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The '70s
aka: The Seventies

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Camouflage for the 20th and three-quarters century.

Nite Owl: But the country is disintegrating. What's happened to America? What's happened to The American Dream?
Comedian: It came true. You're lookin' at it.

Ah, the Seesaw Seventies/Sordid Seventies: A time when love was free, peace was the sign of the times, people were shouting "me, me, me" through self-esteem, self-discovery and individual identity, and polyester was the fabric of choice. A period in history where the men wear polyester leisure suits with flaring trouser cuffs and huge ties while sporting heavily sprayed and styled hair, sideburns included. Not to be outdone, the women wore feathered, Farrah Fawcett hair above their slinky dresses with no bras underneath. Black people sported a huge, poofy afro as a Take That! to past straightening practices. Heck, even white people had afros if they could grow them! Most people spent at least 92 percent of their waking lives at the disco or behind the wheel of a car big enough to tow the RMS Titanic. Disco music with a tense "waka-chu-waka" beat often plays during chase scenes, or on pornos.

Elsewhere, Western Terrorists (and the Arab ones) are trying to blow up people, the United States is still losing in The Vietnam War, and the Summer Blockbuster is invented twice through Jaws and Star Wars. Media Technology reaches a turning point, as 8-track audio cassettes and the first versions of the VCR (U-matic in 1971, Betamax in 1975 and VHS in 1976) appear, as does the original LaserDisc (1978), the very first optical disc storage medium, and the very same technology that would later make CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and online possible. However, despite the new media technology, the old media technologies, namely the LP and film stock, are both still king as they had been for most of the 20th century. Movies like The Godfather's (I & II), Taxi Driver and Hardcore begin to deal with subjects once considered taboo due to the repealing of The Hays Code at the tail end of the preceding decade, and pornographic film becomes legal in the States. The world learns the meaning of Kung Fu thanks to a tough little guy from Hong Kong named Bruce Lee, while Evel Knievel Ramp Jumped everything from cars and trucks to double-decker buses and river canyons.

The first hints of a digital revolution touching mass markets appear during the mid-1970s, with the introduction of inexpensive microprocessors. Video games, personal computers, digital wristwatches, and pocket calculators are commercialized by a host of companies old and new. Incumbents in amusement arcades, companies like Williams and Gottlieb, rush to update their pinball games and other electromechanical games to incorporate the new solid state technologies. By the end of the decade numerous categories of machines are reinvented with electronics, changed from gears and chimes and clicking wheels to beeps and buzzes and digital readouts or video displays. "Memory storage" is a hot feature of many electronics. Larger computers, meanwhile, are a hot topic for researchers in all fields— the possibility of harnessing more data processing power is irresistible, and the decade proves to be a twilight for groundbreaking computer science, as later decades focus mostly on commercialization and diffusion of pre-1980 research.

The late 1970s are a good time to be a nerd if you're handy with a soldering iron, and if you aren't, you might be playing Dungeons & Dragons or reading Heavy Metal Magazine or The Silmarillion - it's a vibrant time for a whole cross-section of fandoms. Alternately, you might instead be interested in health and fitness. The idea of "jogging" for one's health is still relatively novel and unusual in this decade, but Vic Tanny "fitness clubs" had already been around for several decades, promoting the idea of "toning and strengthening" with machines. Bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno became more represented in the media through film and television roles, although leading men in action films were typically along the lines of Charles Bronson.

Television is changed forever by such ground-breaking shows as All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Saturday Night Live and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Meanwhile gentle family shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams found their own audience while The Fonz was ruling the kids' imagination while giving Robin Williams his big time start as the master comedian in Mork & Mindy, and Star Trek: The Original Series is Vindicated by Cable and develops a sizable fanbase, spawning a juggernaut franchise that would not die for... well, ever. While the kids have made the best of The Dark Age of Animation with Saturday Morning Cartoons like Superfriends and Scooby-Doo, they at least had PBS's breakthrough kids shows, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Sesame Street in their vibrant glory of its youth before they graduated to The Electric Company (1971), Zoom and Big Blue Marble. Traditional TV genres like the variety show had their last hurrah like Sonny & Cher and Donny And Marie while The Muppet Show became a universally hailed worldwide success. Game Shows become huge once again (after the 1950s quiz show scandals nearly became a Genre-Killer), with shows like The Price Is Right, Match Game, Family Feud and The Hollywood Squares becoming huge amongst people from all walks of life, with many others becoming either fondly remembered, or (due to tape erasure or Executive Meddling, typically) cult classics amongst game-show fanatics.

