Monday, August 28, 2017

The 100 Project: The Top 25 Movies of the 1960s

It's time for the next step in The 100 Project, my quest to work my way up to creating my own list of my top 100 movies. Click here for more details on how this is supposed to work. As for this particular post, we're into the decade of civil unrest and the sexual revolution, the 1960s. We were questioning societal and institutional values while becoming collectively more adventurous in our carnal endeavors. I think this batch of films represents that.

My Top 25 Movies of the 1960s

  • I've seen around 80 movies (and counting) that were released during the 1960s. That's a very small number in comparison to later decades, but still at least 30 more than any decade to this point. 
  • Westerns made a huge splash on this list, accounting for 5 entries plus an honorable mention.
  • With 16 movies filmed in color and 9 in black and white, this decade will have the most even split between the two.
  • This is the first decade in which I include a superhero movie.

25. Bullitt
The main story about a tough guy cop protecting a guy about to testify against the mob has been done numerous times over the years. Seldom has it been done to more exhilarating results. With its sublime car chases and all-macho performance from the legendary Steve McQueen it's a bit of a marvel this hasn't been remade.

24. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
If you start naming films known as Christmas classics, it probably won't be long before you get to this one. It serves as an annual reminder of the things we should be celebrating every year on our collective favorite holiday. It's also a wonderful redemption tale that clearly lends itself well to repeated viewings.

23. Batman: The Movie
On the surface, it appears to be a silly and campy kids movie featuring Batman and Robin. That aspect of it is hard to escape. However, it's really a brilliant spoof of the serials of the 1930s and 40s. It's also chock full of risque double entendre that flies right over the heads of the little ones who are too busy being dazzled by all the technicolor action. (Full Review)

22. Jason and the Argonauts
This sword and sandal epic revolves around a quest for the golden fleece. That's really secondary to some amazing stop-motion visuals and just loads of fun. It was a mainstay around my house for years while growing up and I loved it every single time.

21. Planet of the Apes
For lots of folks, it's just the film that inspired the current crop of Apes movies. In fact, youngsters who turn it on today might be put off by the poorly aged visuals. After all, instead of groundbreaking CGI, we're looking at people in monkey suits. If they can get passed that they'll find a movie with tons to say, much of it still relevant even fifty years later. And that ending, wow!

20. True Grit
Much like in 1956's The Searchers, John Wayne goes on a quest to find someone. This time he's a much more reluctant participant and only in it for the money. It's one of his best performances, but he's far from the only reason it's here. Kim Darby plays the young girl paying for Wayne's help. Their chemistry is excellent and the story is compelling. (Full Review)

19. Murder Inc.
This film is based on a real-life group of thugs who went by the eponymous moniker. It's dark, gritty, unflinching, sadly, mostly forgotten. And if you only know Peter Falk as Columbo, or not at all, you must see him here. He's perfectly grimy and certainly a guy you wouldn't want to see following you. (Slightly Longer Review)

18. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Is this the original buddy flick? Not at all, but it's definitely the first one to permeate the American landscape to the degree that it did. A lot of it was due to the off the charts chemistry between stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The blaze of glory ending is myth-making at its finest.

17. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
John Wayne makes another appearance, this time with Jimmy Stewart in tow. In tow isn't quite right because Stewart more than holds his own as the idealistic, aspiring politician. The contrast in personas between him and Wayne drives the movie splendidly. It's a western revolving around a single shot rather than a hail of bullets and you don't miss the gunfire. (Full Review)

16. The Hustler
While Butch and Sundance was a buddy movie, this film showcases Paul Newman more singularly. Good thing because the man is magnetic. He has an A-list cast to back him up, including a brilliant Jackie Gleason. Still, Newman commands the screen and makes shooting pool the coolest thing you can do even if it might cost you everything.

15. Night of the Living Dead
By now, the story is old hat. Previously dead people are suddenly up, stumbling around. looking for regular people to eat. What makes this movie work more than anything else is the claustrophobia it induces. We feel as if we're trapped in a small farmhouse with the people on the screen. This hour and a half of social commentary wrapped in terror gave birth to the modern zombie genre.

14. The Graduate
The age-old story of a young man, home from college getting seduced by one his mom's friends. It's a fairly common fantasy.Director Mike Nichols, along with stars Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, breathe life into it. The movie is clearly a product of the sexual revolution yet manages to become timeless.

13 .The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
This is a humor-filled western with some very stylish gunfights and tons of drop-dead gorgeous cinematography. In the lead, Clint Eastwood strikes the perfect balance between glaring, six-shooter wielding badass and deadpan comic. It is the last film of director Sergio Leone's The Man with No Name trilogy (or Dollars trilogy as it's recently become known) and it's the best of them all.

12. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
This movie is about George and Martha who have the rockiest of all marriages. They are played by then real life couple, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The energy they generate in giving each other all sorts of hell is amazing. Both are magnificent, but Taylor is other-worldly. She doesn't merely chew scenery. She first impales it on a flaming sword and swallows it whole.

11. Requiem for a Heavyweight
It's a boxing movie with almost no boxing in it. It's still works because it's the heavy-hearted character study of a fighter who has been forced to retire. He spends the film trying to figure out how to make it in a life without the only thing he knows. Look for another great supporting turn from Jackie Gleason, and one from Mickey Rooney, too. (Full Review)

10. Cool Hand Luke
By the late 1960s, with the spirit of protest heavy in the air, we began to see a lot of movies where the main character existed almost solely to rebel against authority. This is one such movie. Luke (Paul Newman) finds himself in jail after a drunken night of mischief. By the end of the film, he finds himself in our hearts. Newman is once again perfection, but he might have been outdone by a never-better George Kennedy. (Full Review)

9. In the Heat of the Night
In Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), we have another character rebelling against authority. The twist is that, as a police officer, he's also part of the establishment. He's trying to change the system from the inside while dealing with outright racism from people who are supposed to be his colleagues. He's also simultaneously trying to help solve a murder. Poitier trading proverbial jabs with Rod Steiger is compelling drama punctuated by the slap heard 'round the world.

8. Rosemary's Baby
This is an exercise in inescapable paranoia. Mia Farrow delivers arguably the greatest performance in horror history as the titular Rosemary. After two hours of anything goes film-making, whatever I think of Roman Polanski as a person aside for a moment, his show of cinematic restraint over the last few minutes gives us one of the most haunting endings of all-time. (Slightly Longer Review)

7. The Battle of Algiers
Based on events that took place during The Algerian Revolution, which lasted from 1954 to 1962, this is an engrossing and thought provoking war movie from beginning to end. Unlike most films in this genre, and perhaps this is my outsider's eye showing, it feels incredibly even handed making it a matter-of-fact retelling rather than being pro or anti one side or the other. (Slightly Longer Review)

6. Inherit the Wind
The entirety of Inherit the Wind revolves around the age-old debate of evolution vs. creation. Which way the film itself leans is brilliantly open to interpretation. Evidence can be found to support both. Then again, isn't that the way it is in real life? Within this debate we have some excellently written characters performed expertly by its wonderful cast. (Full Review)

5. Bonnie and Clyde
The real Bonnie and Clyde were a Depression-era couple who led a gang of bank robbers until the day they were gunned down by the police. Those basic facts are true of their cinematic avatars, yet they're romanticized to such a degree they become counterculture heroes. There may not be another movie more emblematic of its decade than Bonnie and Clyde is of the 1960s. It's also considered a watershed moment for the way sex and violence is depicted in movies.

