The 60s is almost like two decades in one. It’s the only decade that has a decided shift in the types of films that got made. It’s because all of Hollywood changed 2/3 of the way through.
List-wise, this one was easy as hell. 12 of these movies are in my top 100, so really all I needed to do was figure out which two were getting left out of the top ten. And the 11-20 only got difficult because I had to leave off a bunch of good stuff I love a lot. This, more so than the other decades, is full of really obvious choices that just about everyone would have as a ‘best of the decade’ list. I’d say there’s only like two or three personal choices that are really just my own personal preference.
For methodology purposes, the way I compile these Top Tens of the Decade lists: I take my top ten for each year of the decade, throw them all together, and simply whittle it down until I find what I feel are my ten favorites from that decade. Not the best, my favorite. That’s really all it is. I feel like if I can figure out what my favorite films of all time are, then I can figure it out by specific decades. (more…)
Every time I get to 1969, I feel myself getting more pessimistic. If 1967 is when New Hollywood broke through, and 1968 is Hollywood dumping all the old shit to make room for the new shit, then I feel like 1969 is New Hollywood getting its footing and being like 80/20 in favor of the new shit, with all the old shit really sticking out.
Take a look at the Best Picture crop for this year: Midnight Cowboy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Z… and Anne of the Thousand Days and Hello, Dolly! ‘Anne’ at least is part of that historical drama trend and kind of makes sense, but Hello, Dolly! sticks out like a sore thumb.
There’s such revolutionary stuff that came out this year. There are great, experimental films by radical new filmmakers, most of whom would become established names over the next decade. Most of it is the stuff you know. The ones I really want to talk about are the ones you don’t know. That’s my favorite part of this year. (more…)
I always think of 1968 as the year where Hollywood dumped out all the old reserves before they could start anew, but that’s not really what it is. You look at the movies that came out — a lot of classics are in this year. Though admittedly, a lot of the below-the-line stuff are ‘old’ Hollywood kind of films.
Five of the most famous movies ever made came out this year. And I can say for sure two or three of my favorite 100 movies of all time are on this list. It’s a way better year than I usually consider it to be. Though I will say — a lot of the lower-tiered stuff is weaker this year than it is most others. Mostly it’s an oddball assortment of weird stuff I like because it’s totally unlike most other stuff. (more…)
There’s a whole lot to say about 1967. For starters, can you believe this is the first year so far that every single top ten film is in color? Get used to it, because there’s only like ten more black-and-white films total in the top ten for the next 35 years.
Other than that — I’ve been hinting to it for about six years now, but this is the year when the dam burst and the studio system as we knew it came to an end. Gone were the highly controlled, artificial, sound stage, cookie-cutter movies and in were the gritty, realistic films that dealt with subject matter never before seen, frankly discussing politics and race and sex and using violence and language and all these experimental techniques. This year changed cinema forever.
It’s also, I feel, one of those years where just about everyone has most of the same top films. At least half this list is gonna be uniform among everyone because these are some of the best films ever made and everyone loves them.
The other thing of note is that it’s really not as deep a year as the others, I think because of the amount of change going on at the time, as Hollywood was moving to smaller, more independent type material and away from the big budget stuff. So you’re left without a lot of those middle class gems that most of the other years are full of. (more…)
1966, symbolically, feels like that moment when all the water pulls away from the shore just before the tidal wave comes crashing down. It’s a matter of time before the industry changes completely and the old way is totally gone. And you can see it in the films. Whenever there’s a movie shot on studio sound stages in one of the old-school genres, it just feels passé. That doesn’t mean they’re not good, it just means that they feel outdated.
There’s definitely a move to a less rigid style of filmmaking, and way more location filming. One of the top ten films mixes scenes set on sound stages with scenes in an actual football stadium, and it’s just jarring. You can see the two different eras side by side. But that’s really what the year is about for me. The calm before the storm. Other than that, it’s a decent year, but doesn’t feel overly special overall. There are a couple of all-time films, but as a whole it’s pretty mix and match.
Another thing worth mentioning is that this is the year where the MPAA ratings system was created. Rather than getting a seal of approval, films were rated like they are now so people had an idea of what age rage they were intended for. (more…)
Pic of the Day: “Does your god live on this mountain?” “Sinai is His high place, His temple.” “If this god is God, he would live on every mountain, in every valley. He would not be the god of Ishmael or Israel alone, but of all men. It is said he created all men in his image. He would dwell in every heart, every mind, every soul.”