The Bronze Age of Comic Books begins, featuring death, politics, and "ethnic" superheroes for the first time ever since The Comics Code crippled the medium in the 1950s. That happened when Stan Lee wrote a government-requested anti-drug Spider-Man story, which the code was dumb enough to refuse to authorize because it portrayed drugs, forcing Lee to diplomatically defy them to considerable praise.

Punk Rock and Disco, two genres of music which continue to influence music to this day, come out during this decade, as does the first primitive Electronic Music under such bands as the German Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra from Japan and Suicide from New York City. The break-up of The Beatles however was the defining moment of the music era, as it created a power vacuum for any aspiring musician to make it big. Nonetheless, the early years of the decade are considered to be the zenith of Hard Rock (and rock music, in general), as easy listening was off the charts and modern pop music wouldn't drive rock from the top 40 until 1976. Alternative Rock, Heavy Metal and Rap Music took their first steps here too.

While this began late in The '60s, the 1970s really solidified the changes that would shape the world to this day. The Cold War slowed down as American and Soviet relations improved for the first time since 1945. American distrust for authority, while brewing during the war, began to really take form in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Crime and grime were on the rise and respect for law and order — from both criminals and their victims — began to decline in favor of the good old-fashioned "heads blown off" method. Furthermore, liberals and conservatives ended up at each other's throats more violently than ever before in the wake of events like Vietnam and Watergate, with western society becoming socially and politically polarized to a level never again reached until the emergence of the Tea Party in 2009 and (more notably) the political rise of Donald Trump in the mid-2010s.

The botched Apollo 13 mission (1970) (although the feat of getting the astronauts home alive was hailed as an achievement for NASA), the Munich Olympics massacre (1972), the Oil Crisis of 1973 and the American defeat in Vietnam (ended in 1975) broke forever the sense of security and confidence Westerners had had from 1946, although it arguably really began to crumble with the assassinations of John F. Kennedy (in 1963), Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy (both in 1968). Munich was notorious for introducing mass awareness of terrorism (soon thereafter the IRA would begin its bombing campaign in the UK) and the fallibility of basic security, and it was just the beginning. The energy crisis had Westerners running out of gasoline for the first time, showing the world just how dependent we all are on the Middle East, thus the post-war economic boom that dominated The '50s and The '60s ended in a recession, turning the American manufacturing Belt into the "Rust Belt". The welfare state-based economy that begun with the New Deal lost support and was replaced by the next decade with the laissez-faire "New Economy", heavily dependent on the banking industry, with its effects of mass speculation making finances more exciting — and riskier.

The environmental movement gained rapid speed as a result of the fuel shortages. In 1970, the first Earth Day was held, and in 1971, Greenpeace was founded. Many people worried that the world was on the edge of an environmental catastrophe. Among other things, people went informal with ties and suits being thrown away (except for going to work: "Casual Fridays" began in The '90s) and fashion rules being eliminated, stating that "there are no rules in fashion"; the animal rights movement also had its origins during this period. Political correctness is born along with Moral Guardians raising their voice; single parenthood transitions from taboo to become (sort of) commonplace while gay rights gain steam; women become an important part of the workplace; divorces quickly begin to outgrow marriages (although to be fair, many had married under the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s, especially the young) and couples begin to live together without marrying at all.