4. Midnight Cowboy
People leaving the rural parts of America and heading to its big cities (particularly New York) has long been cliche. This film dives headfirst into this trope and explores every bit of it. To that it adds mounds of both sexual expression and repression. The chemistry between John Voight and Dustin Hoffman makes it great as both men are undeniably in tune with their characters. (Full Review)

3. Psycho
There's not much to say about Psycho that you haven't heard. You already know its legacy. You already know it's Hitchcock's most famous movie. You already know Anthony Perkins instantly became and forever will remain Norman Bates. You also know that every day since, multiple times around the world, Janet Leigh is slaughtered in her shower. The only thing left to say is if you haven't seen it yet, do it. (Full Review)

2. Once Upon a Time in the West
Director Sergio Leone took the lessons he learned from making The Man with No Name trilogy and put them to use here. He swaps out Clint Eastwood for Charles Bronson in the lead, essentially the same role. It's a step down, but the movie around Bronson is better. That's thanks to some wonderful storytelling, beautiful cinematography, highly stylized gun battles, and a perfect bit of stunt casting by having the normally wholesome Henry Fonda play the guy. Fonda is pure, menacing brilliance The film as a whole is arguably the greatest western ever made, certainly the greatest of the spaghetti variety.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
Gregory Peck gives the performance he's most famous for in this courtroom drama of a lawyer who takes on the unpopular task of defending a black man in an all-white town. As you might imagine, he and his family are put in danger by this decision. It tackles still relevant themes and does so in a way that is never short of compelling.

Honorable Mentions: The Apartment (1960), Belle du Jour (1967), The Birds (1963), The Jungle Book (1967), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Virgin Spring (1960), West Side Story (1961)

More From The 100 Project:


  1. The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly is pretty much in my top 10 all-time favorite films ever as that would be my pick for the best film of the 60s as I'm happy to see The Battle of Algiers in the list as it's an important film. My list would've been difficult as I would struggle to figure out which Kubrick film to put in or what film by Kurosawa, Bergman, Fellini, Ray, Hitchcock, Godard, Truffaut, and so on as it was a great decade for films outside of the U.S. at a time when American cinema was starting to change.

    1. No argument from me on The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It's a phenomenal film. Yes, The Battle of Algiers is an important film. Had to show it some love. Kubrick's 60s films don't really do it for me. I hate 2001: A Space Odyssey and wasn't all that fond of Dr. Strangelove, either.

  2. So much to love about this list. As much as I adore To Kill A Mockingbird, Psycho would probably top the list for me, followed closely by The Producers, Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate, The Lion in Winter, West Side Story, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Dr. Strangelove, and Belle de Jour. I am also VERY down with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (and really, every Paul Newman film you mention here), Inherit the Wind, and Planet of the Apes. Also: GOOD ON YOU for including Requiem for a Heavyweight. Such an under-appreciated film!

    Others you didn't mention that I love include: 2001, A Shot in the Dark, Charade, Cleo de 5 a 7, The Dirty Dozen, Divorce Italian Style, The Haunting, In Cold Blood, Jules & Jim, Kwaidan, The Manchurian Candidate, The Odd Couple, The Party, Playtime, Pocketful of Miracles, Splendor in the Grass, Village of the Damned, Wait Until Dark, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Wrong Box, and Zazie Dans le Metro.

    1. Thanks! I could realistically have put any of my top 10 in the top spot and been okay with it, so Psycho would be fine by me. More people need to see Requiem for a Heavyweight.

      Of the others you mention I have seen 2001, which I hate with an undying passion, and The Manchurian Candidate, which I like but not quite enough to make the list.

  3. Lots of good movies here. Of the 22 of these I've seen, I like 21 (I am not a fan of The Graduate). Inherit the Wind ranks as an all-time great for me, a movie I watch at least once per year.

    Here's a few worth seeing, including doubling up on a lot of Daniel's suggestions:
    Peeping Tom
    Black Sunday
    Splendor in the Grass
    La Jette
    Cleo from 5 to 7
    Lawrence of Arabia
    The Exterminating Angel
    The Manchurian Candidate
    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
    Shock Corridor
    The Haunting
    The Woman in the Dunes
    The Masque of the Red Death
    Dr. Strangelove
    A Hard Day's Night
    The Shop on Main Street
    The War Game
    Closely Watched Trains
    The Producers
    The Conformist
    Judgment at Nuremberg
    Divorce Italian Style
    This Sporting Life
    Seance on a Wet Afternoon
    The Professionals
    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
    Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
    Wait Until Dark

    Must sees on this list that I think will fit right in with the films you like: Peeping Tom, Seconds, Targets, They Shoot Horses Don't They, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, Shock Corridor, Black Sunday, The Haunting, Masque of the Red Death

    1. Thanks for all the suggestions. Peeping Tom and They Shoot Horses Don't They? are a couple I plan on seeing sooner rather than later. I have seen a few of the others you mentioned...

      Lawrence of Arabia - I found it bloated, boring, and Lawrence, unlikable.
      The Manchurian Candidate - Very good movie.
      Dr. Strangelove - Don't get all the hype for this. Apparently, I'm not that smart.

  4. I haven't seen most of them but your top three would also be my top three. Actually, I'm not sure, I think I liked Dr. Strangelove a bit more than Psycho.

    1. Cool. Must say I'm not a fan of Dr. Strangelove.

  5. Definitely agree with your #1! I've got Midnight Cowboy on my Blind Spot list this year so I'm looking forward to that.

    1. You know what they say about great minds. Can't wait for your reaction to Midnight Cowboy.

  6. GREAT choices!! Delighted to see Inherit the Wind among them. That's a film I stop and watch when ever I happen upon it and could conceivably see it being my top film of this decade. Tracy, March and Florence Eldridge are all beyond brilliant in it.

    I'll join in the praise for Requiem for a Heavyweight, an undeservedly little known film with what could be Quinn's best performance.

    Love the inclusion of The Grinch which is such a special film (as are the Charlie Browns that came along during this decade as well as Rudolph, Frosty and the rest of the stop motion specials).

    I can't say I return to this Batman very often (read never!) but it is goofy fun.

    The only one I can say I'm not a fan of is Night of the Living Dead, I understand its place in the horror canon and how influential it is but it simply isn't my type of film.

    I'll probably taper off when you get to the 70's and going forward but this decade is just a treasure trove of wonders and I have dozens in each year that I love so here we go again. As before I denoted my vote for best of the year with a * after the title.

    1. Thanks! I couldn't make this list and leave off Inherit the Wind.

      Glad to see the love for Requiem for a Heavyweight.

      I grew up on those Christmas specials. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the most iconic.

      Batman is very much goofy fun.

      I get it about Night of the Living Dead.

  7. 1960:
    The Dark at the Top of the Stairs-Like most William Inge adaptations this looks at the internal lives of a troubled small town Midwestern family with observant performances by all including Robert Preston, Eve Arden and Angela Lansbury.

    High Time-Which is what you’ll have watching this bright comedy of a millionaire businessman (Bing Crosby) returning to college for the education he missed when he was young and finding comradeship and love.

