What are the 20 Most Iconic Pop Culture Moments of the 1970s?

Pop culture is ever-evolving. Everything people knew from the 60s changed, and new trends came in. A lot of things happened in the 1970s, and there were many iconic moments in pop culture that are remembered to this day.

The 1970s was a year of great movies and music. However, the decade was a tumultuous one for the American government due to political scandals, war, etc. Let’s look at the 20 major pop culture moments that are remembered to this day.

M*A*S*H was released

M*A*S*H was a popular American war comedy-drama television released on September 17, 1972. The full name of the series was Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, and it ran for 11 years. M*A*S*H was developed by Larry Gelbart and was based on MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.

M*A*S*H, the tv show, was considered a spin-off from the 1970s feature film also made M*A*S*H. Produced with the help of 20th Century Fox Television for CBS, this show follows a team of doctors and staff. This team is stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, located in Uijeongbu, South Korea.

The tv series takes place during the Korean War, and the cast features Alan Alda, who plays Hawkeye, and Wayne Rogers, who portrays the role of Trapper. These two are the protagonist of the show and are joined by others as they perform their duties as doctors.

The series includes comedy and tragic themes to create a holistic picture of war. It is one of the best-known M*A*S*H works and the highest-rated tv show in US television history.

Elvis Presley visited the White House Oval Office

On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley visited the White House, where he met with President Richard Nixon. This visit was completely unprompted, and Elvis Presley claimed he did it on a whim.

During his visit, he expressed to the president his patriotism toward his country. Furthermore, he also explained how he believed he could help reduce the drug culture in the United States. He was very eager to get involved with the White House’s anti-drug campaign and even wanted a special badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The President and Elvis Presley also discussed the Beatles, and how they exemplified a trend of anti-Americanism.

Apollo 13

Out of the many crewed missions that aimed to land on the moon, Apollo 13 was the seventh mission of the Apollo space program. This spacecraft took off from the Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970. However, this spaceship would never land on the moon.

Two days into the mission, the moon landing mission was aborted as an oxygen tank in the service module started malfunctioning. Instead of heading toward the moon, the crew had to return back to Earth.

Jim Lovell commanded this mission with Jack Swigert, the command module pilot. Fred Haise was also in the mission as the lunar module pilot.

The Beatles released their final album

The Beatles had been huge in the 60s, but certain factors pushed them over the edge, and they broke up in 1970. However, a month after this announcement, they released their final album titled; Let It Be.

There are many reasons why the Beatles broke up included; creative differences, the strain of the Beatlemania, and the death of their manager Brian Epstein in 1967. Furthermore, it is also reported that the members harbored resentment towards McCartney as they believed he overshadowed them.

Let It Be was the Beatle’s twelfth and final studio album, and was released on 8th May 1970, a month after the breakup. This album was also accompanied by a documentary with the same name.

Bobby Orr became a hockey legend

Bobby Orr is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. He is considered one of the most legendary players of all time as he had all the abilities that made him unbeatable on ice. Orr played the position of defenceman and using his ice skating speed and scoring abilities, he was able to completely transform the position.

The event that solidified his palace in the Hockey Hall of Fame was the Stanley Cup Finals on May 10, 1970. Bobby Orr scored an overtime goal and allowed the Boston Bruins to win their first championship since 1941. He also signed the first million-dollar contract in NHL history.

Gay Rights March in New York

On June 28, 1970, the Gay rights activist Foster Gunnison and Craig Rodwell led a gay rights march in New York. When this march took place, it was known as the Gay Liberation Day.

This march took place on the first anniversary of the Stonewall incident, during which the police stormed the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar situated in Greenwich Village, New York. Following the raid, there were protests and demonstrations by the gay community.

Due to these riots, the gay community found a sense of togetherness, and by 1971, various gay rights groups had been formed across America.

Walt Disney World opened its gates

In October 1971, the Walt Disney World opened its doors to the public. This entertainment resort is located near Bay Lake and Kate Buena Vista, Florida, in the United States and spans over 25,000 acres. Walt Disney World is operated by Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, which is a division of the Walt Disney Company that manages all the resorts all over the world.

Walk Disney World consists of four theme parks including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studio, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. It also has two waterparks, nine hotels not affiliated with Disney, 31 themed resort hotels, golf courses, and a camping resort. Despite all these attractions, Disney still has space left over as these parks only use up half of the 25,000 acres.

The Summer Olympic hostage situation

During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, there was an unfortunate hostage situation. Also known as the Munich massacre, this incident included Black September, an eight-member Palestinian terrorist group, that took nine members of the Israeli Olympic team and held them hostage.

After taking them hostage, they killed two others. The terrorists demanded that the Israeli government release the political prisoners in return for their athletes. Hours after the athletes were taken hostage, they were all killed. Other deaths included five terrorists and one police officer.

The Godfather won awards

The Godfather is an American crime film directed by Francis Ford, which was released in 1972. This film was written by Francis Ford and Mario Puzo based on the best-selling novel of the latter with the same name. The film starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and more.

The movie received a lot of praise, and it received critical acclaim. Many also considered it to be the most influential film of the time. It also won plenty of awards including nine Academy Award nominations, among which it won three. It won the Best Picture Award, the Best Actor Award, and the Best Adapted Screenplay award.

Death of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong and American martial artist, factory, producer, director, and screenwriter. He is well known for his roles in films such as The Big Boss, Fists of Fury, The Game of Death, etc.

