The U.S. box office of 1976: all the hit films, released 40 years ago, which you might still remember

How about a walk down memory lane to take a quick look at what happened at the box-office in the U.S. and Canada forty years ago? As it turned out, Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” not only grabbed the five major Academy Awards (best picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay), but also topped the charts according to Variety, as published in their 71st Anniversary Edition of January 5, 1977. Back then, Variety was – along with the Hollywood Reporter – the only truly valuable and reliable source for any insider if he needed to check the domestic rentals accruing to the distributors.

For the record, as 1976 was way before the digital era, films released by the end of the calendar year are not – or not fully – included, such as Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky,” “King Kong,” “Silver Streak,” “The Pink Panther Strikes Again,” or “Network.” They are listed in the 1977 box-office charts which we’ll cover a year from now.

Information following each film title is the month of the U.S. release, and the film’s director.

But, for now, why don’t we let the facts speak for themselves? Here it is, 1976, when we were all forty years younger.

Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched with her patients (Jack Nicholson, far left) on the set of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the most successful film of 1976
  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (November 1975; Milos Forman)
    CAST Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd
    $ 56,500,000
  2. All the President’s Men (April; Alan J. Pakula)
    CAST Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Jason Robards
    $ 29,000,000
  3. The Omen (July; Richard Donner)
    CAST Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw
    $ 27,851,000
  4. The Bad News Bears (April; Michael Ritchie)
    CAST Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow, Joyce Van Patten
    $ 22,266,517
  5. Silent Movie (July; Mel Brooks)
    CAST Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise, Bernadette Peters
    $ 20,311,000
  6. Midway (June; Jack Smight)
    CAST Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford
    $ 20,300,000
  7. Dog Day Afternoon (August 1975; Sidney Lumet)
    CAST Al Pacino, John Cazale, Carol Kane, Charles Durning
    $ 19,800,000
  8. Murder by Death (June; Robert Moore)
    CAST Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, David Niven
    $ 18,800,000
  9. Jaws (June 1975, reissue; Steven Spielberg)
    CAST Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary
    $ 16,077,000
  10. Blazing Saddles (February 1974, reissue; Mel Brooks)
    CAST Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn
    $ 13,850,000

    Dustin Hoffman on the run in John Schlesinger’s “Marathon Man” at No. 20
  11. Lucky Lady (January; Stanley Donen)
    CAST Gene Hackman, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds, Robby Benson
    $ 12,107,000
  12. Taxi Driver (February; Martin Scorsese)
    CAST Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle
    $ 11,600,000
  13. Outlaw Josey Wales (July; Clint Eastwood)
    CAST Clint Esatwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, John Vernon
    $ 10,600,000
  14. No Deposit, No Return (January; Norman Tokar)
    CAST David Niven, Darren McGavin, Don Knotts, Herschel Bernardi
    $ 10,500,000
  15. Ode to Billy Joe (June; Max Baer, Jr.)
    CAST Robby Benson, Glynnis O’Connor, Joan Hotchkis, Sandy McPeak
    $ 10,400,000
  16. The Exorcist (December 1973, reissue: William Friedkin)
    CAST Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb
    $ 10,300,000
  17. Hustle (December 1975; Robert Aldrich)
    CAST Burt Reynolds, Catherine Deneuve, Ben Johnson, Paul Winfield
    $ 9,958,738
  18. Barry Lyndon (December 1975; Stanley Kubrick)
    CAST Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger
    $ 9,100,000
  19. Gus (July; Vincent McEveety)
    CAST Edward Asner, Don Knotts, Gary Grimes, Tim Conway
    $ 9,000,000
  20. Marathon Man (October; John Schlesinger)
    CAST Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, Marthe Keller
    $ 8,800,000

