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Top 10 Movies of the 1960s

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Niki Neptune. The 1960s saw Hollywood turn to spaghetti westerns, psychological horror and epics on a grand scale. For our series of the Best Movies of All Time, we’ve chosen ten movies per decade based on their iconic status, critical acclaim, box-office success, and watchability. And just so you know, we’re not necessarily choosing the movies your film studies professor would pick. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, in this installment of our series on the greatest movies of all time, we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movies of the 1960s. Special thanks to our users jwiking62, ibriers 1, Zachary Singa, Jerome Magajes, 14728, Andrew A. Dennison, Justin Phillips and William Brick for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Niki Neptune.

This decade saw Hollywood turn to spaghetti westerns, psychological horror and epics on a grand scale. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, in this installment of our series on the greatest movies of all time, we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movies of the 1960s.

For our series of the Best Movies of All Time, we’ve chosen ten movies per decade based on their iconic status, critical acclaim, box-office success, and watchability. And just so you know, we’re not necessarily choosing the movies your film studies professor would pick.

So sit back and relax as we drink our martinis shaken, not stirred, learn to stop worrying and love the bomb and never shower again.

#10: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)

Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and featuring a contemporary soundtrack, this wasn’t your typical shoot ‘em up western – but in an era when the typical shoot ‘em up was falling by the wayside, that’s exactly what the genre needed. Set in the 1890s, Newman and Redford play career criminals on the run from the law. The film itself was propelled by the chemistry between the film’s main stars, along with the Oscar winning screenplay.

#9: “The Sound of Music” (1965)

Based on a true story, this enduring classic is set in Austria as the Third Reich solidified its grasp on the region. Against the all-too-real backdrop of Nazi-occupied Europe unfolds a musical love story between a former nun and a hardened widower. The tale of a singing nanny who transforms the lives of her charges paralleled the previous success of Julie Andrews’ “Mary Poppins,” but “The Sound of Music” is indisputably a timeless story for the whole family.

#8: “Dr. Strangelove” (1964)

Still in the midst of the Cold War, this Stanley Kubrick film centers on a paranoid military general who dispatches orders for a nuclear attack – and the subsequent rush to stop it. Satirizing the tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, “Dr. Strangelove” is a dark comedy that benefits from Kubrick’s trademark meticulousness in both storytelling and style. Thanks to tour-de-force performances on behalf of Peter Sellers, this sinister film is now considered a comedy classic.

#7: “Goldfinger” (1964)

Sean Connery dons the tux in the third installment of the James Bond franchise. 007 is after a criminal mastermind, who’s cooked up an elaborate scheme to devalue all the gold in Fort Knox. Sometimes funny, always fast-paced and always sexy, “Goldfinger” was one of the first true blockbusters, and was the first 007 flick to win an Oscar. It also became a prototype that the series, and similar genre films, adhered to for decades.

#6: “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962)

It’s a coming-of-age tale with a dark topic at its core. Following a small-town attorney and his young children as they navigate a controversial court case that pits them against bigotry and violence, “To Kill a Mockingbird” highlights disparities in the criminal justice system and the effects of racism. Based on Harper Lee’s novel, it was a landmark film both in subject matter and in tone, and Gregory Peck’s Oscar-winning performance set the standard for movie heroes to come.

#5: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

Part of the Spaghetti Western phenomenon, this film stars Clint Eastwood as a man with no name on the hunt for buried gold. Paired with a mercenary and a career criminal, the trio backstabs and double-crosses each other throughout the search. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was originally criticized for its violence. But it was later credited with revitalizing the Western genre.

#4: “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962)

The longest film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar, “Lawrence of Arabia” stars Peter O’Toole as the real-life British officer who helps lead an Arabic revolt against Turkish rule. Epic in scope and expertly shot, the film is noted for its aesthetics and for the scale and intricacies of its plot. Released to wide acclaim amongst audiences and film buffs, this visually stunning, multiple Oscar-winning David Lean masterpiece is widely considered one of the best movies ever made.

#3: “The Graduate” (1967)

It’s the movie that introduced audiences to the joys of “cougars.” With Dustin Hoffman as a college grad who’s seduced by an older woman, but ends up falling for her daughter, this Mike Nichols comedy-drama propelled Hoffman into the limelight and earned an Oscar nod for his breakout performance. With its melancholy Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack that perfectly punctuates the film’s sense youthful alienation, “The Graduate” tells the story of a generation.

#2: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s immersive exploration of man’s evolution and voyage to space is regarded as one of film’s greatest – but, it received as many derisively negative reviews as it did positive ones. Established in four acts, the movie looks at man’s prehistoric beginnings, before focusing entirely on space exploration. Noted for its lack of dialogue, special effects and dynamic visuals, “2001: A Space Odyssey” established a strong cult following before becoming a renowned movie classic that transformed science fiction forever.

Honorable Mentions

- “Midnight Cowboy” (1969)
- “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967)
- “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)
- “Planet of the Apes” (1968)
- “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
- “My Fair Lady” (1964)

#1: “Psycho” (1960)

Shifting the norms of what was acceptable in terms of violence and sexuality in film, this Alfred Hitchcock standard set the movie industry on its ear. A young woman vanishes after stealing money from her employer, and her disappearance leads to the discovery of a gruesome secret. The movie was a smash hit with audiences, prompting long lines at movie screenings and raking in millions. Critics eventually warmed to the film, with “Psycho” earning four Academy Award nominations.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite movie of the ‘60s? For more thrilling top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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