Covers roughly the period from the Kent State Massacre on May 4, 1970 to both the Presidential inauguration of Ronald Reagan and the end of the Iranian hostage crisis 20 minutes later on January 20, 1981 politically (replace with Margaret Thatcher if you're British). Culturally, roughly speaking, it started with the Tate-Labianca murders on August 8 and 9, 1969, the Altamont Free Concert on December 6, 1969 and the breakup of The Beatles on April 10, 1970 and ended with Disco Demolition Night on July 12, 1979, the murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980, and the launch of MTV on August 1, 1981. The most representative years are 1972 through 1978; the years before that still have some baggage left over from the 1960s (and, in some cases, even the 1950s), while in about 1977 the tropes begin to shift — the sideburns got shorter, mass entertainment (movies especially) moved in the direction of pure escapism for the first time since the mid-1960s, the "women's lib" movement went mainstream and lost most of its earlier radicalism, and the (then) avant-garde musical styles of punk, New Wave, heavy metal, Industrial and (to a lesser extent) rap started to slowly eclipse the more proletarian or petit bourgeois styles of hard rock, R&B, and soft pop. Much of the sleaze and cynicism of the earlier part of the decade also began to fade by this time: while disco is sweeping the nation, the Watergate legacy is repudiated by the election of the almost ridiculously idealistic and pure-hearted Jimmy Carter as President, and the rise of the Moral Majority within fundamentalist and evangelical Christian sects does a creditable job of rolling back (for a time, and to a degreenote ) the sexual carnival of the 1960s. But, needless to say, neither lasted beyond 1979 (the Carter administration, if not dead on arrival, clearly died with the Iranian hostage crisis), setting the bases for the turbulent 1980-1985 period.

A convenient Butt-Monkey or Hate Sink for modern observers, being with the 2000s the decade everyone loves to hate (or hates to love), although some consider The Roaring '20s, The '50s and The '80s to be Old Shames as well. It doesn't help that other "uncomfortable" eras like The Great Depression and The '60s have had redeeming qualities. In later decades however, there have been attempts to rehabilitate the time period in the public mind by portraying more of its liberalism and cultural diversity. Creators who grew up in this decade, such as Quentin Tarantino, have also played a role in reviving nostalgic interest in the culture of the era.

See Also: The Roaring '20s, The Great Depression, The '40s, The '50s, The '60s, The '80s, The '90s, Turn of the Millennium, The New '10s, and The New '20s.

Popular tropes from this time period are:

