Menu Close

Best Movies of the 1960s: Top 30 & Top 100 Films of the Swinging Sixties

Welcome to the Cinema of the Swinging Sixties

The 1960s may be a thing of the distant past, but thanks to an enthralling, good old invention called Film, it will never be really gone.

Whenever you feel like traveling back in time to relive the glamours of the decade, all you have to do, is to watch one (or more) of its movies.

But which ones should you watch?
Well, if that’s the very question lurking in your mind right now, then you came to the right place. We’re just about to present 30 of the greatest cinematic gems of the 1960s.

However, if you’re not a first-timer, then there’s a fair chance you already saw most movies of this Top 30 List, and you may want to dive a little bit deeper. No worries!

In that case, you should go and check out the Top 100 List at the end of this article.

If this is your first ride on the time-travelling FrameTrek Wagon, here’s what this is all about:

We choose a topic, in this case: “Best Movies of the 1960s”, and we set sail for a journey, where the bricks of the trek are made of movie frames, and each stop represents a magnificent achievement in Film.

The Best Movies of the 1960s is an episode of FrameTrek’s Best Movies of All Time. A mega-journey dedicated to identify the greatest films of each decade, chronologically. It starts with the Silent Era and goes all the way to our ever moving present.


So what was Cinema like in the 1960s?

The 1960s was a decade of youth-driven cultural revolution, that emphasised modernity and fun-loving hedonism. This is when our rigid culture broke free of the social constraints of the previous age, and humanity adopted a more relaxed approach to life itself.

War was raging on in Vietnam, the Beatles were stealing everyone’s heart, Martin Luther King held inspiring speeches and the Space race between the Soviet Union and the United States was at its peak.

But let’s not get into history too much. Let’s just say, the 1960s were a decade of transformation, and this was vigorously reflected by the cinema of the time.

As part of the cultural revolution, the movies of the 1960s became increasingly dramatic, unbalanced and hectic. They began to break social taboos, such as sex, violence and racism.

This caused both controversy and fascination, but it also served as the foundation of a New Hollywood Era.

However, the Cinema of the 1960s covered more than just the cultural revolution of the decade.

Western movies remain unshakably popular, Disney released some if its greatest all-time classics, the first James Bond movie was released, the genre of horror and sci-fi was reinvented and Italian cinema had its moments too.

So yeah, there’s is plenty to talk about, when it comes to the Cinema of the 1960s, but this article concentrates on its Top 30 and Top 100 Films, so let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

After all, a cinematic era is as good as its greatest achievements. Thus, the finest way to explore a decade in film history, is through watching its best movies as a marathon.

Ready? Buckle up then, and let the best movies of the 1960s carry you to the Cinematic era they came from!

See FrameTrek's definition of 'Best' and the story behind this List (click to expand) ↴

How to define ‘Best’?

That’s a pretty good question, since ‘Best’ is relative. A movie can be considered being among the best for multiple reasons, such as: Critical Acclaim, Audience Feedback, Box Office Performance, Awards and Nominations, Iconic Status, Popularity, Watchability, and even Personal Preference, or for being part of a famous list such as the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die or Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies list – or because that particular movie defined its era.

So how did we pick the Top 30 and Top 100 movies of the 1960s?

Well, it wasn’t simple, and it wasn’t easy! While composing the Best Films of the 1960s list, we tried to consider all of the factors mentioned in the ‘How to define Best’ paragraph above, and then some.

We believe that the movies that made the cut should not compete with one another any further, so we will just present them in the order they were released in.

We picked 10 movies from each year of the 1960s, thus created a Top 100 List, which can be found at the end of this article. We also highlighted three movies from each year of the decade, so there’s a Top 30 List too. Let’s start with that!



Presenting the Top 30 Films of the 1960s

Chronologically
– 3 movies from each year –


Psycho (1960)

Psycho 1960, Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Psychological horror-thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins.

Story: A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother. (IMDB)

Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn’t just create modern horror, he validated it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Psycho among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Selected for preservation by The Library of Congress at The National Film Registry.
✓ It set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in films, and is widely considered to be the earliest example of the slasher film genre.


Spartacus (1960)

Spartacus 1960, Kirk Douglas, Best Films of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas.

Story: The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic. (IMDB)

Featuring terrific performances and epic action, Kubrick’s restored swords-and-sandals epic is a true classic.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Spartacus among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ The film won four Academy Awards and became the biggest moneymaker in Universal Studios’ history up to that point.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”


The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven 1960, Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Western adventure film directed by John Sturges, starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson.