    Home from the Hill-A rich womanizing patriarch (Robert Mitchum) battles his bitter wife (Eleanor Parker) for control as he tries to toughen up their son (George Hamilton) as he approaches manhood while his illegitimate unacknowledged son (George Peppard) watches from the outside.

    Inherit the Wind*-Masterful version of the Scopes trial with two brilliant performances by Spencer Tracy and Fredric March at its core.

    Never on Sunday-An earnest American tries to reform a freewheeling Greek prostitute (Melina Mercouri-who makes the film a joyful experience) with limited results.

    North to Alaska-Rollicking comedy adventure of two prospectors (John Wayne & Stewart Granger) striking gold and one going to fetch the other’s fiancée who he finds has married so substitutes Michelle(Capucine), one of the girls from a brothel The Henhouse without telling him but finds he’s falling for her himself.

    Pollyanna-The Glad Girl comes to live with her Aunt Polly who rules the town with an iron repressive fist and sets about brightening everyone’s lives.

    Spartacus-Big sweeping and impressive rendering of the title character’s struggle to liberate the slaves from oppressive rule with a dynamic Kirk Douglas.

    The Time Machine-For its time a very inventive and impressive adaptation of H.G. Wells’s futuristic story.

    Where the Boys Are-Four college girls escape the cold New England weather for fun in the sun during Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale. Bright and bubbly most of the way but takes a dark turn near the end.

    Special Mentions: All but the first of these are films I’m not terribly fond of but are memorable for one reason or another.

    Bells are Ringing-A bright musical of Ella Peterson who works at Susanswerphone service and advises the customers on their lives. Judy Holliday’s final film is a great showcase for a wonderful talent taken far too soon.

    Black Sunday-An ancient evil witch and her henchman return from the grave to battle for the soul of her lookalike descendant.

    Eyes Without a Face-A mad doctor tries repeatedly to restore his disfigured daughter’s damaged face by nefarious methods. Strange and unsettling.

    The Fugitive Kind-Weird mess adapted from Tennessee Williams’s Orpheus Descending with Marlon Brando as a character named Snakeskin pursued by a sex starved Anna Magnani and a kohl-eyed punked out Joanne Woodward.

    Peeping Tom-Brilliant in its way but also rather sick drama of a voyeur who gets his kicks by filming women as he kills them. Destroyed its director’s career on release.

    Sex Kittens Go to College-This is here strictly for laughs. Mamie Van Doren plays the most unlikely college professor ever encased in pencil skirts and bullet bras. How Tuesday Weld moved from this sort of exploitation junk (among her credits are Rock, Rock, Rock and The Private Lives of Adam & Eve as well as this opus) to highly respected actress is a marvel of the age.

    All the Young Men, The Apartment, Bluebeard’s 10 Honeymoons, The Bramble Bush, Breathless, Elmer Gantry, The Entertainer, Exodus, Five Branded Women, From the Terrace, G. I. Blues, The Grass is Greener, Hellbent for Leather, The Last Voyage, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Magnificent Seven, Man on a String, Midnight Lace, The Mountain Road, Murder, Inc., Never Let Go, Portrait in Black, Psycho, The Rat Race, Rocco and His Brothers, Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, Shoot the Piano Player, Sons and Lovers, Strangers When We Meet, The Sundowners, Sunrise at Campobello, Swiss Family Robinson, Two Women, Two-Way Stretch, Village of the Damned, Wake Me When It’s Over, Wild River

    1. I get that Spartacus is a huge, sweeping epic, and I like it, but not nearly enough to put it on my list. Part of the problem is, for whatever reason, it always gets mixed up with Ben-Hur in my mind. It's almost like they combine to make one giant movie. Sad, I know.

      Been meaning to see Peeping Tom and Where the Boys Are for quite some time.

    2. I can see the confusion but outside of the chariot race and Stephen Boyd's work as Messala I find Ben-Hur a real challenge to wade through with Heston at his locked jaw worst but Spartacus, though overlong, involves me much more. I also think Spartacus has a much deeper bench with Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov, Olivier, Charles Laughton and yes even the potentially absurd Brooklyn inflected Tony Curtis creating memorable characters.

    3. I get it. Doesn't help that it's been at least 20 years since I've seen either.

  8. 1961:
    Breakfast at Tiffany's-Chic comedy/drama of a party girl’s quest for fulfillment with a perfect Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly.

    The Hustler*-An opportunist young pool player Fast Eddie Felsen (Paul Newman) works his way through the professional pool circles looking for advantage.

    The Innocents-First rate spooker with a great Deborah Kerr performance.

    Judgement at Nuremberg-Heavy, somber star laden film of the title event. Involving but dark and sad.

    The Misfits- A movie about despair. The despair of disappointed hopes and dreams, the loss of loved ones and at the passing of a way of life. Knowing that going in and if you don't mind downbeat films there are some really moving performances from a cast full of legends. The last film of both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.

    One, Two, Three-James Cagney final film for more than two decades is a rapid fire comedy of a frustrated Coke executive trying to keep tabs on his boss’s daffy daughter.

    The Pleasure of His Company-Raffish world traveler Pogo Poole (Fred Astaire) breezes into the San Francisco mansion of his ex-wife and her present husband as a not entirely welcome guest at his daughter’s (Debbie Reynolds) wedding causing much trouble along the way.

    Pocketful of Miracles-Mobster Dave the Dude, his moll Queenie and his gang pitch in for his good luck charm, beggar woman Apple Annie when she finds her daughter who has been raised in a Spanish convent is coming with her fiancée, a count and his father to meet her. Problem is she’s always presented herself as a rich socialite.

    Victim-In 50’s Britain where homosexuality was still illegal a barrister (Dirk Bogarde) is threatened with exposure and decides to fight back.

    Whistle Down the Wind-In a remote farming community a young girl (Hayley Mills) and her siblings discover an escaped convict (Alan Bates) in their barn and come to believe he is Jesus Christ.

    Special Mentions:
    Ada-Ada Dallas (Susan Hayward), a lady as they say of ill repute, marries on impulse Beau Gillis (Dean Martin), a dupe being used by a political machine to take over the governorship of a Southern state. Through much contretemps she eventually takes over the office herself and starts cleaning house.

    The Children’s Hour-Second screen version of Lillian Hellman’s once notorious play about suspected and suppressed lesbianism at a girl’s school and the power of rumor. Some of the attitudes are dated but has a super cast, Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine and James Garner among them.

    The Last Sunset-In many ways a Greek tragedy cloaked in the guise of a Western. Often referred to as “Strange on the Range” at the time of its release.

    A Majority of One-Lovely slightly overlong drama laced with humor that looks at how blind prejudice can be confronted by a commonality of interest. Rosalind Russell and Alec Guinness are miscast as a Jewess and Asian but they make their parts work through their skillful playing.

    Mr. Sardonicus-While looting his father’s grave looking for a lottery ticket a reprobate’s face freezes in a grotesque grimace which he forces a doctor to try and fix. It does not go as planned. Low budget creeper screams out for Vincent Price but is okay of its type.

    Sail a Crooked Ship-Kooky comedy with a playful spirit of a burglar who steals a ship to rob a bank!

    Town without Pity-Bleak, raw drama of Army attorney defending a group of soldiers who raped a young girl during the occupation of a town during the war.