    Karen Black as Hitchcock’s last blonde leading lady in “Family Plot” at No. 26
  21. Logan’s Run (June; Michael Anderson)
    CAST Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Farrah Fawcett
    $ 8,700,000
  22. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (January; Gene Wilder)
    CAST Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise
    $ 8,635,000
  23. The Other Side of the Mountain (December 1975; Larry Peerce)
    CAST Marilyn Hassett, Beau Bridges, Belinda Montgomery, Nan Martin
    $ 8,333,333
  24. The Sunshine Boys (November 1975; Herbert Ross)
    CAST Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin, Lee Meredith
    $ 7,000,000
  25. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea (April; Lewis John Carlino)
    CAST Sarah Miles, Kris Kristofferson, Jonathan Kahn, Earl Rhodes
    $ 7,000,000
  26. Family Plot (March; Alfred Hitchcock)
    CAST Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, William Devane
    $ 6,825,000
  27. Missouri Breaks (May; Arthur Penn)
    CAST Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Harry Dean Stanton
    $ 6,752,000
  28. Mother, Jugs & Speed (June, Peter Yates)
    CAST Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch, Harvey Keitel, Allen Garfield
    $ 6,546,000
  29. Grizzly (May; William Girdler)
    CAST Christopher George, Andrew Pine, Richard Jeackel, Joan McCall
    $ 6,272,000
  30. Survive! (August; René Cardona)
    CAST Pablo Ferrel, Hugo Stigliz, Norma Lazareno, Luz María Aguilar
    $ 6,176,925

    Carole Lombard with Clark Gable in “No Man of Her Own” (1932), were portrayed by Jill Clayburgh and James Brolin in “Gable and Lombard,” at No. 32
  31. The Gumball Rally (August; Chuck [Charles] Bail)
    CAST Michael Sarrazin, Tim McIntire, Raul Julia, Gary Busey
    $ 5,800,000
  32. Gable and Lombard (January; Sidney J. Furie)
    CAST James Brolin, Jill Clayburgh, Allen Garfield, Red Buttons
    $ 5,800,000
  33. The Love Bug (March 1969, reissue; Robert Stevenson)
    CAST Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson, Buddy Hackett
    $ 5,500,000
  34. Two-Minute Warning (November; Larry Peerce)
    CAST Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Gena Rowlands
    $ 5,385,000
  35. Hawmps! (April; Joe Camp)
    CAST James Hampton, Christopher Connelly, Slim Pickens, Denver Pyle
    $ 5,350,000
  36. Peter Pan (February 1953, reissue; Clyde Geronimo, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske)
    CAST (animated, voice only) Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conreid
    $ 5,250,000
  37. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (May 1975, reissue; Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones)
    CAST Graham Chapman, John Clesse, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
    $ 5,170,000
  38. Food of the Gods (April; Bert I. Gordon)
    CAST Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker, Ida Lupino
    $ 5,000,000
  39. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (May; John Badham)
    CAST Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Rico Dawson
    $ 4,825,000
  40. Eat My Dust (April; Charles B. Griffith)
    CAST Ron Howard, Christopher Norris, Brad David, Kathy O’Dare
    $ 4,800,000

    Elliott Gould, James Caan and Diane Keaton in Mark Rydell’s “Harry and Walter Go to New York,” also starring Michael Caine, at No. 44
  41. Alice in Wonderland (April; Bud Townsend)
    CAST Kristine De Bell, Larry Gelman, Allan Novak, Tony Tsengoles
    $ 4,800,000
  42. Gator (May; Burt Reynolds)
    CAST Burt Reynolds, Jack Weston, Lauren Hutton, Jerry Reed
    $ 4,602,000
  43. Let’s Do It Again (October 1975; Sidney Poitier)
    CAST Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Calvin Lockhart, Ossie Davis
    $ 4,600,000
  44. Harry and Walter Go to New York (June, Mark Rydell)
    CAST Michael Caine, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Elliott Gould
    $ 4,600,000
  45. Blackbeard’s Ghost (February 1968, reissue; Robert Stevenson)
    CAST Peter Ustinov, Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, Elsa Lanchester
    $ 4,500,000
  46. The Pom Pom Girls (March; Joseph Ruben)
    CAST Robert Carradine, Jennifer Ashley, Michael Mullins, Lisa Reeves
    $ 4,300,000
  47. Futureworld (July; Richard T. Heffron)
    CAST Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill, Yul Brynner
    $ 4,200,000
  48. Tunnelvision (April; Neal Israel, Bradley Swirnoff)
    CAST Phil Proctor, Howard Hesseman, Beans Morocco, Ron Silver
    $ 4,200,000
  49. Car Wash (August; Michael Schultz)
    CAST Richard Pryor, Franklyn Ajaye, Antonio Fargas, The Pointer Sisters
    $ 4,190,000
  50. The Shootist (August; Don Siegel)
    CAST John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart
    $ 4,185,497