Story: Seven gunfighters are hired by Mexican peasants to liberate their village from oppressive bandits. (IMDB)

The Magnificent Seven transplants Seven Samurai into the Old West with a terrific cast of Hollywood stars – and without losing any of the story’s thematic richness.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Magnificent Seven among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ Selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1960s, and an influential, all-time western classic.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany's 1961, Audrey Hepburn, Popular Movies in the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and starring Audrey Hepburn.

Story: A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way. (IMDB)

It contains some ugly anachronisms, but Blake Edwards is at his funniest in this iconic classic, and Audrey Hepburn absolutely lights up the screen.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Breakfast at Tiffany’s among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Winner of 2 Academy Awards, and nominated for another three.
✓ Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.


One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

Disney Classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1961, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Animated family film produced by Disney.

Story: When a litter of Dalmatian puppies are abducted by the minions of Cruella de Vil, the parents must find them before she uses them for a diabolical fashion statement. (IMDB)

With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney’s most enduring, entertaining animated films.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is One Hundred and One Dalmatians among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Received critical acclaim from critics and audiences, most of whom hailed it as one of the studio’s best releases.
✓ One of the most popular and most successful movies of the 1960s, and a timeless Disney classic.



The Hustler (1961)

The Hustler 1961, Paul Newman, Top List of 1960s Films
Where to Watch?   More info

CinemaScope sport-drama film starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason.

Story: An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match. (IMDB)

Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason give iconic performances in this dark, morally complex tale of redemption.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Hustler among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Winner of 2 Oscars, and nominee for another 7, including the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Academy Award.
✓ Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sports”.
✓ This film started a national resurgence in the popularity of pool.


To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird 1962, Gregory Peck, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Crime drama film starring Gregory Peck.

Story: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. (IMDB)

To Kill a Mockingbird is a textbook example of a message movie done right – sober-minded and earnest, but never letting its social conscience get in the way of gripping drama.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is To Kill a Mockingbird among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Winner of 2 Oscars, and nominee for another 5, including the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Academy Award.
✓ The American Film Institute ranked this as the #25 Greatest Movie of All Time and as the #2 Most Inspiring Movie of All Time.
✓ Added to the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress .


Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia 1962, Best 1960s Movies list
Where to Watch?   More info

British epic historical drama film directed by David Lean, starring Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn.

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. (IMDB)

The epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia cements director David Lean’s status in the filmmaking pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Lawrence of Arabia among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Nominated for ten Oscars and winning seven, including Best Picture and Best Director.
✓ Widely recognized as one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema.


Lolita (1962)

Lolita 1962, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Comedy-drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring James Mason, Shelley Winters and Sue Lyon.

Story: A middle-aged college professor becomes infatuated with a fourteen-year-old nymphet. (IMDB)

Kubrick’s Lolita adapts its seemingly unadaptable source material with a sly comedic touch and a sterling performance by James Mason that transforms the controversial novel into something refreshingly new without sacrificing its essential edge.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Lolita among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ It polarized contemporary critics, but is overwhelmingly well-received by modern critics.
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ One of the most popular and most successful movies of the 1960s, and an all-time classic.


The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape 1963, Steve McQueen, Top 1960s Movies
Where to Watch?   More info

Epic war adventure film directed by John Sturges and starring Steve McQueen.

Story: Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. (IMDB)

With its impeccably slow-building story and a cast for the ages, The Great Escape is an all-time action classic.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Great Escape among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ One of the most popular and most successful movies of the 1960s, and a timeless classic with a significant influence on pop culture.
✓ Notable for its motorcycle chase scene and famous jump scene, which is considered one of the best stunts ever made.



(1963)

Eight and a Half 1963, Federico Fellini, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Italian surrealist comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini.

Story: A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies. (IMDB)

Inventive, thought-provoking, and funny, 8 1/2 represents the arguable peak of Federico Fellini’s many towering feats of cinema.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, also widely acknowledged as an avant-garde film and a highly influential classic.
✓ Selected by the Vatican in the “art” category of its list of 45 “great films”.


The Pink Panther (1963)

The Pink Panther 1963, Peter Sellers, Greatest Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Comedy crime film directed by Blake Edwards and starring Peter Sellers.

