and flared pants went out almost instantly, as did disco itself. But it caught a moment in time that endures. Watching the movie today after two years of pandemic isolation, it plays almost as sci-fi: Those gauzy dance sequences really do suggest that magic could happen around the corner, and John Travolta’s peacock uniforms flash back to a time when confidence was inflation-proof currency.

Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Faye Dunaway in Eyes of Laura Mars.

Photo: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo

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