    John Wayne and Lauren Bacall in Wayne’s final movie, “The Shhotist,” directed by Don Siegel, at No. 50
  51. Lipstick (April; Lamont Johnson)
    CAST Margaux Hemingway, Chris Sarandon, Perry King, Anne Bancroft
    $ 4,181,874
  52. The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (April; Melvin Frank)
    CAST George Segal, Goldie Hawn, Conrad Janis, Thayer David
    $ 4,116,000
  53. The Killer Elite (December 1975; Sam Peckinpah)
    CAST James Caan, Robert Duvall, Arthur Hill, Bo Hopkins
    $ 4,000,000
  54. Obsession (September; Brian De Palma)
    CAST Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, John Lithgow, Sylvia Kuumba Williams
    $ 4,000,000
  55. Treasure of Matecumbe (July; Vincent McEveety)
    CAST Robert Foxworth, Joan Hackett, Peter Ustinov, Vic Morrow
    $ 4,000,000
  56. Robin and Marian (March; Richard Lester)
    CAST Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Shaw, Richard Harris
    $ 4,000,000
  57. Drive-In (May; Rod Amateau)
    CAST Lisa Lemole, Glenn Morshower, Gary Lee Cavagnaro, Billy Millikin
    $ 3,800,000
  58. Tidal Wave (December 1975; Shiro Moritani)
    CAST Lorne Greene, Keiju Kobayashi, Rhonda Leigh Hopkins, Hiroshi Fujioka
    $ 3,700,000
  59. Greatest Scout and Cathouse Thursday (August; Don Taylor)
    CAST Lee Marvin, Oliver Reed, Robert Culp, Elizabeth Ashley
    $ 3,600,000
  60. The Blue Bird (June; George Cukor)
    CAST Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Cicely Tyson, Ava Gardner
    $ 3,500,000

    Sissy Spacek in one of her early screen roles as Carrie in Brian De Palma’s thriller, at No. 67
  61. The Front (September; Martin Ritt)
    CAST Woody Allen, Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, Michael Murphy
    $ 3,500,000
  62. A Small Town in Texas (June; Jack Starrett)
    CAST Timothy Bottoms, Susan George, Bo Hopkins, Morgan Woodward
    $ 3,200,000
  63. At the Earth’s Core (July; Kevin Connor)
    CAST Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant
    $ 3,000,000
  64. Norman… Is That You? (September; George Schlatter)
    CAST Redd Foxx, Pearl Bailey, Dennis Dugan, Tamara Dobson
    $ 2,800,000
  65. Swashbuckler (July; James Goldstone)
    CAST Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Genevieve Bujold, Peter Boyle
    $ 2,750,000
  66. Lifeguard (March; Daniel Petrie)
    CAST Sam Elliott, Anne Archer, Stephen Young, Kathleen Quinlan
    $ 2,583,607
  67. Carrie (November; Brian De Palma)
    CAST Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta
    $ 2,581,000
  68. The Man Who Fell to Earth (March; Nicolas Roeg)
    CAST David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry
    $ 2,568,000
  69. The Ritz (October; Richard Lester)
    CAST Jack Weston, Rita Moreno, Jerry Stiller, F. Murray Abraham
    $ 2,500,000
  70. J.D.’s Revenge (June; Arthur Marks)
    CAST Glynn Turman, Louis Gossett Jr., Joan Pringle, Carl W. Crudup
    $ 2,400,000

