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

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), 115 minutes, D: Blake Edwards

The Exiles (1961), 72 minutes, D: Kent MacKenzie

The Guns of Navarone (1961, UK), 157 minutes, D: J. Lee Thompson

The Hustler (1961), 134 minutes, D: Robert Rossen
A dramatic, realistic character study based on Walter Tevis' novel. A young, arrogantly-cocky, anti-hero, pool-hall hustler, "Fast Eddie" Felson (Paul Newman), challenges acclaimed, cool, professional Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in Ames Billiards Room in New York City. The naive, talented, and ultimately self-destructive challenger loses. Defeated and self-pitying, he meets and falls in love with another loner - alcoholic, desperate, waifish cripple Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie) - whom he ultimately forsakes. He attracts the attention of slimy, calculating, venal, and repulsive promoter Bert Gordon (George C. Scott). With financial backing from the pimpish entrepreneur, Felson struggles to get back on top - at a great cost to his own self-esteem and soul. Reprised twenty-five years later, with Paul Newman as an older, wiser Eddie Felson in director Martin Scorsese's Color of Money.

The Innocents (1961, UK), 99 minutes, D: Jack Clayton

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), 190 minutes, D: Stanley Kramer
During the Nuremberg war crime trials (which occurred during the post-war years from 1945-1949), crimes against humanity (Nazi atrocities) were prosecuted. Three years of trials had passed, and most of the major Nazis had been tried. There were four additional German judges who were brought to trial in 1948 - for using their offices to swear allegiance to Nazi policies, and conduct Nazi sterilization and cleansing policies. The main trial judge was retired American Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) in a three-man judiciary, while the defendants were represented by Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell), and the prosecutor was strident and vicious Colonel Tad Lawson (Richard Widmark), known for liberating the camps. One of the four defendants was well-reknowned author and professor Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster), who objected to the trial altogether and remained silent. There were specifically two claims against Janning, who eventually testified under oath: (1) the Feldenstein case (Janning condemned elderly Jew Feldenstein to death for having sex with Irene Hoffman (Judy Garland), an Aryan, to abide by the Nazi's Racial Pollution law); and (2) the Petersen case (Janning had approved the sterilization of Rudolph Petersen, because he was 'feeble-minded'). Judge Haywood sentenced each of the four judges to life imprisonment, although the decision was not unanimous. As Rolfe predicted, none of those condemned to a sentence less than death at any of the Nuremberg trials was still serving their term just over a decade later. All of the judges were released within a few years.

The Ladies Man (1961), 95 minutes, D: Jerry Lewis

Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Fr./It.) (aka L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad), 94 minutes, D: Alain Resnais

Lola (1961, Fr./It.), 90 minutes, D: Jacques Demy

Lover Come Back (1961), 107 minutes, D: Delbert Mann
This vintage, second Doris Day-Rock Hudson lightweight satirical romantic comedy again featured two themes: mistaken identity and unexpected romance. The feature-length sitcom starred Hudson as playboyish, heaving-drinking Jerry Webster, ad executive of a Madison Avenue company working for incompetent boss Peter Ramsey (Tony Randall). Doris Day portrayed Carol Templeton, the prim new account ad executive at the rival firm of Brackett headed by Mr. John Brackett (Howard St. John). She was disgruntled with Webster for alleged unethical methods (including bribes, booze, and babes) to acquire a large key account from J. Paxton Miller (Jack Oakie). After she discovered that a new intoxicating product (fictional) known as "VIP" was being created by reclusive chemist Dr. Linus Tyler (Jack Kruschen), Carol was determined to win the account, but things became complicated when she mistakenly believed that Webster was "Dr. Tyler" and the two started to fall in love.

The Misfits (1961), 124 minutes, D: John Huston

La Notte (1961, It./Fr.) (aka The Night), 115 minutes, D: Michelangelo Antonioni

One-Eyed Jacks (1961), 141 minutes, D: Marlon Brando

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), 79 minutes, D: Disney Studio

One, Two, Three (1961), 115 minutes, D: Billy Wilder

A Raisin in the Sun (1961), 128 minutes, D: Daniel Petrie

Splendor in the Grass (1961), 124 minutes, D: Elia Kazan
A tragic, coming-of-age melodrama set in the mid-1920s in a small, rural Kansas town, from playwright William Inge's original, award-winning script. Star-crossed, teenaged sweethearts, poor HS senior Wilma Dean "Deanie" Loomis (Natalie Wood) and rich Bud Stamper (Warren Beatty in his film debut) fall deeply and passionately in love, but are repressed by the sexual mores of the time, their class differences, and disapproval from their parents - especially her prudish, puritanical mother (Audrey Christie) and his rigid, domineering father (Pat Hingle). Deanie's pent-up sexual longings cause her to almost go insane in a memorable bathtub scene. Repercussions cause Bud to chase after slutty girl Juanita Howard (Jan Norris), and eventually marry Italian Angelina (Zohra Lampert), while Deanie is institutionalized following a suicidal nervous breakdown. Years later, the two meet again and she resolves her feelings about him.

Through a Glass Darkly (1961, Swe.) (aka Sasom I En Spegel), 89 minutes, D: Ingmar Bergman.

Viridiana (1961, Sp./Mex.), 90 minutes, D: Luis Bunuel

West Side Story (1961), 153 minutes, D: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
An energetically-choreographed, Best Picture-winning musical that is loosely based on Shakespeare's tale of ill-fated lovers, Romeo and Juliet. A landmark, highly-honored, ground-breaking Broadway musical transposed to the big screen and set on location in 1950s New York on the Upper West Side. With a memorable musical score from Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Includes such popular songs as "The Jet Song," "America," "Cool," "I Feel Pretty," "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "One Hand, One Heart," and "Maria." Two rival teenaged gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo (George Chakiris) and the white Jets, led by Riff (Russ Tamblyn) rumble with each other for turf on the sidewalks and streets of the city. Two young people on opposing sides, Polish Jet member Tony (Richard Beymer) and Bernardo's sister Maria (Natalie Wood) become 'star-crossed' lovers. His attempts at peace-making during a rumble accidentally lead to the deaths of both gang leaders and further tragic circumstances in a tear-stained scene set on an outdoor basketball court.

Yojimbo (1961, Jp.) (aka The Bodyguard), 110 minutes, D: Akira Kurosawa

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