Story: A bumbling inspector travels to Rome to catch a notorious jewel thief known as “The Phantom” before he conducts his most daring heist yet: a princess’ priceless diamond with one slight imperfection, known as “The Pink Panther”. (IMDB)

Peter Sellers is at his virtuosically bumbling best in The Pink Panther, a sophisticated caper blessed with an unforgettably slinky score by Henry Mancini.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Pink Panther among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”.
✓ One of the most popular and most successful movies of the 1960s, and a timeless comedy classic, with a noteworthy influence on pop culture.


Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger 1964, James Bond, Sean Connery, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

British spy film directed by Guy Hamilton and starring Sean Connery.

Story: While investigating a gold magnate’s smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve. (IMDB)

Goldfinger is where James Bond as we know him comes into focus – it features one of 007’s most famous lines (“A martini. Shaken, not stirred”) and a wide range of gadgets that would become the series’ trademark.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Goldfinger among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ It was the fastest grossing movie in movie history when it was released. It was so popular, that some theaters were holding showings twenty-four hours a day to meet demand.
✓ Ranked #70 on the British Film Institute’s 100 Greatest British Films of the 20th Century.


Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964, Peter Sellers, Top Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Black comedy film directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers.

Story: An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop. (IMDB)

Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Dr. Strangelove among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Widely considered one of the best comedies ever made.
✓ Selected into the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


Mary Poppins (1964)

Mary Poppins 1964, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Musical fantasy film produced Disney, directed by Robert Stevenson, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

Story: In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father. (IMDB)

A lavish modern fairy tale celebrated for its amazing special effects, catchy songs, and Julie Andrews’s legendary performance in the title role.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Mary Poppins among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and widely considered Walt Disney’s crowning live-action achievement.
✓ Winner of 5 Oscars, and nominee for another 8, including the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Academy Award.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.



The Sound of Music (1965)

The Sound of Music 1965, Best Films of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise, starring Julie Andrews.

Story: A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower. (IMDB)

Unapologetically sweet and maybe even a little corny, The Sound of Music will win over all but the most cynical filmgoers with its classic songs and irresistible warmth.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Sound of Music among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, also received two Golden Globe Awards, for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress.
✓ The United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Doctor Zhivago 1965, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Epic romantic drama film directed by David Lean.

Story: The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist’s wife and experiences hardship during World War I and then the October Revolution. (IMDB)

It may not be the best of David Lean’s epics, but Dr. Zhivago is still brilliantly photographed and sweepingly romantic.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Doctor Zhivago among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
✓ Winner of 5 Oscars, and nominee for another 5, including the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Academy Award.
✓ Ranked by the American Film Institute #39 on their 100 Years… 100 Movies list, and ranked by the British Film Institute as the 27th greatest British film of all time.


The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

The Flight of the Phoenix 1965, James Stewart, Popular Movies in the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Adventure drama film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring James Stewart.

Story: After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he’s an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage. (IMDB)

Why is The Flight of the Phoenix among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Although the movie didn’t perform too well in its time, it has since gained a large following, and now it is considered a true classic with a noteworthy influence on pop culture.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1966, Clint Eastwood, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood.

Story: A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery. (IMDB)

Arguably the greatest of the spaghetti westerns, this epic features a compelling story, memorable performances, breathtaking landscapes, and a haunting score.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ One of the highest grossing movies of the 1960s.
✓ Praised for Leone’s use of long shots and close-up cinematography, as well as his distinctive use of violence, tension, and stylistic gunfights.


Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Fahrenheit 451, 1966, Top List of 1960s Films
Where to Watch?   More info

British dystopian science fiction drama film directed by François Truffaut.

Story: In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task. (IMDB)

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing film that suffuses Truffaut’s trademark wit and black humor with the intelligence and morality of Ray Bradbury’s novel.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Fahrenheit 451 among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Nominated for a Bafta Film Award, and for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
✓ Although it had a mixed critical reception upon release, the film has gained significant critical acclaim over the years, and is now considered to be a true classic.



Batman: The Movie (1966)

Batman The Movie 1966, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Superhero comedy film starring Adam West.

Story: The Dynamic Duo faces four supervillains who plan to hold the world for ransom with the help of a secret invention that instantly dehydrates people. (IMDB)

Batman: The Movie elevates camp to an art form – and has a blast doing it, every gloriously tongue-in-cheek inch of the way.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Batman: The Movie among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ The first full-length theatrical adaptation of the iconic DC Comics character Batman.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1960s, and a timeless superhero classic.


