Endless Summer: 1970s Tournament Recap

Unless we rigged the seeding somehow, there was really no way that the Endless Summer: 1970s Summer Blockbuster Tournament was not going to come down to Star Wars vs. Jaws.

It wasn’t the first time Steven Spielberg and George Lucas met in the tournament; Jaws chomped American Graffiti by a 30-3 margin in the Elite Eight round. But Lucas had his revenge — whether he’s Sith or Jedi is up to you — in the championship round, and Star Wars edged out Jaws to win the tournament. It wasn’t quite a Force choke, just a margin of 35 to 27.

Despite being the #1 overall seed, Star Wars definitely had a tougher path to the finals, felling underdog fan favorites like The Muppet Movie, Alien and The Rocky Horror Picture Show en route to victory. 

Jaws didn’t face a competitor with double-digit votes until the finals. Its closest previous competitor was The Omen, with nine votes, and Jaws won its Elite Eight and Final Four matchups by a combined score of 65 to 5. 

But in this clash of titans, there could be only one victor, so we congratulate Star Wars for winning our Endless Summer: 1970s Summer Blockbuster Tournament.

And we’re not done! The 1980s Summer Blockbuster Tournament — will begin next Tuesday, July 7 — this one with a full field of 64 and a fresh set of impossible choices for you to make about your favorites on Facebook and Twitter.

Until then, here are some notes about the 1970s Tournament and the full final bracket embedded below.

  • Heaven Can Wait, Warren Beatty’s Academy Award-winning 1978 film, was easily the Cinderella story — knocking out #1 seed Grease to make the Elite Eight before falling to The Amityville Horror in the Elite Eight. (That film also had a surprisingly sturdy showing throughout the tournament.) It’s not the last we’ll see of Beatty this summer; he’ll be back in late July for the 1990s tournament.
  • Fueled in part by online electioneering (totally OK, BTW), Rocky Horror had a good run up until its rendezvous with Star Wars. It made the Final Four with a narrow victory over Apocalypse Now, which had previously ousted #1 seed Animal House.
  • There were three 007 movies in this tournament: Live & Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Among them, Moonraker bowed out in the first round (losing to Heaven). The others didn’t have a chance of making it to the Elite Eight (against Alien and Graffiti, respectively). But Spy at least made a go of it against Graffiti, losing 25-12.
  • Every movie in the tournament got at least one vote along the way — even first-round sacrificial lambs like 1970’s Joe (up against Jaws) and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (up against Star Wars).


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An award-winning film critic and features reporter, Nick has professionally written or gabbed about movies for Illinois newspapers, national syndicates, Playboy, The Art Immortal, The Film Yap and Midwest radio stations. He once drummed in a Billy Joel cover band known as Silly Joel and freely presents his Letterboxd page to engage and mock if you wish: https://letterboxd.com/ragekage79/


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