Despite his overwhelming success and popularity, he passed away on July 20, 1973, at 32 years of age. Even after his death, he has had a massive influence on combat sports such as karate, judo, etc. He was so influential that Times named him one of the most important people of the 20th century.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist is an extremely popular American horror film released in 1973. This film was written by William Peter Blatty, who based it on a novel he wrote with the same name in 1971. This film was directed by William Friedkin and featured Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, etc.

The film revolved around the demonic possession of a young girl. In the film, the mother of the young girl attempts to bring her back and rid her body of the demon by asking a pair of Catholic priests to perform an exorcism on her.

Initially, the film received mixed critical reviews. However, the nature of the film caused many to flock to the cinemas. Some also waited in long lines during the winter just to watch this film.

US President Richard Nixon resigns over the Watergate scandal

Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States and belonged to the Republican Party. Previously, he had served as a senator from California and had also held the position of vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961.

Nixon’s second term ended early because he resigned from his position becoming the first and only president to resign from office. His resignation was due to the Watergate scandal, a major political scandal that stemmed from those under Nixon trying to cover up their involvement in the break-in that occurred at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972.

End of the Vietnam War

One of the major events of the 70s was the Vietnam War which affected many around the world. The Vietnam War was a conflict in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The war raged from 1 November 1955 to 30 April 1975. The event that marked the end of the war was the fall of Saigon.

Following the fall of Saigon, a year later, North and South Vietnam were reunified. However, the amount human lives lost was enormous. It is estimated that 966,000 to 3 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed during the 20 years of war. Furthermore, around 310, 000 Cambodians, 20,000 Laotians, and 58,220 US service members were also killed.


The 70s were a great decade for movies, as many of the most popular and well-known films were released during this time. One of those films is Jaws. This movie is an American thriller film about a man-eating great white shark. Released in 1975, it delves into the story of the shark attacking those who visit the beach at the summer resort, causing the police to get involved.

Jaws is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on a novel written by Peter Benchley, and released in 1974. The cast of the movie includes Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, etc. The moment Jaws was released, it was a hit. People loved it, and it also won several awards for the editing and the music.

The comedy show Saturday Night Live

The extremely popular Saturday Night Live also began its broadcast in the 70s and was truly an iconic moment in pop culture as the show is still ongoing and is watched by many around the world.

On October 11, 1975, Saturday Night Live began airing as a sketch comedy show. The first host of the show was George Carlin, a comedian. He joined a cast of young comics known as The Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

Saturday Night Live, now more commonly known as SNL, is one of the longest-running shows in television history as it has been airing for more than 40 years.

Elton John

Elton John is an English singer, composer, and pianist who rose to fame following his hit single Rocketman. This song was released in 1972 and became an instant hit skyrocketing him into stardom.

Elton John has had a successful career in the music industry since the 70s and has left a lasting impression on the music industry. Elton John had a way with songwriting, and one of his most successful songwriting endeavors includes a partnership with Taupin.

One of his popular albums includes a pop album called Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, which was released in 1973 and reached number one in various countries, including the US, UK, and Australia.

The first commercial Concorde flight

The Concorde was a Franco-British supersonic airline developed by British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation. This airline was known to be so fast that it broke the sound barrier. The speed of the Concorde flight meant that flight times could be cut in half.

On January 21, 1976, the Concorde was open for commercial use, and the first flight took place from London to Paris. The plane reached speeds of 1350mph, which was an impressive feat. However, there were very few commercial Concorde flights. It is reported that there were less than 20 commercial Concorde flights.

Charlie’s Angels

Charlie’s Angels was an American crime television series that ran on ABC. It began airing in 1976 and ended its run in 1981 after airing five seasons containing 115 episodes. Charlie’s Angels was created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts. Aaron Spelling took on the role of producing the show.

Charlie’s Angels follows three women who work at a private detective agency in Los Angeles, California but also fight crime on the side. The cast included Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and John Forsythe.

Critics had mixed reviews about the show as some claimed it attracted attention due to the sex appeal of the female leads. However, it was still extremely popular and was a top ten hit in the Nielsen ratings for the first two seasons.

Charlie’s Angels are still widely popular, and the cult-like following from the 1970s has yet to die down.

Barbara Walters, the first woman co-anchor at a major network newscast

Barbara Walters was an American broadcast journalist, television personality, and author. She is well known for her ability to attract a crowd and she also had excellent interviewing abilities.

She began her career in the early 1960s by appearing on The Today Show, where she was a writer and segment producer of women’s interest stories. Due to her popularity with the viewers, she started receiving more screentime, and eventually, in 1974, she became a co-host.

Barbara Walters was the first American woman to hold the title of co-host on a major network evening newscast. She co-anchored the show for only a year and a half, but she went on to host other ABC shows such as 20/20.

Stars Wars

Star Wars is a pop culture phenomenon worldwide. This epic American space opera is a multimedia franchise that began with George Lucas, who created the Star Wars film in 1977. The movie was so popular that it eventually went on to create an entire franchise, which includes films, television series, novels, video games, theme park attractions, and more.

The popularity of Star Wars also enabled George Lucas and his company, LucasFilms, to give a license for toy manufacturers to produce action figures for the movie. Kenner, a toy company founded in 1946, was chosen as the manufacturer for Star Wars action figures. To know more about the Kenner Star Wars toys, you can check out the Top Pop Culture Toys of the 70s.


The 1970s was a decade full of iconic moments and crazy fads that shaped pop culture and the world into what it is today. There were many movies, tv shows, and music albums to be enjoyed. However, on the flip side, there were also the ending of the Vietnam War and the resignation of President Nixon, which made this decade an extremely important one.