The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate 1967, Dustin Hoffman, Best 1960s Movies list
Where to Watch?   More info

Romantic comedy-drama film starring Dustin Hoffman.

Story: A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter. (IMDB)

The music, the performances, the precision in capturing the post-college malaise – The Graduate’s coming-of-age story is indeed one for the ages.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Graduate among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
✓ The American Film Institute ranked this as the #17 Greatest Movie of All Time.


The Jungle Book (1967)

The Jungle Book 1967, Disney Classic, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Animated family film produced by Disney.

Story: Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear have a difficult time trying to convince a boy to leave the jungle for human civilization. (IMDB)

With expressive animation, fun characters, and catchy songs, The Jungle Book endures as a crowd-pleasing Disney classic.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Jungle Book among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ One of the most popular and highest grossing movies of the 1960s.
✓ Voted number 19 in Channel 4’s (UK) “Greatest Family Films”.


The Dirty Dozen (1967)

The Dirty Dozen 1967, Top 1960s Movies
Where to Watch?   More info

War adventure film directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.

Story: During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers. (IMDB)

Amoral on the surface and exuding testosterone, The Dirty Dozen utilizes combat and its staggering cast of likable scoundrels to deliver raucous entertainment.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Dirty Dozen among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ One of the most popular and highest grossing movies of the 1960s.
✓ The American Film Institute placed the film at number 65 on their 100 Years… 100 Thrills list.
✓ Nominated for four Academy Awards, winning in the category Best Sound Effects.


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001 A Space Odyssey 1968, Stanley Kubrick, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Adventure | Sci-Fi
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Story: After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000. (IMDB)

One of the most influential of all sci-fi films — and one of the most controversial — Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 is a delicate, poetic meditation on the ingenuity — and folly — of mankind.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is 2001: A Space Odyssey among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list, and also selected by the Vatican in the “art” category of its list of 45 “great films”.
✓ Praised for its scientifically accurate depiction of space flight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery.
✓ Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.



Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby 1968, Greatest Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Horror drama film directed by Roman Polanski.

Story: A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life. (IMDB)

A frightening tale of Satanism and pregnancy that is even more disturbing than it sounds thanks to convincing and committed performances by Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Rosemary’s Baby among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Earned universal acclaim from film critics and won numerous nominations and awards.
✓ Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes 1968, Charlton Heston, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Science fiction adventure film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston.

Story: An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved. (IMDB)

Planet of the Apes raises thought-provoking questions about our culture without letting social commentary get in the way of the drama and action.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Planet of the Apes among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ Groundbreaking for its prosthetic makeup techniques and was well received by critics and audiences.


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Top Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Biography crime western film directed by George Roy Hill, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Story: Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heels. Their solution – escape to Bolivia. (IMDB)

With its iconic pairing of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, jaunty screenplay and Burt Bacharach score, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has gone down as among the defining moments in late-’60s American cinema.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ Winner of 4 Oscars, and nominee for another 3, including the “Best Picture of the Year” Academy Award.
✓ Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute’s list of the ten greatest films in the genre “Western”.


Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy 1969, Dustin Hoffman, Best Movies of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

Buddy drama film directed by John Schlesinger, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.

Story: A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York City to seek personal fortune, finding a new friend in the process. (IMDB)

John Schlesinger’s gritty, unrelentingly bleak look at the seedy underbelly of urban American life is undeniably disturbing, but Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight’s performances make it difficult to turn away.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Midnight Cowboy among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Winner of three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is the only X-rated film ever to win “Best Picture”.
✓ Deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.


Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider 1969, Peter Fonda, Best Films of the 1960s
Where to Watch?   More info

American independent road drama film starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and
Jack Nicholson.

Story: Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of. (IMDB)

Edgy and seminal, Easy Rider encapsulates the dreams, hopes, and hopelessness of 1960s counterculture.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Easy Rider among the best movies of the 1960s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ The American Film Institute ranked this as the #84 Greatest Movie of All Time.
✓ Critics have praised the performances, directing, writing, soundtrack, visuals, and atmosphere.



