The 1970s Quiz

By: Ryan Choate

In 1972, a scandal broke that would eventually cause the resignation of President Nixon. What was the name of the scandal?

In 1972, five men were convicted of breaking into the Watergate Hotel complex where the Democratic National Committee had offices. Nixon was likely facing impeachment for covering up the scandal and instead resigned on Aug. 9, 1974.

The Supremes were a soulful hit music group in the '60s, but in 1970 which Supreme left the group to start a solo career?

The Supremes were a powerhouse all-female trio that epitomized the Motown sound in the 1960s. In 1970, Diana Ross set out to have an equally successful solo career and she is still known as the "Queen of Motown."

Which of the following classic mob movies made its debut in 1972?

One of the greatest movies depicting the mafia was "The Godfather," which debuted in 1972. The movie, based on the Mario Puzo novel, was a hit and remains one of Marlon Brando's best performances. The film spawned two sequels.

The '70s produced some iconic movies. Which blockbuster made people flock to the movies and not the beach?

In 1975 the iconic horror movie "Jaws" made its way into theaters. The Steven Spielberg classic caused a bit of fear in beachgoers as the movie follows a killer shark menacing a beach town. The masses chose to hit the theater instead of the beach and the summer blockbuster was born.

Terrorists attacked and kidnapped Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympics in 1972. Where did the Olympics take place?

This unfortunate event took place at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Palestinian terrorists demanded the release of prisoners being held in Israel. By the time the kidnapping was over, nine athletes, five hostages and one police officer were killed.

The Vietnam War was a catalyst for protest in the '60s and '70s. Which college saw an unfortunate event in 1970 when four students were killed by National Guard troops?

Many college campuses saw extensive student protests to the Vietnam War. In 1970, National Guard troops opened fire on students at Kent State University in Ohio, murdering four students.

Which president from the '70s was previously a peanut farmer?

Jimmy Carter became the 39th president in 1976 after defeating the incumbent, Gerald Ford. Carter was the onetime governor of Georgia. Before his life in politics he ran a successful peanut farm.

Who defeated the Russian Boris Spassky to become world chess champion in 1972?

Bobby Fischer was the US chess dhampion for eight years. In 1972 he beat Boris Spassky to become the first native-born American world champion. The Russians had dominated chess on the global stage since the end of World War II.

1971 saw Apollo 15 land on the moon. What was the name of the vehicle launched on the moon?

Apollo 15 was the ninth mission to the moon and the fourth time that a manned mission landed on the moon. The Lunar Rover vehicle was launched for astronauts to explore further reaches of the moon and collect samples.

Music became mobile in the '70s when Sony introduced a small personal cassette player with headphones. Can you name the item?

Way before we had the iPod, Sony introduced a portable cassette player that could hold a single cassette and was small enough to be hand-held. The Walkman morphed into the Discman upon the advent of the CD.

The tallest building in the world (for a time) was built in Chicago in 1973. Can you name the building?

In 1973, the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) in Chicago eclipsed the previous tallest building, the World Trade Center, and remains the second tallest building in the US. The newly built One World Trade Center in New York is the tallest at 1776 feet.

Disco music was a huge hit in the '70s. Which movie highlighted the music and culture of disco?

Disco became extremely popular in 1977 after the release of the movie "Saturday Night Fever." John Travolta starred in the movie and was nominated for an Oscar for best actor. The soundtrack contained five No.1 hits.

What famous musician moved on to that great gig in the sky, passing away in 1977?

1977 brought an end to a musical icon when Elvis Presley died at the age of 42. Presley was known to have battled substance abuse issues later in his life, though he was still touring and recording.

Late night TV changed forever in 1975 with the creation of what show?

The iconic TV show "Saturday Night Live" debuted in October of 1975. The show was comprised of skits performed by a group of up and coming comics. The show featured musicians and actors who took turns hosting each episode. The show still airs on Saturday nights.

What Major League Baseball slugger became the all-time home run leader in 1974?

Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run in 1974 to surpass Babe Ruth as the all-time leader. He would go on to finish his career with 755 home runs, which was eclipsed in 2007 by Barry Bonds.

Environmental conservation became an issue in the '70s. Which of the following conservation organizations was born in the '70s?

There are a number of conservation groups that focus on sustaining the environment. In 1971, Greenpeace was formed in Vancouver, Canada. The objective was to create a peaceful and green world for nature and people to prosper.

A new pope was introduced in 1978. What was the name of the new pope?

In 1978, Pope John Paul II was introduced to the world. His real name was Karol Josef Wojtyla. Born in Poland, he was the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. He would serve as Pope for 27 years.

Home entertainment saw a boost in the '70s with the very first pay subscription for cable TV. What was it?

In 1972, HBO became the first pay subscription service available for television in the US. HBO, or Home Box Office as it was known, provided a service for commercial free and uncut movies. Eventually, it would provide original series along with movies.

The first horse racing Triple Crown winner happened in 1973. Can you name the horse?

The three races that make up the Triple Crown of horse racing are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In 1972, Secretariat became the first horse to win all three in one season.

The Supreme Court handed down which landmark court decision in 1973?

