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Watching Tall: George Pelecanos Presents Eight Underrated 1970s Movies

February 11, 2023

The eight 1970’s low-budget movies that renowned author George Pelecanos picked for the Silver Springs AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center festival in Maryland should be no surprise for the fans of his gritty, urban writings.

From the Blaxploitation film Coffy with actress Pam Grier to the gripping Rolling Thunder and Walking Tall, about a southern sheriff that got audiences up out of their seats, the movies have characters as visceral as those in his novels.

“The characters in these films were related to the audience they were shooting for … these films were made for the people who came to see them, and that’s one of the things that sets them apart,” he told The Washingtonian.

“These are all films that I have real affection for, in various ways. They’re not perfect. I can recognize the flaws. But the cool thing about low-budget films is that the audience forgives a lot. They’re there to have fun,” he said.

You can see elements in the films of some of his intense TV writing too, especially The Wire, perhaps the best ever, say many critics and fans.


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