  • '60s Hair: Hairstyles of the first few years of the decade still had holdovers from the counterculture movement. Some women like Princess Anne Royal still sported beehives and bouffants well into the decade. New Wave acts such as The B-52s brought back beehives in the limelight later in the decade.
  • '70s Hair: Naturally. Some of the most famous hairdos of the decade included shags, Farrah Fawcett's feathery layered cut, afros for black men and women, curly perms, and thick mustaches for the men.
  • '80s Hair: Many hairstyles most associated with the 1980s already began in the late 1970s, such as mullets, ultra-poofy side-combed perms and the rebellious, spiky, colorful, androgynous haircuts of the Punk subculture that would become mainstream by rockstars and New Wave musicians in the next decade.
  • The Alleged Car: Pollution control systems were in their infancy, so cars stalling, sputtering, and backfiring were often the order of the day. Lemons: The World's Worst Cars makes note that during the seventies, "quality control" took a nose-dive. Noted auto journalist Peter Egan once dismissed the entire decade as The Era of Stupid Design while Dave Barry theorized that the first generation of American subcompacts were a Batman Gambit to discredit the very concept of a non-aircraft-carrier sized car.
  • Awful British Sex Comedy: While these originated in France, the Brit Percy and Confessions series became the Trope Codifier for low-budget softcore comedies, which also sparked imitators in Italy, Spain and Argentina. The hard-R comedies of the late '70s and early '80s, such as Animal House, were Hollywood's response.
  • Barbarian Longhair: After long hair on men had been stigmatized for most of the 20th century (even moreso after it became associated with hippies) the 70s saw men growing out their hair return to mainstream appeal, as rock and especially early metal musicians showed that men with long locks could be very manly and handsome indeed.
  • Be Yourself: The main driving force of The Me Decade.
  • Boyish Short Hair: While long hair was ideal in this decade, some women, from feminists to housewives and from disco divas to punks, opted for and rocked the short hair, with styles like shags, pageboys, and spiky pixie cuts at the forefront. There were even short hair variants of retro coifs, afros and feathered Farrah-esque flips.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: Illegal radio stations operating on boats to avoid prosecutions were still popular, but new government laws caused many of them to shut down. Many left to join mainstream radio stations, who'd already started to play more pop music that young people would enjoy.
  • But Not Too White: Bronzed skin was at its peak as a beauty standard, at least until the public awareness of the health risks such as skin cancer. Though cosmetic companies quickly jumped on this opportunity to market fake tans. The main reason tanning halted in the '80s was the trend of neon makeup, which shows up brighter on pale skin.
  • Commune: News about young people joining communes and being brainwashed by religious cults were still in the news, with the Jim Jones cult and the hundreds of deaths that it caused as the most disturbing example.
  • Cryptid Episode: With all things New Age and paranormal fashionable, cryptids were a popular subject for books and pseudo-documentaries, most famously The Legend of Boggy Creek.
  • Dance Sensation:
    • A staple early in the decade, reaching its peak with 1975's "The Hustle", one of the songs which popularized disco music.
    • In the later part of the decade, hardcore punks started to stomp and slam at one another in concerts, and the concept of moshing was conceptualized.
  • Darker and Edgier: Zigzagged (see Lighter and Softer below). The 1970s are usually seen as the hangover after the happy expectations everybody had during the golden sixties. The seventies were dominated by terrorist bombings, the Watergate affair, serial killings and the economic crisis. This was also the decade when people realized pollution was becoming a serious threat to nature. The happy peace loving hippie movement slowly petered out and was replaced by more commercialized trends like Glam Rock, Arena Rock, bubblegum pop and Disco. Crime rates were also on the rise, with cities such as New York City becoming major crime hubs during this decade. More drug-related deaths were reported, with Jimi Hendrix (d. 1970), Janis Joplin (d. 1970), and Jim Morrison (d. 1971) as the most famous examples. The death of Elvis Presley in 1977 also proved that the old Rock & Roll genre was now officially dead. Punk Rock came in as a nihilistic reaction against all this stuff, but even they quickly became commercialized as New Wave Music and Post-Punk made their entrance. The movies of this era were also a lot darker than the more colorful campy films of the 60s, from gritty crime epics to intense dramas that often ended badly for the main characters.
  • Double Feature: Two movies for the price of one was a mainstay in popular culture.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The Trope Namer was produced from 1971 to 1980.
  • Exploitation Film: Examples existed in earlier decades, but the genre is associated most with the 1970s, when entire new subgenres came into existence, like biker movies, cannibal movies, nunsploitation movies, slasher films, etc.
