For regular readers of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a straight shooter. I won’t lie to you, dear reader. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll make an admission to you: I’m not a cinephile. That’s not to say that I don’t like movies. I do like them. A lot! But I’m also not someone who can tell you all sorts of movie trivia and bombard you with interesting tidbits about Hitchcock’s suit or something.
No, I’m a rube, unfortunately. Here’s another confession: Dude Where’s My Car is in the top 5 of my favorite movies. Yes, I’m serious, and yes, it feels good to get that embarrassing fact off my chest.
These disclosures aren’t to scare you away--quite the opposite! Instead, I want you to know the source that’s presenting you with this list of the best movies of the 60s, so that you can approach it appropriately. I want you to have a little bit of context. In other words, I’m not going to be giving you deep cuts that inspired some independent French director to create a postmodern slog in the 80s or whatever. No, these are the best movies of the 60s for the regular folks. People like us.
The Jungle Book (1967)
Who doesn’t love Mowgli and Baloo? Based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, this cartoon is a staple for kids everywhere. Even though I wasn’t born until the 80s, this film was on regular rotation in our household when I was a toddler. “Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities of life!” Classic!
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A film that was way ahead of its time, 2001: A Space Odyssey opened a whole new world of film. Based in space (obviously), Kubrick’s genius shines through impressive creativity in every frame. It’s pretty inarguable that we wouldn’t have the Science Fiction films today if not for this masterpiece. “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” HAL, you jokester.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
This film isn’t quite good, per se, but it is revolutionary. Plot-wise, there’s not much to it, but that’s sort of the point. Without George Romero’s visionary imagination, we wouldn’t have zombies in our popular culture lexicon! Without this film, I wouldn’t be able to use the term “zombie” when talking about distracted drivers on the road after they’ve cut me off on the interstate. Thanks, Night of the Living Dead!
Easy Rider (1969)
I’ve seen Easy Rider a few times. I love the cinematography, I like the atmosphere, and most of all, I love Jack Nicholson. Even after watching it a few times, I’m still not exactly sure what it’s about or what it’s trying to say. There’s some dudes riding motorcycles, and then a crazy dude comes along. Seems, uh, robust. Despite the fact that I’m not smart enough to figure out what this film is working to convey, I still appreciate it nonetheless.
The Graduate (1967)
What a scandalous film! Heartthrob Dustin Hoffman has an escapade with his older neighbor, only to fall for her daughter. Get the popcorn! Who doesn’t love a tale of intrigue, betrayal, and cultural faux pas? I know I do!
So there you have it! If you’re looking for the best movies of the 60s according to me, an unabashed philistine, now you have it. These movies might not be culturally significant behemoths (Except for 2001: A Space Odyssey), but I like them!
While you’re not going to impress anyone at a party by having watched these films, you’ll still enjoy them because they’re entertaining and pass the test of time. Heck, I can still pop these movies on the tube and have a good time.
And you should too!