Movies from the 1960s not only spark memories to those of us we watched it in the theater, but they impact and entertain young, “streaming and DVD” people today as they did the last generation of movie goers.
Here are some of my favorite movies of the 1960s.
1. The Apartment.(1960) ~ Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in her first leading role. Jack Lemmon plays a poor schmuck who wants to rise up the ladder in the company. So he offers his apartment key to married executives at his office so they can carry on their “affairs” with secretaries and elevator girls. He inadvertently ends up with a young woman (elevator) girl who tries to commit suicide in his apartment after her lover (Fred MacMurray) dumps her. Directed by Billy Wilder, the movie has extraordinary acting, humor, drama and a bit of sadness. 2. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) ~ This sad tale of the real Bonnie and Clyde dominated an era where the underdog was rooted as hero. Watergate and Vietnam war was going on, and those who went against the establishment were heroes. So Bonnie and Clyde movie with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty came at a time where audiences were more willing to embrace thieves who thumbed their noses at the government and police. The slow moving ambush of Bonnie and Clyde by the Feds, is still considered the most brutal depiction of death on film ever. 3. Easy Rider (1969)~ if there were ever a movie that represented the 1960s this would be the one. It also started a biker fad that is still alive today. The movie is about a couple of drug dealers, going from the West Coast to New Orleans as free loving hippees. They come across discrimination for wanting the very freedom everyone was talking about. Great music, with real people, and one of the first films to buck the Hollywood system and end up an Independent film. 4. The Graduate (1967) ~ shockingly naughty and sexy and still naughty today — The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, and Anne Bancroft is about an older married woman, seducing a younger man. And who hasn’t ever met or known of someone who was seduced by an older woman? What’s great about the movie is everything works, the acting, the script, and the music by Simon and Garfunkel. 5. The Sound of Music (1965) ~ the hills are alive with the sound of applause as I mention this delightful movie for all generations. The story of the Von Trapp family, the history of World War II, a romance, with Julie Andrews and her leading man Christopher Plummer all contribute to this wonderful tale of a musical family. This movie is pure perfection with wonderful cinematography, music and story. Once you sit to watch it, you won’t move until it’s over. Brilliant. 6. West Side Story (1961) ~ Who can resist a tale of Romeo and Juliet. Except this time it’s about the gangs of New York, the White Jets and rival gang Puerto Rican Sharks and the love that blossoms between Maria (Natalie Woods) and Tony (Richard Beymer). The story of forbidden love is timeless and the music…well makes you “like being in America.” 7. Psycho (1960)~ There may never be another slasher movie were you never see the victim actually murdered, but are just as creeped out by watching the blood drain down the shower. OR where you see the star of the show being killed off in the first half hour of the movie. Great horror and twists by the wonderful Alfred Hitchcock. Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins still RULE when it comes to keeping you at the edge of your seat. 8. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)~ This movie with the all American Gregory Peck was a film that truly showed the hopelessness of blacks in the segregated south. A lawyer, has to defend a black man of raping a white woman, when it was clear her alcoholic father did it. Yet the jury points the finger at the handicapped black man. The story is not dated because it’s an excellent adaptation of courage in the face of great prejudice and sticking with what is right, moral and sound. 9. Guess Who is Coming to Dinner~ (1967) Another great film of the time which embraced the changes going on between race in America. It also addressed interracial marriage. Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and the beautiful Sidney Poitier continue to entertain with wit, humor and thought provoking dialogue that addresses issues facing any married couple. Still funny, still great, it’s worth the time to watch it again, and beats the remake hands down In every way. 10. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)~This brilliant adaptation of the true story of real poet T. E. Lawrence, never fails to entertain no matter what age. The story of adventure, grit, honor and morality triumphs over all every time. Peter O’Toole deserved the Oscar for this one, but was nominated that year for best actor. His performance, was genius and crazy, just like T.E. Lawrence was in real life. Worth a watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon with a cup of hot coco and a warm comforter.
Here are some honorable mentions, not my favorites, but I’d watch them again. A Hard Days Night (1964) with the Beatles. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey. 2001 Space Odyssey 1968 , The Wild Bunch (1969), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and Midnight Cowboy, 1967.