  • The Fashionista: As stated in a Vogue 1970 issue, there are no rules in fashion, and following the failure of the midi skirt as the de facto fashion statement, and a battle Fashion Show where American designers curb-stomped their French rivals at the Palace of Versailles in 1973, a fashion storm that embraced diversity started, and left a mark for future designers with different flavors of style in the catwalk, then leaving a disaster on the next decade.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish:
    • For Americans and much of the West, everything that is Chinese stepped into the scene after China slowly reopened its doors to the world, and President Nixon visited the country in 1972. The country brought forth stir-fried noodles, qipaos, chopsticks, pandas, Buddhism, Confucian and Taoist thoughts, acupuncture, and most especially, kung-fu!
    • The decade defined this trope regarding the embrace of ethnic diversity. Everyone daring enough would have worn clothing with African, Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern, or Eastern European motifs in it. Some would wear their respective motifs to embrace their heritage, and others would share each others motifs as a sign of globalization and openness.
    • For non-Americans, America, especially New York, was the financial and cultural hub of the decade.
  • The Fundamentalist: Far right wing Christians mobilized and organized in response to a case decided by the Supreme Court in the early 70s. No, not Roe v. Wade; it was the IRS v. their schools. They argued, and SCOTUS agreed, that if you refuse to serve half the community then you can't be said to serve the whole community and therefore don't deserve tax exempt status, thus bringing taxation to all of the private religious schools that opened up in the aftermath of Brown v. Board. The abortion thing came later when they realized "We want segregation." wasn't a good look in the mid-70s and focused on the least objectionable bit of eugenics (no abortions for white women) after observing the Catholic Church's positive press opposing it. The result was the Christian Coalition and it paved the way for Reagan and the flavor of the culture wars we've seen since.
  • Funny Afro: Hairstyle worn by many black people.
  • Gaze: A filmography theory that originated in this decade and serves to categorize how media is meant to be observed.
  • The Generation Gap: Still prominent, with younger Boomers clashing with their Silent Generation parents over social and political issues.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The short period of stability, economic growth, and liberalism from the end of The '60s onward in the Communist Bloc allowed a bit of openness to Western media, which made a lot of East Europeans adopt the fashions of the age (Russian Humour also stabbed with the sharp point of irony the fashion of flaring bellbottom trousers and '70s Hair), but they clung to them even 30 years too late, inasmuch as an average Russian from the early 2000s may think outfits with knitted sweaters and ties, jeans with fringes, checkered coats with elbow patches and handlebar mustaches, homes with bizarre pattern furniture, bars with pinball machines and nightclubs with disco balls are perfectly acceptable. Only by the mid-2000s did the middle-aged generation gradually abandon them.
  • Girliness Upgrade: After the 60s trends of mini skirts, countercultural looks, and space age designs, and inbetween the women's lib movement and the punk and metal scene, stood the soft feminine look, with the discourses on femininity, the refinement and polishing of the hippie styles and lifestyles, the resurged interest in handcrafting, and wearing long flowy dresses with fashions heralded by the pastoral frocks of Laura Ashley, the old Hollywood glam of Biba, the romantic rendezvous of Yves Saint-Laurent, the demure drapes of Halston, and the casual wraps of Diane von Furstenberg.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: With every man a KGB agent and every woman a Brawn Hilda, with a few Sensual Slavs thrown in for good measure.
  • Granola Girl: Concerns about health and the environment led to the inception of "healthy products", although this would not really take off until The '90s.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: How do we spice things up? By having people do some disco dancing halfway through, of course.
  • Greaser Delinquents: The subculture essentially died out in the last years of The '60s, save for a few holdouts in the Midwest, and what was left of that died out in the early 1970s. However, portrayals of greasers in fiction and pop culture start to pop up during this decade as nostalgia for The '50s starts to set in. The most famous greaser delinquent in fiction, The Fonz, became one of the most important pop culture icons of the decade.
  • Holiday in Cambodia: The 1970s was not a fun time for most of Southeast Asia, with one country being ravaged by war, another having its people being decimated by its government, two countries ruled by their respective iron-fisted dictators, and one city-state, after being kicked out by a federal monarchy, managed to rise on top socio-economically and would continue for decades to come. Nevertheless, Hollywood would produce media based on the horrors of the Vietnam war, such as The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now (which is set in Vietnam, but filmed in the Philippines).
  • Hotter and Sexier: They're not referred to as "The Saucy Seventies" for nothin', baby. In fact, the sexual revolution of the late 60s only took hold beginning in 1970.