    Jacqueline Bisset in “St. Ives,” at No. 76
  71. Drum (July; Steve Carver)
    CAST Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Ken Norton, Pam Grier
    $ 2,395,000
  72. Seven Alone (December 1975; Earl Bellamy)
    CAST Dewey Martin, Aldo Ray, Anne Collings, Dean Smith
    $ 2,391,446
  73. Giant Spider Invasion (January; Bill Rebane)
    CAST Steve Brodie, Barbara Hale, Robert Easton, Alan Hale Jr.
    $ 2,347,000
  74. Crazy Mama (July, Jonathan Demme)
    CAST Cloris Leachman, Stuart Whitman, Ann Sothern, Jim Backus
    $ 2,300,000
  75. Jackson County Jail (April; Michael Miller)
    CAST Yvette Mimieux, Tommy Lee Jones, Lisa Copeland, Cliff Emmich
    $ 2,300,000
  76. St. Ives (July; J. Lee Thompson)
    CAST Charles Bronson, Jacqueline Bisset, John Houseman, Maximilian Schell
    $ 2,300,000
  77. Against a Crooked Sky (December 1975; Earl Bellamy)
    CAST Richard Boone, Stewart Petersen, Henry Wilcoxon, Clint Ritchie
    $ 2,273,000
  78. Shadow of the Hawk (July; George McCowan)
    CAST Jan-Michael Vincent, Marilyn Hassett, Chief Dan George, Pia Shandel
    $ 2,200,000
  79. Breakheart Pass (February; Tom Gries)
    CAST Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Jill Ireland
    $ 2,130,000
  80. Hester Street (November 1975; Joan Micklin Silver)
    CAST Steven Keats, Carol Kane, Mel Howard, Dorrie Kavanaugh
    $ 2,055,497

    Elliott Gould and Diane Keaton in “I Will, I Will… for Now” at No. 87
  81. A Matter of Time (October; Vincente Minnelli)
    CAST Liza Minnelli, Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Spiros Andros
    $ 2,000,000
  82. Ride a Wild Pony (December 1975; Don Chaffey)
    CAST Michael Craig, John Meillon, Robert Bettles, Eva Griffith
    $ 2,000,000
  83. That’s Entertainment, Part II (May; Gene Kelly)
    CAST Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly
    $ 2,000,000
  84. The Big Bus (June; James Frawley)
    CAST Joseph Bologna, Stockard Channing, John Beck, Rene Auberjonois
    $ 1,794,680
  85. El kárate, el Colt y el imposter, a.k.a. The Stranger and the Gunfighter (April; Antonio Margheriti)
    CAST Lee Van Cleef, Lieh Lo, Patty Shepard, Femi Benussi
    $ 1,850,000
  86. The Rogue (January; Gregory Simpson)
    CAST Milan Galvonic, Barbara Bouchet, Margaret Lee
    $ 1,800,000
  87. I Will, I Will… For Now (March; Norman Panama)
    CAST Elliott Gould, Diane Keaton, Paul Sorvino, Victoria Principal
    $ 1,737,000
  88. Sky Riders (March; Douglas Hickox)
    CAST James Coburn, Susannah York, Robert Culp, Charles Aznavour
    $ 1,734,000
  89. Baby Blue Marine (April; John D. Hancock)
    CAST Jan-Michael Vincent, Glynnis O’Connor, Katherine Helmond, Richard Gere
    $ 1,730,000
  90. Sparkle (April; Sam O’Steen)
    CAST Philip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara, Lonette McKee, Dwan Smith
    $ 1,700,000