…end of the reel…

So there you have it: The 30 Greatest Movies of the 1960s

If you want to take a look at the movies listed above, without all that info between the titles, here’s a quick recap:

Top 30 Movies of the 1960s
Three films from each year, chronologically
- 1960 -
Psycho 1960
Psycho
*Part of the Collection: Anthony Perkins’s Psycho Quadrology
Spartacus 1960
Spartacus
The Magnificent Seven 1960
The Magnificent Seven
*Part of the Collection: Magnificent Seven Quadrology
- 1961 -
Breakfast at Tiffany's 1961
Breakfast at Tiffany's
One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1961
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
*Part of the Collection: Disney’s Classic 101 Dalmatians Duology
The Hustler 1961
The Hustler
*Part of the Collection: Paul Newman’s Hustler Duology
- 1962 -
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lawrence of Arabia 1962
Lawrence of Arabia
Lolita 1962
Lolita
- 1963 -
The Great Escape 1963
The Great Escape
8 1/2 1963
8 1/2
The Pink Panther 1963
The Pink Panther
*Part of the Collection: Peter Sellers’s Pink Panther Franchise
- 1964 -
Goldfinger 1964
Goldfinger
*Part of the Collection: Sean Connery’s James Bond Franchise
Dr. Strangelove 1964
Dr. Strangelove
Mary Poppins 1964
Mary Poppins
*Part of the Collection: Mary Poppins Duology
- 1965 -
The Sound of Music 1965
The Sound of Music
Doctor Zhivago 1965
Doctor Zhivago
The Flight of the Phoenix 1965
The Flight of the Phoenix
- 1966 -
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1966
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
*Part of the Collection: Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy
Fahrenheit 451 1966
Fahrenheit 451
Batman: The Movie 1966
Batman: The Movie
- 1967 -
The Graduate 1967
The Graduate
The Jungle Book 1967
The Jungle Book
*Part of the Collection: Disney’s Classic Jungle Book Duology
The Dirty Dozen 1967
The Dirty Dozen
- 1968 -
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
2001: A Space Odyssey
*Part of the Collection: Space Odyssey Duology
Rosemary's Baby 1968
Rosemary's Baby
Planet of the Apes 1968
Planet of the Apes
*Part of the Collection: Original Planet of the Apes Franchise
- 1969 -
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
*Part of the Collection: Butch and Sundance Duology
Midnight Cowboy 1969
Midnight Cowboy
Easy Rider 1969
Easy Rider
*Click any Title for more Info and for Streaming / Disc Buying options.

Wait, there’s more!

If you’re a hardcore fan of the 1960s, and you already saw most of the movies in the Top 30 List above, than here’s the extended version for you:

