Greatest Films of the 1960s
Greatest Films of the 1960s


Greatest Films of the 1960s
1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

1964

Becket (1964, UK), 148 minutes, D: Peter Glenville
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Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, UK), 93 minutes, D: Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick's classic, cynical Cold War, satirical black comedy, with scathing humor and timeless performances, based on the novel Red Alert by Peter George and a script by Terry Southern. A crazed, psychotic US general Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), paranoid about his own potency and commies, sparks a nuclear crisis with a pre-emptive strike against "the Commies." The American President Muffley (Peter Sellers in one of three roles) must deal with gung ho military brass Gen. Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), bureaucratic bumbling, a drunken Soviet Premier and a twisted, black-gloved German rocket scientist, Dr. Strangelove himself (Sellers again). Ends with the memorable bucking broncho image of Major Kong (Slim Pickens) riding the fatal bomb.

Fail Safe (1964), 111 minutes, D: Sidney Lumet
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Goldfinger (1964, UK), 112 minutes, D: Guy Hamilton
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The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964, Fr./It.) (aka Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo), 137 minutes, D: Pier Paolo Pasolini
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A Hard Day's Night (1964, UK), 90 minutes, D: Richard Lester
The Beatles' first charming, wacky, original and impish movie was released not long after the Fab Four's landmark debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. At first thought to be a cross-promotional exploitation of their phenomenal 'Beatlemania', even critics agreed that it was an inventive, funny and ingenious musical comedy that later helped to inspire the music video craze. Innovative American director Richard Lester used the same type of goofy humor and imaginative visuals from his earlier experimental, grainy, hand-held short film, The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959) starring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, along with black-and-white film stock and a semi-documentary style. Screenwriter Alun Owen based his Oscar-nominated script on the group's frenzied popularity, supplemented by musical interludes of concert footage. The frantic film documents thirty-six hours of the group's life as they are on their way to London for a TV performance, marked by the memorable opening intercut to the title song - as the Liverpool group is chased by screaming, hysterical teenage girls while they board a train. The rock-and-roll stars express their charming, laid-back, and saucy personalities in this slice-of-life film that fictionalized their lives -- best exemplified during their interview scenes with their dry, playful one-liner responses (Reporter: "Are you a mod, or a rocker?" Ringo: "Um, no. I'm a mocker"). Wilfrid Brambell also plays Ringo's "very clean," eccentric grandfather who serves as the film's trouble-maker. The Academy's membership unjustly overlooked the now-classic songs in the film's un-nominated soundtrack in favor of those from Mary Poppins ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"), Dear Heart, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Robin and the 7 Hoods ("My Kind of Town"), and Where Love Has Gone. However, George Martin, the Beatles' producer often recognized as the "Fifth Beatle," was nominated for Best Adapted Score.

I Am Cuba (1964, USSR/Cuba), 140 minutes, D: Mikhail Kalatozov
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Marnie (1964), 130 minutes, D: Alfred Hitchcock
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Mary Poppins (1964), 139 minutes, D: Robert Stevenson
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The Masque of the Red Death (1964, UK/US), 89 minutes, D: Roger Corman
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My Fair Lady (1964), 170 minutes, D: George Cukor
One of the best and most popular musicals of all-time, a Best Picture-winner from Lerner and Loewe - based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion. Arrogant, fastidious, linguistics Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison repeating his Tony Award-winning performance on Broadway) wagers fellow linguist Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) that he can transform a Cockney flower-selling, street urchin Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) - a 'guttersnipe' - into a proper lady with prescribed diction/elocution lessons. The irrepressible 'guttersnipe' is scrubbed, dressed, and tutored, in time to attend the Ascot races and a society ball. In the end, he reluctantly falls in love with Eliza. Includes songs "On the Street Where You Live," "Get Me to the Church on Time," and "I Could Have Danced All Night."

The Pawnbroker (1964), 114 minutes, D: Sidney Lumet
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A Shot in the Dark (1964, UK/US), 101 minutes, D: Blake Edwards
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Topkapi (1964), 120 minutes, D: Jules Dassin
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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Fr./W. Germ.) (aka Les Parapluies de Cherbourg), 87 minutes, D: Jacques Demy
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Zorba the Greek (1964, UK/Greece), 142 minutes, D: Michael Cacoyannis
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Zulu (1964, UK), 139 minutes, D: Cy Endfield
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