  • It's All About Me: Well, it's not called The "ME" Decade for nothing. Tom Wolfe, coining the term, said that the '70s were the "Third Great Awakening." People acted more out of self-interest, contrasted with the pulling together for the common good of The Great Depression and World War II generations, the conformity of The '50s and the idealism (and later, the counter-cultural communitarianism) of The '60s.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Period pieces for this decade certainly have a goldmine to choose from. Leisure suits and bell bottoms are the biggest targets.
  • Jiggle Show: Practically every American TV show airing in the late 1970s certainly had some fanservice in it (Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie being the only exceptions), but shows like Charlie's Angels and Three's Company were quite blatant about it, their only reason for existing being to show the beautiful female stars in skimpy or otherwise form-flattering outfits.
  • Jive Turkey: Black people speaking in jive were a staple of popular culture back then.
  • LGBT Fanbase: A phenomenon making its public revival after the beginning of the modern gay rights movement and the easing of mandatory media/postal censorship.
  • Lighter and Softer: The earlier years of the decade were a welcome breath of relief from all the tensions that marked the late 1960s. Similarly, the years 1977 and 1978 became this after the middle of the decade was marked by political fallout and economic stagnation.
  • Limited Animation: Most of the worst products of The Dark Age of Animation would come out during this decade, and were strictly kids stuff, except for the occasional odd exception, like Ralph Bakshi's films (along with international and independent animation from Sally Cruikshank, NFB, Will Vinton, anything made in Japan etc)
  • Manly Man: This decade established the "alpha male"/"macho" archetype as the one way a real man was supposed to be.
  • Martial Arts Movie: Kung fu movies broke to the mainstream thanks to the success of Bruce Lee.
  • Messy Hair: Many people wore long windblown hair throughout the decade.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Actually, a new unisex bedsheet was introduced during the decade, mainly for Fanservice, during bedroom/sex scenes in R-rated movies; unlike the L-shaped His 'n' Hers Bedsheet that falls to the man's waist and covers up the woman's bust, the unisex version also falls to the woman's waist and leaves her bust uncovered.
  • Moral Guardians: In the U.S., Focus on the Family was founded in 1977 and the Moral Majority was founded in 1979. Meanwhile in Britain, Mary Whitehouse's "Clean Up TV" association had one of the largest membership numbers in the country. There was also the New Right movement, which cleaned up the excesses and debauchery of the decade, only to make their own excessive messes by the following decade.
  • Music of the 1970s: Continuing with the last decade's move on experimentation, this decade gave out two styles: loudness and glamour, which would give out a crazy yet effective blend by the following decade. What we got are:
    • Afrobeat: The genre originated in the 1960s, but became very popular in the 1970s.
    • Disco: Became an underground hit in gay Afro-American night clubs, until it hit mainstream with Saturday Night Fever, which completely invented a lifestyle to it that had nothing in common with the original disco culture. By 1980 the disco fad ran out in the USA, creating the trope Disco Sucks.
    • Funk: Still very popular, with James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone as frontrunners and new groups like Parliament, Funkadelic, Earth, Wind & Fire taking Afro-American culture by storm.
    • Glam Rock: Between 1970 and 1976, with David Bowie, Lou Reed, T. Rex, and Sweet as the major examples.
    • Goth Rock: A protoform of it emerged from the British Punk Rock scene. By 1979 it had started to take hold with the creation of London's Batcave Club and the release of Bauhaus' debut single "Bela Lugosi's Dead."
    • Hard Rock, which started as heavier and louder Blues Rock grows in style and popularity in the 1970s. Sometimes it gets lumped together with other genres, especially Heavy Metal, and they shared many fans. It was its own thing. Alice Cooper and Aerosmith were popular for this music in the 70s.
    • Heavy Metal: Though it originated in the late 1960s, it became more prominent in this decade. Especially Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest.
      • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Blue Öyster Cult inspired many other heavy metal bands to use umlauts in their names.
      • Epic Riff: Heavy Metal and hard rock contributed many iconic riffs that are still played by musicians fifty years later, with Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" being the first riff many aspiring guitarists learned.
    • Hip-Hop: Near the end of the 1970s the genre became notable, with The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" (1979) as the first mainstream rap hit.
    • Industrial: In the late part of the decade, musicians that felt punk was not as effective a means of expressing true rebellion decided to abandon punk and move towards Electronic Music, but rather than embracing the mainstream electronica of their time, however, they drew inspiration from bands like Suicide and strove to combine electronic music with a punk mentality. Throbbing Gristle could be considered the Trope Codifier, with their label, Industrial Records, providing the name for the genre.
