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


Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Alice's Restaurant (1969), 111 minutes, D: Arthur Penn

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969, UK), 145 minutes, D: Charles Jarrott

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), 104 minutes, D: Paul Mazursky
The fifth highest-grossing film of 1969, and with four Oscar nominations (one was for Mazursky's original screenplay) for Mazursky's directorial debut film. Set against the time period of the late 1960s sexual revolution, this social satire starred two bourgeois couples: documentary film-maker Bob Sanders (Robert Culp) and wife Carol (Natalie Wood), and Ted Henderson (Elliot Gould) and his wife Alice (Dyan Cannon). As a foursome, they experimented with New Age-y openness, enlightenment, therapy, and honesty - and the monogamous couples considered experimenting with swinging (or wife-swapping).

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), 110 minutes, D: George Roy Hill
Director George Roy Hill's likeably entertaining, charming and amusing revisionist western was actually a comedy/drama and buddy film. Mixed together were impudent slapstick comedy, conventional Western action, contemporary music, and humorous dialogue to characterize the past and irreverently poke fun at typical western film cliches. It became one of the most-popular, appealing, beguilingly star-driven, tragi-comedy Westerns ever made. About two charming, legendary, turn-of-the-century, train-robbing outlaws - with comedy, drama, action, a witty script, and two handsome leads, Redford and Newman. The romanticized buddy film told of the friendship and camaraderie shared between the two handsome and humorous buddies, who mocked and defied authority and the Establishment. Their characters were loosely based on real-life, legendary outlaws Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longbaugh (slick gunslinger The Sundance Kid) and the Hole in the Wall gang. The film's early 1900's anti-heroes were free-wheeling, non-chalant Butch (Paul Newman) and sharpshooting Sundance (Robert Redford), both with human fallible traits - their specialty was robbing trains, until they bungled their second attempt on the Union Pacific Express and were relentlessly pursued by authorities in a posse. With Sundance's beautiful, school-teacher lover Etta Place (Katharine Ross), they fled to Bolivia (after a brief stopover in NYC) to seek further wealth and better luck. In the end, they were outnumbered and died in a blazing, hail of bullets, freeze-frame shootout, reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde (1967). The ending of their fateful last stand mythologized and immortalized the two outlaw heroes for posterity. Featured the Oscar-winning Best Song "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" while Etta and Butch shared a bicycle ride.

Easy Rider (1969), 94 minutes, D: Dennis Hopper
Widely considered a generation-defining, youth-oriented classic, this film still engrosses those nostalgic for 60's era wanderlust - seeking inspiration for the next road trip. Two motorcyclist biker outlaws (drug-dealers) (Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper) embark on a coast-to-coast odyssey across America in this landmark counter-culture road drama/travelogue, searching for the 'real' America. In the Southwest, they encounter wide open spaces, hippies in a commune, small-town rednecks and paranoia, drugs, a drunken, jailed lawyer (Jack Nicholson), sex in a New Orleans bordello, a psychedelic trip in a graveyard, and a violent end. This often-imitated but never-duplicated movie defined a generation and has the greatest 60's soundtrack (featuring The Byrds, The Band, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, The Electric Prunes, and more). The low-budget film, made for $375,000, was directed by young star Dennis Hopper and went on to make multiple millions and change the pop culture landscape forever.

Fellini Satyricon (1969, It./Fr.) (aka Satyricon), 138 minutes, D: Federico Fellini

Hello, Dolly! (1969), 129 minutes, D: Gene Kelly

The Italian Job (1969, UK), 99 minutes, D: Peter Collinson

Kes (1969, UK), 110 minutes, D: Ken Loach

The Learning Tree (1969), 107 minutes, D: Gordon Parks

Medium Cool (1969), 110 minutes, D: Haskell Wexler

Midnight Cowboy (1969), 119 minutes, D: John Schlesinger
An exceptional, provocative, gritty buddy film - a poignant, downbeat, and tragic drama. It was a portrait of a naive, small-town Texan Joe Buck (Jon Voight), a slow-witted, pretty-boy blonde, who transplanted himself to NYC. He unexpectedly became an unsuccessful male prostitute-gigolo in Manhattan. Out of necessity, he was forced to befriend slimy, tubercular, limping, homeless, petty thief and con artist Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), the film's anti-hero, who dreamt of making it rich in sunny Florida. The two established interdependent bonds of love and trust in the big city, both hoping for a better life elsewhere. The unglamorous, sickly Rizzo bonded with the disillusioned drifter and together they struggled to live a marginalized existence in American society. Once-controversial because it was originally rated X, this adult-oriented, Oscar-winning Best Picture film was made on location in New York to portray seediness, corruption, and big-city anonymity, and based on James Leo Herlihy's novel.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969, UK), 116 minutes, D: Ronald Neame

The Sorrow and the Pity (1969, Fr./Switz./W.Germ.) (aka Le Chagrin et La Pitié), 251 minutes, D: Marcel Ophüls

Take the Money and Run (1969), 85 minutes, D: Woody Allen

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), 129 minutes, D: Sydney Pollack

True Grit (1969), 128 minutes, D: Henry Hathaway

The Wild Bunch (1969), 145 minutes, D: Sam Peckinpah
A controversial, brutally-violent, late 60s Western about the demise of a desperate, small gang of aging outlaws in the early 1900s that still clings to codes of honor, loyalty, and courage. Pike Bishop (William Holden), leader of the 'wild bunch,' is hired for their final job. In the stunning opening sequence, the gang - disguised as US Cavalry soldiers, ride into a Texas town and rob the railway office's bank. The boss of the railroad hires a mercenary, bounty-hunting posse, led by Pike's former buddy Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan) to pursue them, as the gang flees into Mexico, during the revolution of 1914. They are double-crossed by an anti-revolutionary dictator/Generalissimo Mapache (Emilio Fernandez) after the hijacking of weapons from a US ammunitions train. Attempting to redeem themselves by opposing an entire corrupt Mexican platoon, they are massacred in the famous, ultra-violent, slow-motion, colorful bloodbath finale.

Women in Love (1969, UK), 131 minutes, D: Ken Russell

Z (1969, Fr./Algeria), 128 minutes, D: Costa-Gavras

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