    101 Dalmatians, Atlantis, the Lost Continent, The Big Gamble, The Canadians, Claudelle Inglish, Come September, A Fever in the Blood, Goodbye Again, The Great Imposter, The Honeymoon Machine, King of Kings, The King of the Roaring Twenties, Loss of Innocence , Lover Come Back, Murder, She Said, The Parent Trap, Raisin in the Sun, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, The Second Time Around, Summer and Smoke, A Taste of Honey, A Thunder of Drums, Too Late Blues, Underworld U.S.A., Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, West Side Story, Wild in the Country, The Young Doctors

    1. Somehow I never realized Victim and The Children's Hour were released the same year! Neither is as good as the lead performances housed within them, but they are both very good.

    2. I need desperately to see Judgement at Nuremberg.

      Not a big fan of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Audrey Hepburn was fantastic. The rest of the film was not nearly as good, especially Mickey Rooney's "yellow-face" routine.

    3. Ya Mickey Rooney is a blot on that lovely film although I'm not sure if they had hired an Asian actor the character wouldn't have been much less of a caricature.

      She's not in the picture very much but I LOVE Patricia Neal as Peppard's super chic benefactress 2-E.

    4. Yeah,that character was certainly written as a stereotype.

  9. 1962:
    Dr. No-Sean Connery debuts as 007 and the world is never the same.

    Gypsy-Ultimate stage mother Mama Rose drives her two daughters June and Louise to become stars. Despite her eventual success when Louise morphs into Gypsy Rose Lee her mad drive pushes everyone away. Great music and terrific performances from Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood.

    How the West Was Won-Expansive generation spanning saga of the Western expansion told through one family’s story. Impressive Cinerama photography, once in a lifetime cast and exciting action make this a very “movie” movie.

    Knife in the Water-A young couple on their way to go boating pick up a hitchhiker and decide to take him along. What follows is a psychological game of one-upmanship and danger. Roman Polanski’s first directorial effort.

    Lonely Are the Brave-Powerful elegiac drama of a cowboy who finds his way of life ending and his railing against it. Kirk Douglas’s favorite of his films contains what is probably his best performance.

    The Manchurian Candidate*-Chilling political drama of mind control and menace with a positively frightening Angela Lansbury.

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance-Beautifully realized allegory of the ending of the Wild West and the encroachment of modern life.

    The Miracle Worker-Two awe-inspiring performances by Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke ground this drama of Helen Keller’s early life with her teacher Annie Sullivan.

    The Music Man-Traveling charlatan Professor Harold Hill blows into River City, Iowa to dupe the gullible townspeople but gets more than he bargained for. Nice production and great songs with the charismatic Robert Preston recreating his stage triumph.

    Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?-Two once famous sisters live in seclusion since one was crippled in an accident and the other slips ever further into mental illness. Riveting, sad and frightening look at aging, dreams and envy resurrected the careers of its stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.

    Special Mentions:
    The Counterfeit Traitor-A man seeking to clear his name becomes a government spy and is drawn into a web of intrigue. Solid Cold War drama.

    Days of Wine and Roses-Brilliant acting from Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick highlight this drama of the disastrous effects of alcoholism on a young couple. Grim, grim, grim.

    Jules & Jim-Two best friends both fall for the same woman and compete for her through the years. Though this François Truffaut film is madly venerated I just don’t quite understand why.

    Walk on the Wild Side-Crazy trash of drifter Dove (Laurence Harvey) searching for first love Hallie (Capucine) only to find her working in a New Orleans bordello, The Dollhouse. Aside from the great opening credits and song this is hopelessly miscast with the English Harvey and French Capucine not believable for an instant as Southerners. Barbara Stanwyck is terrific as the coded lesbian madam and Jane Fonda full of spunk as the young tramp Kitty Twist.

    Advise & Consent, All Fall Down, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Bon Voyage, The Cabinet of Caligari, Cape Fear, The Chapman Report, Cleo from 5 to 7, Experiment in Terror, 40 Pounds of Trouble, Gigot, The Horizontal Lieutenant, The Horse without a Head, House of Women, If a Man Answers, A Kind of Loving, La Jetee, A Light in the Piazza, Lolita, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, The L-Shaped Room, Mamma Roma, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, The Password is Courage, A Period of Adjustment, Reach for Glory, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Ride the High Country, Sweet Bird of Youth, 13 West Street, To Kill a Mockingbird, Two for the Seesaw, Two Weeks in Another Town

    1. The Manchurian Candidate is a very good movie. I'll be adding it to the "Honorable Mentions."

      Dr. No? Yes.

      How the West Was Won falls into that strange category of western for me. It sounds familiar enough that I MIGHT have seen it with my grandfather back in the day, I can't say for sure so I may as well watch it now.

      I am quite sure I've seen The Miracle Worker, but it's been quite some time so I should probably revisit that, too.

    2. If it's been a while for How the West Was Won you probably haven't seen the restored version where they have been able to remove the lines that plagued the film when they adapted it from its original Cinemascope presentation. It makes a world of difference along with the fact that they have remastered the film and its beautifully crisp now. It's long but since the three vignettes that make up the whole were each directed by a different person it's interesting to see how they were able to blend it into a harmonious whole.

    3. I did not know that. Now, I'm a bit more curious about it.

  10. 1963:
    All the Way Home-In the early days of the last century a happy family is rocked by the sudden death of the father, how the wife (an award level Jean Simmons) and children adjust is the thrust of the film. Sad but worthwhile.

    The Birds-Hitchcock’s last great film was designed to scare the hell out of people and it succeeds.

    A Child is Waiting-A music teacher (Judy Garland) goes to work at a center for retarded, the term in use at the time of the film’s release, children and becomes close with a boy with marginal disabilities who has been abandoned by his parents. The center’s head (Burt Lancaster) understands the desire to reach out but also the dangers and the two but heads. Earnest and compassionate.

    The Great Escape-The title says it all. Equal parts adventure, comedy and drama with a standout Steve McQueen.

    Hud*-Portrait of a bastard and the people in his sphere looks at familial conflict and the price of idol worship. Fantastic direction and a quartet of great performances.

    Love with the Proper Stranger-After an impulsive indiscretion a young girl (Natalie Wood) finds herself in the family way and seeks out the young musician (Steve McQueen) responsible. While he looks for ways out of the situation she begins to assert herself as an independent woman.

    The Prize-Hitchcockian thriller full of twists and turns. Writer Andrew Craig (Paul Newman) arrives in Stockholm to accept his Pulitzer Prize only to become enmeshed in intrigue aplenty.

    The Running Man-A British man (Laurence Harvey) and his wife (Lee Remick) try and dupe the insurance company by faking his death and fleeing to Malaga. All seems to be going according to plan until the insurance investigator (Alan Bates) appears and desperation sets in. Hard to say what’s more beautiful, the locations or Lee Remick and Alan Bates.

    The Servant-A young timid man hires a new valet and over time the master/servant roles are reversed to a tragic degree.

    Wives & Lovers-Sprightly comedy of a playwright and his wife’s adjustment to both a change in their work dynamic and a move to a new state. The leads are competent enough but this is stolen by Shelley Winters and Ray Walston as their zany neighbors.

    Special Mentions:
    Contempt-On a film set in France emotions run high and the marriage of the screenwriter and his wife (Brigitte Bardot) disintegrates.

