- February 11 - Chuck Watanabe, kayaker.
- May 2 - David Beckham, English footballer
- August 7 - Charlize Theron, South African actress
- Angelina Jolie, US actress
- July 29 - James Blish, U.S. science fiction author
- August 9 - Dmitri Shostakovich, aged 68, Russian composer
- November 20 - Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain
- January 1 - John N. Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman are found guilty of the Watergate cover-up and are sentenced to 30 months to 8 years in jail on February 21
- February 11 - Margaret Thatcher defeats Edward Heath for Conservative Party leadership.
- May 15 - The American merchant ship Mayaguez, seized by Cambodian forces, is rescued in operation by U.S. Navy and Marines. 38 are killed.
- July 15 - Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft take off for U.S.-Soviet link-up in space
- September 5 - President Gerald Ford survives an assassination attempt in Sacramento, California.
- September 22 - President Ford survives a second assassination attempt.
- November 11 - Independence of Angola.
- November 25 - Suriname indendent from the Kingdom of the Netherlands
- Pol Pot proclaims the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea in Cambodia and becomes its Prime Minister (1976-1979).
- May 3 - FA Cup final - Fulham F.C. 0 - 2 West Ham United F.C. played at Wembley Stadium in front of 100,000
- January 12 - Super Bowl IX Pittsburgh Steelers (16) def. Minnesota Vikings (6)
- Physics Aage Niels Bohr, Ben Roy Mottelson, Leo James Rainwater
- Chemistry - John Warcup Cornforth, Vladimir Prelog
- Medicine - David Baltimore, Renato Dulbecco, Howard Martin Temin
- Literature - Eugenio Montale
- Peace - Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov
- Economics - Leonid Kantorovich, Tjalling Koopmans