TOP 100 MOVIES OF THE 1960s
Click to reveal the List

Top 100 Movies of the 1960s
Ten films from each year, chronologically
- 1960 -
Psycho 1960
Psycho
*Part of the Collection: Anthony Perkins’s Psycho Quadrology
Spartacus 1960
Spartacus
The Magnificent Seven 1960
The Magnificent Seven
*Part of the Collection: Magnificent Seven Quadrology
The Apartment 1960
The Apartment
Breathless 1960
Breathless
La Dolce Vita 1960
La Dolce Vita
The Time Machine 1960
The Time Machine
Peeping Tom 1960
Peeping Tom
Inherit the Wind 1960
Inherit the Wind
The Virgin Spring 1960
The Virgin Spring
- 1961 -
Breakfast at Tiffany's 1961
Breakfast at Tiffany's
One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1961
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
*Part of the Collection: Disney’s Classic 101 Dalmatians Duology
The Hustler 1961
The Hustler
*Part of the Collection: Paul Newman’s Hustler Duology
Yojimbo 1961
Yojimbo
*Part of the Collection: Akira Kurosawa’s Sanjuro Duology
West Side Story 1961
West Side Story
Judgment at Nuremberg 1961
Judgment at Nuremberg
The Guns of Navarone 1961
The Guns of Navarone
*Part of the Collection: Navarone Duology
The Innocents 1961
The Innocents
Through a Glass Darkly 1961
Through a Glass Darkly
Viridiana 1961
Viridiana
- 1962 -
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lawrence of Arabia 1962
Lawrence of Arabia
Lolita 1962
Lolita
Dr. No 1962
Dr. No
*Part of the Collection: Sean Connery’s James Bond Franchise
The Manchurian Candidate 1962
The Manchurian Candidate
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Longest Day 1962
The Longest Day
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Sanjuro 1962
Sanjuro
*Part of the Collection: Akira Kurosawa’s Sanjuro Duology
The Exterminating Angel 1962
The Exterminating Angel
- 1963 -
The Great Escape 1963
The Great Escape
8 1/2 1963
8 1/2
The Pink Panther 1963
The Pink Panther
*Part of the Collection: Peter Sellers’s Pink Panther Franchise
The Birds 1963
The Birds
From Russia with Love 1963
From Russia with Love
*Part of the Collection: Sean Connery’s James Bond Franchise
The Sword in the Stone 1963
The Sword in the Stone
Charade 1963
Charade
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World 1963
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
The Haunting 1963
The Haunting
Cleopatra 1963
Cleopatra
- 1964 -
Goldfinger 1964
Goldfinger
*Part of the Collection: Sean Connery’s James Bond Franchise
Dr. Strangelove 1964
Dr. Strangelove
Mary Poppins 1964
Mary Poppins
*Part of the Collection: Mary Poppins Duology
A Shot in the Dark 1964
A Shot in the Dark
*Part of the Collection: Peter Sellers’s Pink Panther Franchise
A Fistful of Dollars 1964
A Fistful of Dollars
*Part of the Collection: Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy
My Fair Lady 1964
My Fair Lady
Marnie 1964
Marnie
Zulu 1964
Zulu
*Part of the Collection: Zulu Duology
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Fail-Safe 1964
Fail-Safe
- 1965 -
The Sound of Music 1965
The Sound of Music
Doctor Zhivago 1965
Doctor Zhivago
The Flight of the Phoenix 1965
The Flight of the Phoenix
Thunderball 1965
Thunderball
*Part of the Collection: Sean Connery’s James Bond Franchise
For a Few Dollars More 1965
For a Few Dollars More
*Part of the Collection: Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy
Repulsion 1965
Repulsion
The Cincinnati Kid 1965
The Cincinnati Kid
The Great Race 1965
The Great Race
Pierrot le Fou 1965
Pierrot le Fou
Alphaville 1965
Alphaville
- 1966 -
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1966
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
*Part of the Collection: Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy
Fahrenheit 451 1966
Fahrenheit 451
Batman: The Movie 1966
Batman: The Movie
Persona 1966
Persona
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Blow-Up 1966
Blow-Up
The Battle of Algiers 1966
The Battle of Algiers
Andrei Rublev 1966
Andrei Rublev
A Man for All Seasons 1966
A Man for All Seasons
Django 1966
Django
- 1967 -
The Graduate 1967
The Graduate
The Jungle Book 1967
The Jungle Book
*Part of the Collection: Disney’s Classic Jungle Book Duology
The Dirty Dozen 1967
The Dirty Dozen
Cool Hand Luke 1967
Cool Hand Luke
Bonnie and Clyde 1967
Bonnie and Clyde
You Only Live Twice 1967
You Only Live Twice
*Part of the Collection: Sean Connery’s James Bond Franchise
In the Heat of the Night 1967
In the Heat of the Night
*Part of the Collection: Sidney Poitier’s Mister Tibbs Trilogy
The Producers 1967
The Producers
Le Samouraï 1967
Le Samouraï
Beauty of the Day 1967
Beauty of the Day
- 1968 -
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
2001: A Space Odyssey
*Part of the Collection: Space Odyssey Duology
Rosemary's Baby 1968
Rosemary's Baby
Planet of the Apes 1968
Planet of the Apes
*Part of the Collection: Original Planet of the Apes Franchise
Once Upon a Time in the West 1968
Once Upon a Time in the West
Night of the Living Dead 1968
Night of the Living Dead
*Part of the Collection: George A. Romero’s Living Dead Franchise
Bullitt 1968
Bullitt
Where Eagles Dare 1968
Where Eagles Dare
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 1968
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Party 1968
The Party
Hang 'Em High 1968
Hang 'Em High
- 1969 -
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
*Part of the Collection: Butch and Sundance Duology
Midnight Cowboy 1969
Midnight Cowboy
Easy Rider 1969
Easy Rider
The Wild Bunch 1969
The Wild Bunch
On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
True Grit 1969
True Grit
The Italian Job 1969
The Italian Job
Take the Money and Run 1969
Take the Money and Run
Z 1969
Z
The Army of Shadows 1969
The Army of Shadows
*Click any Title for more Info and for Streaming / Disc Buying options.

Is there a movie on the list you’d replace with another one? Share your thoughts below.


Ready for another journey?

Explore the best movies of other decades too!

Previous: 1950s   Next: 1970s

Related Posts

Your turn! Share your thoughts below...