    I Could Go On Singing-Judy Garland’s last film has many autobiographical elements. Jenny Bowman, an enormously talented, world renown but incredibly insecure singer (Judy natch) uses the opportunity of appearing in London to reconnect with a former love and hopefully see the son she gave up years before who is unaware of her existence. A trifle soapy but a respectable swan song for the legend.

    Jason and the Argonauts-I’m not much of a sci-fi guy but the effects in this are impressive even after all these years.

    Tom Jones-Boisterous romp with a magnetic Albert Finney at its center but overlong and rather pointless. The only picture with three Supporting Actress nominations though for the life of me I don’t know why.

    America, America, Bye, Bye Birdie, Captain Newman, M.D., The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, For Love or Money, 4 for Texas, From Russia with Love, The Haunting, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Leopard, Lilies of the Field, Mary, Mary, McLintock, The Mind Benders, Move Over, Darling, My Six Loves, Papa’s Delicate Condition, The Pink Panther, Soldier in the Rain, Stolen Hours, Sunday in New York, The Sword in the Stone, This Sporting Life, The Thrill of It All, A Ticklish Affair, Toys in the Attic, The V.I.P.S., Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed

    1. I really enjoyed The Birds.

      The Pink Panther, lol.

      The Great Escape, as a whole, didn't do it for me. That last hour was great, though.

  11. 1964:
    The Americanization of Emily-An English war nurse (Julie Andrews) falls for a crafty America naval officer (James Garner) whose job as a dog robber keeps him out of trouble and out of combat. But then circumstances suddenly are altered. A change from Julie’s usual sunny roles.

    Becket-Superior rendering of the power struggle between King Henry II and his Archbishop Thomas Becket.

    The Chalk Garden-When an enigmatic woman named Madrigal (Deborah Kerr) shows up at the vast estate of the imperious Mrs. St. Maugham (Edith Evans) applying for a governess position to her troubled granddaughter (Hayley Mills) a game of cat and mouse begins between the woman and the child for dominance.

    Dear Heart-A kind but lonely postmistress comes to New York for a convention and makes the acquaintance of a traveling salesman looking for a change in his life. Sweet film of guarded people reaching out tentatively for a chance at love.

    Mary Poppins-It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    My Fair Lady-Richly appointed musical version of Pygmalion with an inimitable Rex Harrison as Prof. Henry Higgins and a slightly miscast but graceful Audrey Hepburn as Eliza.

    The Pumpkin Eater-A much married woman (Anne Bancroft) with many children embarks on a new marriage and then suffers a crisis of identity. Measured and insightful with a staggering performance by Bancroft.

    Séance on a Wet Afternoon-A phony medium concocts a plan with her weak willed husband to kidnap a child and then help the police “solve” the crime. The performances of Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough make this special.

    Umbrellas of Cherbourg*-Completely individual French musical drama that tells its story through both color and song.

    What a Way to Go!-Shirley MacLaine stars as a bad luck bride in this outlandish comedy. Every man she marries achieves fantastic wealth and then bites the dust, each marriage is highlighted by a montage that is a riff on a different film genre. Opulent and fun.

    Special Mentions:
    Joy House-A professional gambler (Alain Delon) on the run from a mob hitman hides in the villa of two beautiful women (Jane Fonda & Lola Albright) and thinks he’s in clover. He’s wrong.

    One Potato, Two Potato-Heavy drama of the challenges faced by an interracial couple in the unforgiving 60’s.

    The Visit-An immensely wealthy woman (Ingrid Bergman) returns to her European hometown for a visit shrouded in mystery. Upon her return she announces a two million dollar reward to anyone who will kill the man (Anthony Quinn) who impregnated her as a girl, denied it and forced her to leave town in shame. A rare villainous role for Ingrid.

    Drive-In A Go Go:

    Kitten with a Whip-Sexpot Ann-Margret a reform school runaway causes nothing but trouble for politician John Forsthye who makes the mistake of picking her up on the road. Full of 60’s hepcat lingo and kind of fun because of it.

    Advance to the Rear, The Best Man, Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe, A Fistful of Dollars, Gertrud, Goldfinger, A Hard Day's Night, Honeymoon Hotel, Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte, I’d Rather be Rich, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Man’s Favorite Sport, Marnie, Murder Ahoy, Murder Most Foul, The Naked Kiss, The Pawnbroker, Psyche 59, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Send Me No Flowers, The Soft Skin, Topkapi, Viva Las Vegas, Where Love Has Gone, Woman of Straw, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Your Cheatin’ Heart

    1. I'm not as high on Mary Poppins as everyone else, but whatever.

      Umbrellas as Cherbourg keeps coming up. Might have to give that one a watch.

    2. Umbrellas of Cherbourg-SEE IT!!!! I was reluctant too before I watched thinking "A French film where every word is sung? Umm I don't know" but once I sat down and gave it my attention it was capital A Amazing!

  12. 1965:
    Baby, the Rain Must Fall-Steve McQueen and Lee Remick star as a feckless musician who has had trouble with the law and his faithful but weary wife who along with their daughter is nearing the end of her patience with his promises.

    Bunny Lake Is Missing-In England a young mother drops off her daughter, Bunny Lake, at a nursery school but when she returns she’s told the girl was never there and once she calls in police the question arises if Bunny really exists at all.

    Cat Ballou-Jaunty romp of a schoolmarm turned outlaw in the Wild West when crooks murder her father and steal her land. Terrific strolling minstrel accompaniment by Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole.

    The Flight of the Phoenix-When their plane crashes in the Arabian desert a group of men must put aside their differences to try and repair the craft to fly them out. Tense with a wonderful cast headed by Jimmy Stewart.

    The Great Race-Rambling farce of the old movie serials with a white clad Tony Curtis as The Great Leslie vs. black clad Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate in a car race from New York to Paris with henchmen and a gorgeous Natalie Wood in tow.

    Repulsion-Roman Polanski directed drama of the slow mental disintegration of a beautiful young girl (a captivating Catherine Deneuve) over the space of a weekend.

    Ship of Fools-A microcosm of 30’s society set on a Germany bound ship tells many interwoven stories. Beautifully acted with Simone Signoret, Oskar Werner and Vivien Leigh, in her last film, standouts.

    The Shop on Main Street-During the Nazi occupation of a Czech town a Christian is put in charge of a shop that has for years been run by a now elderly Jewish woman. They slowly become friends and when the order comes for all Jews to be rounded up he faces an ethical dilemma.

    The Sound of Music-The hills are alive and so forth. Some of this is sugar coated but Julie Andrews sells it and Eleanor Parker is wonderful as the imperious Baroness.

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold-Complex Cold War thriller anchored by an intense Richard Burton performance.

    Special Mentions:
    Dr. Zhivago-It was a massive hit, cemented Julie Christie and Omar Sharif’s stardom and is a visually stunning film but try though I might I find it a trial to get through.

    Die! Die! My Darling-Tallulah Bankhead sheds all vanity in this creeper about a religious fanatic (the British title was Fanatic-much more fitting) who takes her dead son’s fiancée hostage. Its low budget but effective with a very blonde Donald Sutherland as her henchman.

