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

Alphaville (1965, Fr./It.) (aka Alphaville, Une Etrange Aventure De Lemmy Caution), 99 minutes, D: Jean-Luc Godard

Cat Ballou (1965), 97 minutes, D: Elliott Silverstein

Darling (1965, UK), 128 minutes, D: John Schlesinger

Doctor Zhivago (1965, UK), 197 minutes, D: David Lean
Doctor Zhivago provided expansive, magical images of a frozen wintry Russian fairyland, a train ride through the Urals, and an ice-frozen house/castle (or dacha).

Falstaff (1965, Sp./Switz.) (aka Chimes at Midnight, or Campanadas a Medianoche), 113 minutes, D: Orson Welles

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), 83 minutes, D: Russ Meyer

Help! (1965, UK), 92 minutes, D: Richard Lester

The Ipcress File (1965, UK), 109 minutes, D: Sidney J. Furie

A Patch of Blue (1965), 105 minutes, D: Guy Green

Pierrot Le Fou (1965, Fr.) (aka Crazy Pierrot, or Pierrot Goes Wild), 110 minutes, D: Jean-Luc Godard

Repulsion (1965, UK), 104 minutes, D: Roman Polanski
A distubing, tense, frightening psychological horror thriller and one of Roman Polanski's best films - his second feature film (after Knife in the Water (1962)) and his first in English. A macabre tale about a beautiful, timid, young blonde manicurist named Carol Ledoux (21 year-old Catherine Deneuve) from Belgium. The film basically takes place in a single location -- Carol's tiny London (Kensington) apartment -- which she shares with her older, sexually-liberated sister Hélène (Yvonne Furneaux), who is involved with a married boyfriend, a salesman named Michael (Ian Hendry). While they are away on holiday in Italy for two weeks, Carol suffers a several mental breakdown with hallucinations and nightmares, one after the other. She imagines such harrowing images as a phantom night-time rapist, and giant cracks appearing from the walls with hands emerging from them to grope her (borrowed from Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946)). A film's tagline declared: "The nightmare world of a virgin's dreams becomes the screen's shocking reality." The film revolves around the deterioration of the sexually-repressed, claustrophobic, and paranoid Carol (brilliantly acted by Deneuve), and leads to two brutal murders. The film borrows many elements from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960, UK), such as sexual voyeurism and subtle auditory hints, and derives much of the suspense and dread  from the use of everyday sounds (such as dripping water, the ticking of an alarm clock, a ringing telephone and doorbell, etc.). Often called one of the first English "New Wave" films, the film was controversial in both its graphic depictions of rape, but also featured the first orgasm 'heard' on the British screen.

Ship of Fools (1965), 149 minutes, D: Stanley Kramer

The Shop on Main Street (1965, Czech.) (aka Obchod na Korze), 125 minutes, D: Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos

The Sound of Music (1965), 174 minutes, D: Robert Wise
This lovely 20th Century Fox Best Picture-winning film was based on the original 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical play and on the 1949 memoirs regarding the true story of the famous singing Von Trapp family. They fled to escape the Nazis who were in the process of annexing Austria in 1938 during the Anschluss. It was a mixture of comedy, romance, and dramatic suspense - with a wonderful collection of musical tunes. Unlike the many hard-hitting B/W social dramas of the 60s (and the many troubling historical events including the threat of nuclear war, the start of the Vietnam War, JFK's assassination, and the Watts Riots), the successful and entertaining film (with five Academy Award wins) became the highest-grossing film of all time, dethroning Gone with the Wind (1939) for about five years. In its stylized dream world, restless novice postulant Maria (Julie Andrews) at the Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria was first pictured daydreaming on the hillside surrounded by the beautiful Alps and singing the title song: "The Sound of Music" ("the hill are alive..."). Maria was persuaded by the Reverend Mother (Peggy Wood) to take a governess position for the motherless, singing family of stern, arrogant and retired militaristic widower Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) who was soon to be engaged to Austrian Baroness Schroeder (Eleanor Parker). At his expansive villa, she met the seven mischievous lined-up children, who had a well-deserved reputation for scaring off caretakers: 16 year-old Liesl (Charmain Carr), 14 year-old Friedrich (Nicholas Hammond), 13 year-old Louisa (Heather Menzies), 11 year-old Kurt (Duane Chase), 10 year-old Brigitta (Angela Cartwright), almost 7 year-old Marta (Debbie Turner), and 5 year-old Gretl (Kym Karath). Maria soon broke down the childrens' wariness of her by teaching them lessons and singing songs to them, such as the instructive "Do-Re-Mi" and "My Favorite Things." Although she refused to obey all of the Captain's orders, she also fell in love with her employer amidst the ominous Nazi occupation, and married him when he broke up with the Baroness. In the film's tense conclusion, the family was able to fool and convince the Nazis that they were journeying to the Salzburg music festival to perform. During their show and the singing of "So Long, Farewell," the family retreated backstage to take an escape route to the convent's Abbey before trekking over the Austrian Alps to find freedom in Switzerland (reprising "Climb Ev'ry Mountain").

A Thousand Clowns (1965), 118 minutes, D: Fred Coe

Tokyo Olympiad (1965, Jp.) (aka Tôkyô Orinpikku), 170 minutes, D: Kon Ichikawa

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