    Jeff Bridges in “Hearts of the West,” a.k.a. “Hollywood Cowboy,” an underrated western-comedy and Howard Zieff’s second film as a film director – at No. 96
  91. Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto, a.k.a. Swept Away (January; Lina Wertmuller)
    CAST Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Riccardo Salvino, Isa Danieli
    $ 1,656,717
  92. The Hindenburg (December 1975, Robert Wise)
    CAST George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft, William Atherton, Roy Thinnes
    $ 1,644,000
  93. Shout at the Devil (November; Peter Hunt)
    CAST Lee Marvin, Roger Moore, Barbara Parkins, Ian Holm
    $ 1,600,000
  94. Hearts of the West (October 1975; Howard Zieff)
    CAST Jeff Bridges, Andy Griffith, Donald Pleasence, Blythe Danner
    $ 1,600,000
  95. Burnt Offerings (August; Dan Curtis)
    CAST Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart
    $ 1,561,000
  96. Cannonball! (July; Paul Bartel)
    CAST David Carradine, Bill McKinney, Veronica Hamel, Robert Carradine
    $ 1,500,000
  97. Follow Me, Boys! (December 1966, reissue; Norman Tokar)
    CAST Fred MacMurray, Vera Miles, Lillian Gish, Charles Ruggles
    $ 1,500,000
  98. Beyond the Door (November 1974, reissue; Ovidio G. Assonitis, Robert Barrett)
    CAST Juliet Mills, Richard Johnson, Gabriele Lavia, Nino Segurini
    $ 1,390,000
  99. The Return of a Man Called Horse (August; Irvin Kershner)
    CAST Richard Harris, Gale Sondergaard, Geoffrey Lewis, William Lucking
    $ 1,382,000
  100. Pasqualino Settebellezze, a.k.a. Seven Beauties (January; Lina Wertmuller)
    CAST Giancarlo Giannini, Fernando Rey, Shirley Stoler, Elena Fiore
    $ 1,322,076

    Lenny Baker, Mike Kellin and Shelley Winters in Paul Mazursky’s “Next Stop, Greenwich Village,” at No. 109
  101. Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (June; Robert Altman)
    CAST Paul Newman, Joel Grey, Kevin McCarthy, Harvey Keitel
    $ 1,287,000
  102. Cousin Cousine (July; Jean-Charles Tachella)
    CAST Marie-Christine Barrault, Victor Lanoux, Marie-France Pisier, Guy Marchand
    $ 1,236,232
  103. Emmanuelle: L’antivierge, a.k.a. Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman (February; Francis Giacobetti)
    CAST Sylvia Kristel, Umberto Orsini, Frédéric Lagache, Catherine Rivet
    $ 1,248,884
  104. Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (May; Michael Winner)
    CAST Bruce Dern, Madeline Kahn, Art Carney, Phil Silvers
    $ 1,197,330
  105. L’histoire d’Adèle H., a.k.a. The Story of Adele H. (December 1975, François Truffaut)
    CAST Isabelle Adjani, Bruce Robinson, Sylvia Marriott, Joseph Blatchley
    $ 1,100,000
  106. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (December 1974, reissue; Martin Scorsese)
    CAST Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel
    $ 1,100,000
  107. Trackdown (March; Richard Heffron)
    CAST James Mitchum, Karen Lamm, Anne Archer, Erik Estrada
    $ 1,100,000
  108. Alex and the Gypsy (October; John Korty)
    CAST Jack Lemmon, Genevieve Bujold, James Woods, Gino Ardito
    $ 1,062,000
  109. Next Stop, Greenwich Village (February; Paul Mazursky)
    CAST Lenny Baker, Shelley Winters, Ellen Greene, Christopher Walken
    $ 1,061,000
  110. Girls Who’ll Do Anything (March; Boaz Davidson)
    $ 1,035,000
  111. Ansikte mot ansikte, a.k.a. Face to Face (April; Ingmar Bergman)
    CAST Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Aino Taube, Gunnar Björnstrand
    $ 1,003,802
  112. Hollywood Boulevard (March; Alan Arkush, Joe Dante)
    CAST Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, George Wagner, Jonathan Kaplan
    $ 1,000,095
  113. The Song Remains the Same (October; Peter Clifton, Joe Massot)
    CAST Led Zeppelin [Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham]
    $ 1,000,000
  114. Give ’em Hell, Harry! (September 1975, reissue; Steve Binder, Peter Hunt)
    CAST James Whitmore
  115. Dumbo (October 1941, reissue; Ben Sharpsteen)
    CAST (animated, voice only) Sterling Holloway, Edward Brophy, James Baskett
    $ 1,000,000
  116. Fantasia (November 1940, reissue; Ben Sharpsteen, and others [all uncredited])
    CAST (animated, voice only) Deems Taylor, Leopold Stokowski
    $ 1,000,000