    The Loved One-The suicide of his expatriate uncle (John Gielgud) draws Englishman Dennis Barlow into California's booming funeral industry. He falls for spiritual funeral home stylist Aimee, whose boss, Mr. Joyboy (Rod Steiger), also has designs on her. He's also drawn into a crooked scheme by the cemetery's owner, Henry Glenworthy (Jonathan Winters), to shoot corpses into space and build a retirement home on the cemetery land.

    The Nanny-Unsung British thriller with a gem of a performance by Bette Davis. A child newly release from a psychiatric hospital begins a war of nerves with his nanny for dominance in the house.

    Beach Blanket Bingo, The Cincinnati Kid, The Collector, Darling, Dear Brigitte, For a Few Dollars More, Help!, A High Wind in Jamaica, In Harm’s Way, The Ipcress File, Juliet of the Spirits, Mirage, The Money Trap, My Blood Runs Cold, The Rounders, The Sons of Katie Elder, Strange Bedfellows, That Darn Cat, That Funny Feeling, The Third Day, A Thousand Clowns, Thunderball, The Truth About Spring

    1. Believe it or not, I've never watched The Sound of Music in its entirety. I've only seen bits and pieces. Need to fix that. Same goes for Dr. Zhivago and Flight of the Phoenix. I have seen the bland remake of that last one, though.

    2. Zhivago and SOM are big commitments of time but worth seeing from start to finish.

      The remake of Flight of the Phoenix is complete garbage and I'd hate to think it would keep you from watching the first which is extremely good. I had seen the original first and sat watching the pile of crap redo fuming that they had a super template to work off and managed to botch it so utterly. Of course it starred Dennis Quaid so that should have been a warning to me!!

    3. Dennis Quaid doesn't inspire confidence in me, either.

    4. It's not that I don't like Quaid or think he's a bad actor necessarily but after his initial big push in the late 80's where his projects were A level he settled into a most definite B movie star level position. So at that point if I saw he was toplining a film I always took into consideration the number of higher level hands that had passed on it and adjusted my expectations accordingly. I did that with this film but I didn't take into account that the director was a talentless hack.

    5. That's pretty much what I meant. DQ is kind of synonymous with bad movies that had the potential to be good.


  13. Special Dishonorable Mention for 1965:

    Harlow & Harlow-Two films, one subject-original blonde bombshell Jean Harlow, two chances to insult the memory of a great star who never hurt anyone and didn’t deserve to be trashed so badly. The only good thing about either is the performance of the actress playing Jean Harlow’s user of a mother (Angela Lansbury in one, Ginger Rogers in the other) and a book called Dueling Harlows about the race of the filmmakers to get their film into theatres first at the height of Harlowmania which was rampant at the time.

    1. I've never heard of either version. Now, I want to see them both. This is your fault, lol.

    2. I'll accept the blame but before steeping yourself in either trash fest forearm yourself with knowledge about the actual Jean Harlow. Both films contain ALOT of false salacious drivel that make her seem a cheap rather stupid floozy. The thing is that the actual woman had an involved, complicated and often messy private life in her brief 26 years.

      Born Harlean Carpentier (her mother’s maiden name was Jean Harlow) in St. Louis to well to do parents who split up when she was young. Raised in privilege by her grandfather eventually her mother married a gigolo whom she detested leading her to marry, move west and quickly divorce at 16 to escape the situation. Once there she did bits in silents and was spotted by Howard Hughes. He cast her in Hell's Angels when sound forced him to replace Greta Nissen who had played the role originally but had a heavy Norwegian accent. She made a big splash and Hughes sold her contract to MGM where one their top executives, Paul Bern, refined her persona discovered her gift for comedy and made her an even bigger star. They married shortly after her 21st birthday.

      Problem was that Bern had a common law wife with mental problems in New York that no one knew about. The actual circumstances of what happened next are cloudy since the studio manipulated the situation before the police were called in but apparently the woman showed up one night at Bern & Harlow’s home while Jean was out and quarreled with Bern shooting and killing him then fleeing to San Francisco where she committed suicide by throwing herself from a ferry the next day. MGM made it appear that he had committed suicide due to impotence to protect Harlow’s image and their investment and covered up the rest.

      Distraught and plagued by her grasping mother and user of a father-in-law she married again on the rebound to another older man but that marriage lasted less than a year. Throughout all this she was cranking out 3-4 films a year, some junk but several classics like Red Dust, Dinner at Eight and Libeled Lady. Finally she found what appears to be real love and happiness with William Powell (of The Thin Man fame) and though he was reluctant to marry having had two failed previous attempts they were engaged when she started having health issues and collapsed on the set of her latest film from what turned out to be nephritis-a form of kidney failure, a result of scarlet fever when she was a child. This being the 30’s there was no viable treatment and she died a few days later at 26. The night before her funeral her body was guarded by volunteer studio employees, she had been immensely popular because of her professionalism, generosity and for being as Spencer Tracy said “a straight shooter if ever there was one” and known by one and all as “the Baby”. In a move that can either be seen as rank opportunism or as the studio presented it a tribute to a beloved fallen star MGM completed her last film “Saratoga” using voice and body doubles with their backs to the camera. It’s an eerie viewing experience but was their top grossing film of that year.

      There is actually a MUCH better film starting Harlow herself named “Bombshell” which is a roman a clef version of her life with sponging relatives, studio controlled press releases and overwork included. Even at the time of its release the press commented on the similarities but the thing is the picture is a zippy classy pre-code comedy directed with flair by Victor Fleming unlike these two. That’s the movie to seek out.

  14. 1966:
    Cul-de-Sac-A mobster on the lam and his injured cohort hide out in a remote castle inhabited by an eccentric old man and his much younger wife. At first he thinks he’s in charge of the situation but slowly realizes he might be mistaken.

    Fahrenheit 451*-Francois Truffaut’s only English language film is a chilly (perfect for the material) adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s futuristic tale of a society that has outlawed reading. Amazing production design.

    Gambit-Clever heist comedy with the ingratiating team of Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine taking you through the twists and turns.

    Georgy Girl-Much more than the catchy title tune. A naïve young girl (a totally winning Lynn Redgrave) comes of age and yet somehow retains her innocence while living a whirlwind life in Swingin’ 60’s London.

    Harper-P.I. Lew Harper (Paul Newman) searches for a missing man which escalates into a complex conspiracy sometimes helped or hindered by Lauren Bacall, Janet Leigh, Julie Harris, Shelley Winters and Pamela Tiffin.

    King of Hearts-A young soldier is sent to a deserted French town to disarm a bomb in the last days of WWI. When he arrives he discovers the place has been taken over by the inmates of the insane asylum who have been left behind. They take him in and crown him their king as he slowly comes to realize that maybe their reality may not be so crazy after all.

    Madame X-A woman (Lana Turner) married to an influential man with a young son is caught up in an indiscretion which her mother-in-law who hates her uses to banish her from their lives. She wanders aimlessly for years falling into degradation and finally a chance at redemption.

    A Man for All Seasons-Stately version of the power struggle that ensued when Thomas More refused to annul Henry the VIII’s first marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn.

    Seconds-A middle age business man becomes involved with a secret organization, has surgery and emerges as Rock Hudson. Given a new identity and new life he thinks he has it made but finds the price he has to pay far higher than he anticipated. Without question Hudson’s best performance.

