The 60s was the decade of "Far Out" music: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, the Who. The 60s was also a time of great social change. Movies, also began to change during this time. This is my "Groovy" list of top 21 films of the 60's. I hope at the end of this post you will have a great feel for what movies were like in the 60's.
1. Psycho - (1960, Alfred Hitchcock) (Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh). Psycho, is onethe greatest horror films ever made. The story, acting and cinematography are unforgettable. The soundtrack is also perfect. The shower scene in 1960s, seeing a nude women being murdered in a shower was something that was quite shocking.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird - (1962, Robert Mulligan) (Gregory Peck, Mary Badham). I don't think you can watch this film without being affected by it. To Kill a Mockingbird , is remembered for many reasons, but the date that the film was released, 1962, during the beginning of the civil rights movement in America, really stands out for me..
3. Bonnie and Clyde - (1967, Arthur Penn) (Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway). Besides being a great movie, "Bonnie and Clyde" was an important 1960's landmark film. Its violent ending helped end of the Hayes code, which had been a huge restrictor of artistic freedom and it helped shape the '60's image of the anti-hero.
4.The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - (1966, Sergio Leone) (Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach). In the 1960s, Spaghetti Westerns were very popular. These films were produced by Italians and Spaniards and shot in their countries with American stars like: Clint Eastwood or Henry Fonda.
5. The Graduate - (1967, Mike Nichols) (Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross).Most of American films were very conservative until the 60's. Nothing scandalous was shown in films, and many serious topics were not talked about in the movies… yet. "The Graduate" is the perfect mix of old and new. It's the 'bridge' that separates the standard American films from the more experimental ones that would become popular in the 1970's.
6. The Apartment - (1960, Billy Wilder) (Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine). The Apartment was one of the first film to deal with sexual harassment. Typical for 1960s, there are no women in any managerial positions.
7. Easy Rider - (1969, Dennis Hopper) (Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson). Not many films have documented an era of American culture the way it was for the young people of the era. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's story of two men who go in search of America and 'freedom' is a sign of the times.
8. A Hard Day's Night - (1964, Richard Lester) (The Beatles, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington). There has never been and never will be another band like the Beatles. The Beatles capture a time that can never be repeated.
9.The Sound of Music - (1965, Robert Wise) (Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer). Is the feel good family film, during a era when civil rights, the space program and the Vietnam War were in the headlines.
10.Planet of the Apes - (1968, Franklin J. Schaffner) (Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell). This movie changed modern day science-fiction films forever.
11. The Birds - (1963, Alfred Hitchcock) (Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy). Hitchcock, dirested some great films in the 1960s, inspiring all modern horror pictures with PSYCHO. 3 years later, he made a movie that goes into the supernatural.
12. The Hustler - (1961, Robert Rossen) (Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott). The Hustler" is very much a film of the 60's, when filmmakers were trying to get away from the WWII era, with its strict conformity to American values. In this film, Bert Gordon and Minnesota Fats represent the establishment. Eddie Felson, is out to beat the establishment. But.. the establishment beats Eddie, one way or another. His idealism is useless. He must conform to the establishment's rules, expressed in the film as "character", or give up his dreams.
13. My Fair Lady - (1964, George Cukor) (Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Wilfrid Hyde-White). A Beautifully made film of a Broadway musical of a bygone age.
14. Goldfinger - (1964, Guy Hamilton) (Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman). Goldfinger, had the most memorable characters and scenes I can remember over four decades of Bond films. A treasure among the films of the 1960s.
15. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - (1969, George Roy Hill) (Paul Newman, Robert Redford). The film is about friendship between Newman and Redford, from the opening to the final scene… Sundance seems closer to the traditional Western character... He is strong, silent, willing to face confrontations and shoot it out… Butch is charming and brave, who has never killed anyone, and tries to avoid showdowns…
16. Rosemary's Baby - (1968, Roman Polanski) (Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon). Rosemary's Baby showcases a couple of the most memorable performances: Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse. She looks like she is physically ill from her pregnancy . And Ruth Gordon, as Minnie Castevet, the always friendly, but giving you the feeling that, hidden behind her kindness. So, if you think a horror film needs shock moments, vampires, werewolf, serial killers or blood . You will change your mind after watching this film.
17. Breakfast at Tiffany's - (1961, Blake Edwards) (Audrey Hepburn, George Papard. Audrey is very believable as Holly because her character is someone who is pretending to be sophisticated girl from humble beginnings. Once in a while you will hear in her voice the "country-girl" drawl, and you will see through her. George Peppard is also very handsome and believable as the "starving" writer who also has to sell himself out in order to earn a living.
18. Point Blank - (1967, John Boorman) (Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn). A huge influence on all the tough-loner-looking-for-revenge, movies to come. What's really interesting is how Marvin's unemotional and seldom speaking character will keep you watching.
19. Bullitt - (1968, Peter Yates) (Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn). Steve McQueen, plays a intense, low-key cop. The film Bullitt, features the famous car-chase scene that set the standard .
20. From Russia With Love - (1963, Terence Young) (Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Daniela Bianch). From Russia With Love ,is filled with nonstop action and adventure, and a intelligent plot that showcased the world was like in 1963. Capitalist and Communists are set to work against each other by SPECTRE, an organization which does not give any special considerations to economic systems, but wishes to weaken the balance of world power and take control . Great acting performances from not only Sean Connery, but Robert Shaw, Pedro Armendariz, and Lotte Lenya.
21. Cape Fear - (1962, J. Lee Thompson) (Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Polly Bergen). Cape Fear, is riveting from first scene to last. It's well shot, the acting is excellent. It is an very interesting complex scary film.
Please click here to view my other "Groovy 60's" movie picks.