The 1973 case, Roe V. Wade, was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court to allow women to have an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. This decision is still being argued in states to this day, but the Supreme Court has maintained the precedent case.

Several scientific breakthroughs occurred in the '70s. Which of the following happened in 1978?

In-vitro fertilization is a process also known as a "test-tube baby." This process involves fertilizing the egg outside the body and replacing it back into the uterus. The first baby born using this process was in 1978.

The 26th amendment to the US constitution was ratified in 1971. What did it do?

The 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971. The previous age to vote had been 21 and the amendment changed the age to 18. There has only been one other amendment passed since then. Amendment 27 in 1992 which does not allow Congress to grant themselves pay raises while in office.

In 1977, control of the Panama Canal was finally returned to Panama by what country?

The original idea for a canal across the Central American isthmus was supposed to be in Nicaragua and not Panama. The US was convinced by French engineers that Panama would be a more suitable location. A treaty was signed in 1977 that would allow Panama to take control of the canal in 1999.

Video games entered into the mainstream household with what gaming system introduced in 1977?

The Atari 2600 was introduced to the market in 1977 and brought video game consoles into the household and out of the arcades. The unit came with two controllers and a Pac-Man game cartridge.

Some famous car models were crafted in the '70s and used in movies. Which movie made the Pontiac Firebird a really cool ride?

Burt Reynolds was already a huge actor when he climbed into a black Pontiac Firebird for the movie "Smokey and the Bandit" in 1977. This is one of the most famous cars in cinema history. It is still referred to as the "Bandit" car.

America's worst nuclear meltdown happened in 1979 at what infamous plant in Pennsylvania?

The nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island was one of the worst disasters at any US commercial power plant. A mechanical issue in one of the pumps failed to provide water to cool the reactor core. The environmental impacts from the accident have proven to be negligible and not as serious as first thought.

Only one team in NFL history has achieved a perfect season including a Super Bowl win. What team accomplished this in 1972/73?

The only team to achieve a perfect season in NFL history is the 1972/73 Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins, under coach Don Shula, capped off their perfect season with a Super Bowl Victory in January 1973.

A new music genre was born in the '70s that included fast music and angst-filled lyrics. What genre was it?

The 1970s ushered in a new musical genre that emphasized short, fast songs with attitude. The movement was know as punk rock and featured bands like The Ramones, Sex Pistols and The Clash.

What famous theme park opened in 1971?

Disneyland has been a staple in California since 1955. In 1971, Disney opened Walt Disney World in Florida. The park features many of the same attractions as Disneyland but also has parks such as Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Technology was moving rapidly in the '70s. Which techy children's educational toy made its debut in 1978?

Texas Instruments developed the Speak and Spell and introduced it to market in 1978. This device was one of the first handheld machines with a visual display. It was part of a series of educational technology toys that included Speak and Math.

Computers became a large part of life in the '70s. Which company was started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975?

Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975. The company was originally started in Albuquerque, NM, before moving to Washington in 1979. The company focused on micro-processors and software for personal computers.

A long-time favorite comic strip made its debut in newspapers in the year 1978. What famous comic strip was it?

The orange cat who ate lasagna known as Garfield made his debut in 1978 in 41 newspapers. The strip revolves around themes of how lazy Garfield is, how he hates Mondays and dieting. The comic cat has been made into several movies and books.

Five years after their "British Invasion" The Beatles called it quits in what year?

The Beatles had each been working on solo projects only five years after storming the U.S. Their popularity was at an all-time high, which made their breakup in 1971 so surprising to many. The band would never play together again and John Lennon was killed in 1980.

NASA made huge bounds in space travel and exploration in the '60s and early '70s. In 1976, NASA introduced the first space shuttle named what?

The first space shuttle built by NASA was the Enterprise. Ironically, it never made it to space. It was designed as a test vehicle. The crews were launched but not into space. They practiced flying and to see if it could land like an aircraft.

Which music album from the '70s holds the distinction of being the most sold record of all time?

The Eagles had many hits in the '70s. The compilation of their greatest hits has the honor of being the best selling album of all time. It has sold about 38 million records, outpacing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album by 5 million.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: RyanJLane/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Decades can often be defined by their major events, style and even the music produced during that era. The '60s immediately conjure images of hippies dancing at Woodstock waving peace signs in a crowd of carefree youth. On the flipside, many of those same youth were halfway across the world fighting a war that some say couldn't be won. The '70s are often described as a hangover from the '60s. The music was lacking in any substance and the fashion was drab. The '70s were also a tumultuous time economically for the U.S., as inflation skyrocketed to a point that comparisons were made to the next great depression. The hippies had to cut their hair and go get jobs in the '70s and suddenly peace and love turned into how to pay the bills in the midst of gas shortages, wage stagnation and increasing interest rates. 

Amidst economic turmoil in the '70s, the single most memorable event is the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. While the war would leave a bad taste in the collective mouths of Americans, it was a time to refocus energy on issues here at home. Post-Vietnam War in the '70s did produce some of the most iconic movies and musical stylings in the last half-century. Sci-fi fans will always remember 1977 for the birth "Star Wars" and disco fans will remember the same year for the provocative moves of John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever." Pop in an 8-track tape for this quiz and see how much you know about the 1970s! 



About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!