    The Trouble with Angels-Headstrong wild child Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills) is enrolled at the all-girls convent school St. Francis where she spends four years locked in a contest of wills with the tough but far Reverend Mother (Rosalind Russell). It’s scathingly brilliant!

    Special Mentions:
    The Chase-What a cast-Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Angie Dickinson, Robert Duvall, E. G. Marshall and Miriam Hopkins just off the top! And the picture is a fascinating mixture of revenge drama, political power struggle, love triangle, prejudice powder keg, escape con adventure and several other genres but that’s part of its problem as well. It’s an all over the place muddle, an entertaining muddle but a muddle nonetheless.

    Eye of the Devil-A nobleman and his wife (David Niven & Deborah Kerr) returns to his French vineyard when the harvest has again failed and shortly after it becomes clear that an ancient curse will require a blood debt to be paid for the crops to thrive again. Sharon Tate’s first significant role as the ethereal witch Odile.

    Lord Love a Duck-The simple premise would seem to be of a misfit (Roddy McDowell) determined to turn a young beauty (Tuesday Weld) into a popular success but this absurdist comedy is anything but simple.

    Alfie, Any Wednesday, Arabesque, Around the World Under the Sea, The Battle of Algiers, A Big Hand for the Little Lady, Born Free, The Deadly Affair, El Dorado, Fantastic Voyage, The Fortune Cookie, Funeral in Berlin, The Good, the Bad and Ugly, How to Steal a Million, Kaleidoscope, A Man and A Woman, A Man Could Get Killed, The Quiller Memorandum, The Silencers, Texas Across the River, This Property is Condemned, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Wrong Box

    1. I do need to see Farenheit 451. Been saying that, forever.

    2. Yes, yes, yes to Fahrenheit 451. As I said great set and production design along with terrific performances by Oskar Werner, Julie Christie and Cyril Cusack and a little gem by Bee Duffell as the Book Woman.

  15. 1967:
    Bonnie & Clyde-Romanticized version of the gangster couple who ran rampant through the depression era Midwest. Tremendously influential film on its release, after star/producer Warren Beatty beat the big drum for it when the studio dumped it into theatres.

    Far From the Madding Crowd*-Incredibly visually beautiful telling of Thomas Hardy’s story of a young Bathsheba Everdene who inherits a vast property and is pursued by three men. Excellent performances with Alan Bates and Peter Finch standing out.

    The Graduate-Young Ben (Dustin Hoffman) returns from college and feeling directionless falls into an affair with the mature Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) then he meets her daughter again and many complications ensue.

    In the Heat of the Night-What is basically a murder mystery is made much deeper by its look at prejudice in the Deep South.

    Point Blank-A pivotal film in the American New Wave blending a standard revenge plot with European arthouse methods and a heavy dollop of violence. Lee Marvin is perfect in the lead.

    The Taming of the Shrew-Spirited version of the Shakespeare comedy with the battling Burtons ideal as Kate and Petruchio. Liz & Dick are surrounded by a great cast of English actors but manage to retain the spotlight.

    To Sir, With Love-Fine film about a dedicated teacher’s (Sidney Poitier) struggle to connect with his classful of unruly students.

    Two for the Road-Story of the relationship of a young couple (Audrey Hepburn & Albert Finney) though courtship, marriage, estrangement and reconciliation. The lead pair are just great.

    Up the Down Staircase-The first year in the career of a new teacher at a tough inner city school where she must learn to adjust to troubled students, burnt out teachers and bureaucracy. Sandy Dennis burying her worst quirks was never better.

    The Young Girls of Rochefort-Jacques Demy’s follow-up to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg tells the musical tale of twin sisters (real life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac) who long to fall in love and leave their provincial town. Not quite the equal of the first film but still and excellent film.

    Special Mentions: It’s the theatre of the absurd down below!

    Marat/Sade-Locked up in the booby hatch the Marquis de Sade directs a play about the murder of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday (Glenda Jackson). As the play goes on and the fervor of the revolution takes hold anarchy begins to reign amongst the inmates.

    Oh Dad, Poor Dad Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad- Madame Rosepettle (Rosalind Russell) arrives at a Caribbean resort for a vacation with her 24 year old son (Robert Morse) who acts like a 5 year old, his stamp collection and telescope, a pair of Venus Flytraps, her tank of pet piranhas and her dead husband (Jonathan Winters) who she’s had stuffed and travels with them in his coffin that she keeps in the closet. While they’re there the hotel’s babysitter Rosalie (Barbara Harris) falls for the infantile young man while Madame is pursued by a crazy ship captain, Commodore Roseabove. Bizarre doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    Valley of the Dolls- A roman a clef about the messy backstage lives of three career girls looking to make it in showbiz in NY and Hollywood is scuttled by leaden direction and absurdly overdone or somnambulant performances. Susan Hayward is terrific as vicious stage star Helen Lawson, based on Ethel Merman and Sharon Tate touching as the doomed Jennifer but everyone and everything else is a shambles. Fantastically awful.

    If you’re looking for something a bit less outré these will do the trick:
    Belle de Jour, Cool Hand Luke, A Covenant with Death, Divorce, American Style, Don’t Make Waves, Fathom, The Fox, Games, Hombre, The Honey Pot, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, In Cold Blood, The Jungle Book, Our Mother’s House, The Producers, Rough Night in Jericho, The Shuttered Room, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Tony Rome, Wait Until Dark, Warning Shot, The Way West, Welcome to Hard Times, You Only Live Twice

    1. To Sir With Love is another I've seen in pieces, but never as a whole.

      Oh Dad, Poor Dad Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad might be the best title in the history of titles...of anything. The synopsis sounds odd, too. I hadn't even heard of this before, now I must seek it out.
      I need to see In Cold Blood something awful.

  16. 1968:
    The Bride Wore Black-A woman (Jeanne Moreau) widowed on her wedding day swears vengeance on the men responsible and won’t be stopped until she achieves her goal.

    Bullitt-Sleek crime drama with Steve McQueen at his coolest, Jacqueline Bisset at her most ravishing and a car chase that would be hard to beat.

    Funny Girl-Gawky but loaded with talent Fanny Brice makes it to the top in the Ziegfeld Follies finds love, heartbreak and great songs along the way. Worthless as biography but as a star making showcase for the phenomenal Barbra Streisand it can’t be better.

    How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life-Breezy comedy of misconceptions and infidelity makes a great vehicle for the underrated Stella Stevens.

    The Lion in Winter*-It’s the Christmas holidays in 1183 and the succession to the English throne is very much in play. King Henry II and his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine who Henry has released temporarily from her imprisonment fight a duel of words over their favored choices while their three rapacious sons circle hungrily. An acting masterclass with Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn hypnotic as the battling sovereigns.

    No Way to Treat a Lady-Clever but frustrated detective Morris Brummel (George Segal) is locked in a game of cat and mouse with inventive serial killer Christopher Gill (Rod Steiger) while he battles his overbearing mother (Eileen Heckart) and romances gorgeous but odd Kate Palmer (Lee Remick). Often humorous for something with such a dark theme.

    Oliver!-Elaborate musical version of the Dickens tale of a young orphan boy who falls in with a gang of street thieves.

    Rosemary's Baby-A young pregnant woman begins to fear all is not well with her expected child as her surroundings and neighbors become increasingly weird.