    • Jazz: Came back with a modest surge of popularity due to 1920s/1930s nostalgia, even more complex improvisations, and blending in with other genres such as Rock, Funk and Soul.
    • J-Pop: First began here with artists like Candies and Miyuki Nakajima.
    • New Wave Music: Emerged alongside punk rock (see below).
    • Progressive Rock: Started in the 1960s, but is closely associated with the early 1970s, until Punk Rock completely made it unhip, pretentious and ridiculous.
    • Proto Punk: Started in the late 1960s, but only started getting more popular when Punk Rock broke to the mainstream and its influence on the genre was acknowledged.
    • Psychedelic Rock: Lost its popularity quite rapidly around the mid-1970s, when Punk Rock and New Wave Music came about.
    • Punk Rock: Started as a movement at large during this decade.
    • Reggae: Still only popular in the Caribbean at the start of the decade, but it finally caught on in the rest of the world thanks to the enormous success of Bob Marley.
    • Ska: Experienced an unexpected revival in the United Kingdom, with British bands like Madness and The Specials adapting the style.
    • Soul: The popularity of soul started fading out near the mid-1970s, when Disco became the new fad.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Hippies were very prominent in the early 1970s, but after 1974 they became less noticeable.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: When it came to clubs like Studio 54.
  • Pædo Hunt: Until the 1970s, most people were totally ignorant about pederasty, until the Paedophile Information Exchange in Britain made it very clear that the only goal in the lives of their members was to have sex with children.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Every article of clothing was really pimped-out during this decade no matter what fashion designer, brand, or style you're into; whether you're into the light and free hippie, the glittery Disco, the frivolous Glam Rock, the edgy Punk, the exotic and ethnic, or the glamorous retro scene.
  • Porn Stache: The stereotypical '70s man had either that or a full beard.
  • Pretty in Mink: Aside from the pimp coats, sheepskin and white rabbit jackets for ladies became popular.
  • Real Is Brown: The palette for the decade is generously filled with browns, oranges, and earth-tones; a middle ground for the space-agey hues of The '60s and the hi-contrast neon shades of The '80s.
  • The Roaring '20s: Not all nostalgia was for The '50s. Even the days of jazz and bootleg booze got their slice of the cake in this heavily nostalgic decade. One may relate open shirts and bell-bottoms to disco... but both styles were originally popular from that decade.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The decade mostly veered on nostalgic romanticism (inherited from the hippie movement) in reaction to 1960s-era enlightenment-induced modernist idealism.
  • Serial Killer: Several of the more infamous ones (Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, John Wayne Gacy, BTK, The Zodiac Killer, The Yorkshire Ripper, etc.) became active during the decade.
  • Sexy Sweater Girl: Being a experimental and a sexually liberal decade, tight sweaters came back from The '50s with a vengeance that was further emphasized with the braless look, and increased interest of knitwear and handmade knitting and crocheting made braless mesh sweaters possible.
  • Shared Universe: The decade is the Ur-Example. Super Sentai debuted in 1976, though it won't be The 'Verse until two decades later. Likewise, Dallas debuted in 1978 and its Spin-Off Knots Landing debuted the following year, making them the first American series with a shared continuity.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Although it is remembered as a mostly cynical decade, the 70s was quite capable of being quite idealistic at the same time.
  • Spoon Bending: A popular magic trick popularized in the 1970s, now associated with psychics and the paranormal.
  • Trope Makers: With TV and a reformulated Hollywood still influencing media, we got:
  • Two Decades Behind: Nothing says The Seventies like nostalgia for The '50s, as evidenced by the popularity of American Graffiti, Grease and Happy Days, and a slew of other shows.
    • The trope would repeat itself in a similar way when nostalgia for the '70s became all the rage in The '90s, even if this time it was little more than an excuse to get closer to the '50s (except for the occasional Disco Dan).
    • The New '10s have featured a somewhat more sincere nostalgia for this decade, and with '90s nostalgia becoming Serious Business, will likely bring the trope to a full circle.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Continuing from the late 60s, the hippie-influenced bare-faced healthy tan look was the mainstream look for many women after being fed up with makeup as an essential part of feminine beauty. In response, the cosmetics industry not only created products that resemble the bare-faced look, but also products suitable for darker skin tones. Of course, heavy, glittery makeup would be reserved for evenings at the disco. Or for punks. Or for the next decade.
  • Vapor Wear: Bras were out. Visible nipples were in.
  • World of Badass: The decade defined Badass.
  • Wuxia: Became more popular in the West.