Another contender for strongest year of the 60s. The top ten isn’t as classic-heavy as ’62, but what it lacks in those it makes up for in straight up gems that not enough people know about. This year is so full of amazing movies that are on that level of “Oh my god, how did I not know this existed before?” Those are my bread and butter.
The thing you really notice in a year like this is that the films are starting to (and you’ll notice a parallel to the current day here) exist in one of two forms: huge scale blockbusters or small independent movies. There’s no real middle class here. Either they’re these realistic, gritty little movies with great performances and (for the time) experimental (or should I say, less rigid) filmmaking, or they’re huge (and at times, bloated) epic-scale movies in ultra widescreen designed to get asses in the seats because TV is taking people away.
Pay attention to the non-top ten entries this year. They’re stronger than most. (more…)
1964 is the year where the true schism occurs. The films seem to be clearly demarcated on either side of a line: either they’re representative of the last gasp of studio system filmmaking (evidenced by a generally bloated nature and a staid feel) vs. the new, vibrant filmmaking coming up that would be the calling card of the 70s independent movement. Trust me, you can tell the difference.
My favorite thing about 1964 is that there are two films in the top ten list that are just completely unknown. One is a film that was hated at the time and completely dismissed. The other is just a forgotten film that’s really engrossing and has some relevance to today.
Otherwise, the rest of the top ten is full of classics that are all just magical in their own way. Plus, it’s a really deep year. I can go thirty deep in this year for great movies. That doesn’t happen often. (more…)
A lot changed this year. This was the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and you definitely saw a shift in the types of films that came out after that event occurred. Plus, this was the year — I guess it’s because of Cleopatra — where it became clear the foundation of the studio system was really on its way out. This feels like the year that demarcates ‘business as usual, but with some more nuanced and realistic subject matter’ with ‘last gasp of the old ways before everything changes’.
There’s a lot of good stuff under the line this year. A lot of cool little gems worth checking out. As for the top — most of the top ten is incredible. A couple of really beloved films generally considered some of the best ever made. And there’s a handful of great films that aren’t as well seen as you’d think. It’s not as overall strong as some of the other years, but it for sure makes its mark.
If there’s one thing I’d like to stress about this year, it’s that you should really go see films #5 and #6 if you haven’t yet. (more…)
My favorite year of the 60s. This is the year where legitimately the top ten is amongst the greatest films ever made, and the year where I can go 25 deep for great films. I don’t know how other people look at these lists, if they look at the top ten and ignore everything else. But here, you want to look through the top 20 and see them all, because this year is wonderful.
The great thing about 1962 is that you can go down the list, and pretty much one of the greatest (insert genre here) films was released. One of the greatest epics, one of the greatest westerns (two, for my money), one of the greatest courtroom films, one of the greatest prison fils, one of the greatest thrillers, one of the greatest spy films (which spawned the most successful spy franchise of all time), one of the greatest biopics, one of the greatest war films, and one of the greatest cult films of all time.
Top to bottom, this is hard year to beat. (more…)
This is one of the strongest years at the top of the 60s. This is like when a famous band that’s been around a long time plays a concert and then starts playing the major hits one after another. It’s just banger after banger.
The year as a whole isn’t as strong as some of the other 60s years. You don’t go ten deep of classics. But still, there’s cool shit here. The 60s isn’t so much about the major stuff — since we can all pretty much agree on that — it’s about the gems that are below the surface that no one remembers anymore. They’re not as numerous as they were in the 50s, so they’re more pronounced. And because they’re not as much a product of the studio system as they were (since the studio system at this point is decaying and will be gone before the end of the decade), they’re all really interesting, subject wise.
But really, the best part of 1961 is getting to talk about the top tier films. Because man, are those all-timers. (more…)
I love 1960. I look at my favorite films of this year, and they make me smile. Not just because one of my five favorite films of all time came out this year, but also because legitimately half this top ten list (minimum) is widely considered among the absolute greatest films ever made. Personally, I think that distinction goes about seven or eight deep for this one. Plus, there’s a lot of cool under-the-radar stuff this year as well.
As far as the year goes, I think the major note is that you’re starting to see things turn. You don’t see the standard “studio” movie anymore. You look at most movies from the 50s, and they just feel like studio system movies. The movies are getting longer, they’re starting to feel less artificial and the subject matter is starting to broaden.
You also start to see way more foreign films permeating the lists, as this is part of the golden era of foreign cinema. Certain countries had movements before now, but in the 60s, you’re gonna see a lot of countries producing masterpieces left and right.
1960 is a good year. (more…)