    Star!-Overblown and overlong but at times dazzling biography of stage star Gertrude Lawrence. Julie Andrews makes the film work mostly and the production number “The Saga of Jenny” is jaw dropping.

    The Thomas Crown Affair-Ultra glamourous film about a slick billionaire (Steve McQueen) who devises a bank robbery to assuage his boredom and then taunts the stylish investigator (Faye Dunaway) on his trail.

    Special Mentions:
    Faces-This John Cassavetes drama is not for everyone but its measured look at loneliness, aging and isolation is brilliantly acted by Gena Rowlands and Lynn Carlin.

    Pretty Poison-Fresh out of stir ex-con Dennis (Anthony Perkins) ambles into a picturesque small town and meets a seemingly ideal blond teen cheerleader Sue Ann (Tuesday Weld) and starts spinning tales of his imaginary exploits as a spy. Sue Ann buys in completely and before he knows what’s happening Dennis finds himself trapped in Sue Ann’s deceptive web. Tuesday is extraordinary in her subtle evil.

    The Swimmer-Suburban angst is examined as Burt Lancaster attempts to swim home via his neighboring pools.

    The Boston Strangler, Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, The Day of the Evil Gun, Don’t Just Stand There, The Fixer, Hang ‘Em High, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Hot Millions, House of Cards, Isadora, The Killing of Sister George, The Love Bug, Madigan, Mayerling, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, The Odd Couple, Once Upon a Time in the West, Paper Lion, Petulia, The Planet of the Apes, Romeo & Juliet, The Sergeant, The Shakiest Gun in the West, The Subject Was Roses, What’s So Bad About Feeling Good?, Where Eagles Dare, The Wrecking Crew, Yours, Mine and Ours

    1. I've seen Funny Lady, but not Funny Girl. I should probably watch both since it's been so long since I've watched the one I have seen.

      Believe it or not, I watched Romeo & Juliet in class in the 6th grade after we read the play. That's not happening today due to the nudity.

      I need to see Hang 'Em High, and especially The Odd Couple. I was a big fan of the TV show (the original one), but never got around to the movie.

    2. Funny Girl is SO much better than Funny Lady which isn't bad itself but the first is superior in every way including Babs interpretation of Fanny Brice. But they do make an interesting companion view.

      That crap about the nudity in R&J is so ridiculous. I mean you see their butts! Big deal everybody has one, its not like porn and yet they can watch things explode and people ripped apart in video games. Jeesh!

      The Odd Couple is good but frankly I prefer the TV show. The chemistry between Jack Klugman and Tony Randall could not be beat. The same could be said for Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau but I'm in and out on Matthau but always love Klugman and Randall.

  17. 1969:
    Army of Shadows-Unremitting and honest portrait of the French Resistance during WWII.

    Anne of the Thousand Days-The rise and fall of Anne Boleyn in the court of Henry VIII is given a fine retelling with Richard Burton a robust king and Genevieve Bujold a memorable Anne.

    The Assassination Bureau-A young reporter (Diana Rigg) looking for a story looks into the Assassination Bureau a group who at one time killed people on moral grounds but has now become corrupt. Meeting the leader (Oliver Reed) she challenges him to take out an unexpected target. It reads like a drama but plays like a comic adventure.

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-I don’t think this one needs much explanation. The birth of the buddy picture.

    Cactus Flower-Middle aged dentist Walter Matthau is carrying on with flower child Goldie Hawn who is half his age while dedicated and efficient nurse Ingrid Bergman loves him from 10 feet away. Pointed comedy of the search for youth and not seeing what’s right in front of you made a major star of Goldie but Ingrid is equally good.

    The Illustrated Man-Willie a young drifter heading out West happens upon a former roustabout, Carl (Rod Steiger) covered entirely with tattoos who is searching for Felicia (Claire Bloom) the woman responsible for his state so he can kill her. Carl has a strange power that through a trance he can pull people into his illustrations but he warns Willie to look at the one blank spot on his body will reveal his future.

    Medium Cool-Using the chaotic 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago this almost documentary style film shows how a cameraman who prides himself on his detachment realizes the need for involvement as he sees the establishment’s feral reach.

    The Sterile Cuckoo-Sensitive low-key drama of the rocky road of youthful relationships. On the bus to his first year of college nebbish Jerry meets brazen but lovable Pookie Adams (Liza Minnelli), also headed to begin college nearby. Striking up a friendship which slowly develops into more Jerry begins to question if he can handle the increasingly needy Pookie. Liza was nominated for an Oscar in Best Actress and she is raw and compelling.

    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?*-The grinding reality of depression America set in the microcosm of a marathon dance contest. Bleak, oppressive and incredibly powerful we watch as the dancers desperate for salvation barter away their energy and self-respect in a game where even if you win you lose. Loaded to the walls with great work this even more than Klute was the film that changed the direction of Jane Fonda’s career from blonde cutie to esteemed actress. A must see.

    Z-Taut political thriller about the Pandora’s Box of trouble that is opened when a left leaning leader is assassinated and the aftermath.

    1. They Shoot Horses has been on my radar forever, just never can seem to pull the trigger, myself. ;)

    2. Horses is so worth seeing but it is a really tough view. DO NOT watch it when you are depressed or feeling blue because it is the polar opposite of uplifting. But it's brilliant.

  18. Oops, I left off part of the last part of '69.

    Special Mentions:

    The Damned-Though I’m not terribly fond of this study in depravity it accomplishes the task it sets out to show, the moral decay and sickness of the Nazi regime.

    Marlowe-In a sort of precursor to The Rockford Files James Garner plays a P.I. hired for a seemingly simple missing person case that leads him into a labyrinth of murder and betrayal. Rita Moreno has a memorable role as a brassy stripper.

    Me, Natalie-Coming of age story of a Plain Jane Long Island teen (Patty Duke) always belittled by her parents who with the encouragement of her loving uncle moves to New York and learns what’s inside is more important than surface appearance. Heavy with 60’s atmosphere but Patty is outstanding.

    The Rain People-A housewife (Shirley Knight) unhappy and pregnant hits the road to try and make some sense of her life before the birth. Along the way she meets a former football player (James Caan) whose head injury has made his mental state fragile. Together they try and puzzle out life’s mysteries. Beautiful insightful performances in this early Francis Ford Coppola film.

    Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?-Despite the rip-off title this is a decent suspense film starring Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon about a dotty woman who has trouble keeping housekeepers because of an odd quirk.

    Age of Consent, Angel in My Pocket, The Comic, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Hannibal Brooks, Hard Contract, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, Lock Up Your Daughters, Marlowe, Marooned, Midnight Cowboy, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Over-the-Hill Gang, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Support Your Local Sheriff, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, Trilogy, True Grit, The Undefeated, The Wild Bunch, Women in Love

    1. The Wild Bunch is the one here I've been meaning to see.

      FYI, yes, I've seen all the Connery 007's. I love 'em, but not quite enough to rank them here.

    2. Um...yeah, I'm gonna see the new Thor...not the topic, though.

    3. I've seen all the Connery's too, I think I've seen all the 007's maybe a Roger Moore here and there is missing but he's my least favorite Bond, and while Dr. No is the best I enjoyed them all. The one I like the best before the Daniel Craig era though was George Lazenby's one off On Her Majesty's Secret Service.