Works that were made in this time period:

    open/close all folders 


    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

  • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Apple Computer got its start during this time too, although it wouldn't be a serious competitor to IBM until the mid-'80s.
  • Nike adopted its iconic "swoosh" logo in the closing years of the decade.
  • McDonald's brought fast food to the masses, introducing breakfast items on its menu for the first time and opening its first foreign restaurants (first McDonald's in Great Britain in 1974). The Big Mac hamburger (introduced in 1968) first became popular at this time. Ronald McDonald (who had gotten a classy makeover in 1967 with the now-familiar yellow jumpsuit and striped socks) was joined in McDonaldland by his friends Birdie, the Hamburglar, the Grimace (originally an octopus-like creature who loved milkshakes) and the Fry Kids. Mayor McCheese is a relic of this era, nowadays only turning up in parodies.

    Eastern European Animation 

    Han-guk Manhwa Aenimeisyeon 

  • High Times. Started in 1974.
  • Hustler. Started in 1974.
  • National Lampoon. Started in April, 1970.
  • OWL. Started in 1976.
  • Playgirl. Started in 1973.
  • Soldier of Fortune. Started in 1975.

    Music genres 
  • Disco
  • Glam Rock. Musical style hugely popular in the UK in the 1970s.
  • Punk Rock
  • Heavy Metal was invented in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
  • Hard Rock also flourished in the 1970s, sometimes causing arguments over whether a band was hard rock or heavy metal.
  • Hip-Hop was invented in 1973. It was an offshoot of disco.
  • Soft Rock, on the other hand, also flourished in the 1970s, especially the Soul, Jazz Fusion, and R&B-influenced sub-genre, yacht rock.


    Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy 

    Pro Wrestling 


    Rides and Attractions 

    Tabletop Games 

    Theme Parks 


Works that are set (but not made) in this time period are:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Astro City story arc "The Dark Age" is largely set in the '70s, with the suspicion and cynicism in society playing a big part in the narrative. The story begins in the late '60s and ends in the early '80s. It also includes thematic elements from '70s movies such as The Godfather, Serpico, and assorted martial-arts films.
  • Fantastic Four: Life Story: The second part of the 2021 mini-series is set throughout the decade.
  • The final issues of the 1980s series The New Adventures of Superboy suggested that Smallville had finally reached the 1970s. The remainder of the book's run saw a plot (unfinished thanks to the book's cancellation) about Smallville's businesses, including the Kents' general store, being threatened by the construction (under shady circumstances) of its first shopping mall. The last issue of the run also sees Lana Lang ask Clark to go with her to see a concert by the Carpenters. Shortly after the title's cancellation, 1985's Superman: The Secret Years (a miniseries telling how Superboy finally changed his name to Superman) had a flashback to Clark's final year of high school, explicitly set in the early '70s. The miniseries itself sees a college-age Clark asked by a roommate to go with him to see the "new Woody Allen film" Annie Hall.
  • Be Kind, My Neighbor is set in 1973 and is drawn in a heavily 70s-inspired psychedelic style. It also deals with topics like psychedelic drugs, free love, and cults.
  • Bookhunter (published in the mid 2000s) is set in 1973—in an alternate universe where books and libraries are Serious Business.
  • The story of Persepolis (published 2000–2004) begins in the 1970s, continuing into the '80s and '90s.
  • The second part of Spider-Man: Life Story (published in 2019) is set in 1977—in an Alternate Timeline where The Vietnam War is still going.
  • Stray Bullets
  • Sunny Side Up, published in 2015, takes place in the 1976 and serves as a fictionalized Autobiography of its author, Jennifer L. Holm. Its sequel, Swing It Sunny, was published in 2017 and still takes place in 1976.
  • Wonder Woman '77. Published from 2015 to 2016 but set in the later half of the seventies.
  • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: "Espionage" was published in 2021 and takes in place in 1970.

    Fan Works 

    Films-Live Action 



    Live-Action TV 

  • blink-182: The music video for their 2001 single "First Date" is set during the middle of the decade.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • The series When Heaven Spits You Out starts in 1971, and uses significant events throughout the decade to set dates as the story progresses.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): The Seesaw Seventies, The Me Decade, The Seventies