ByJohn McGinn, writer at Creators.co
John McGinn

Well here is my list of the top 25 films of the 1960’s. I have seen a ton of films from the 1960’s from cheesy horror films to classics, and had originally picked 51 films for consideration for my list, but decided to narrow it down to the top 25. The 1960’s was the decade of Sergio Leone, and the rise to super stardom for Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman as well as three of the best, and most influential science fiction/horror films in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, and Night of the Living Dead.

The top 15 were easy to chose, and everyone should agree with their inclusion, but the last 10 were much harder to figure out, and I’m sure some will definitely disagree with the choices I have made. Well any way here are my Top 25 Films of the 1960’s.

25. True Grit

Rating: 8.5/10

24. Fahrenheit 451

Rating: 8.75/10

23. The Sand Pebbles: The first of three Steve McQueen films on this list. Writer and Director Robert Wise had a hall of fame career in Hollywood writing and directing West Side Story, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Sound of Music, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and The Andromeda Strain to name a few of the memorable films he directed, but Wise's best film is Steve McQueen's The Sand Pebbles. Robert Wise had wanted to make The Sand Pebbles for years, but only was allowed to because he agreed to direct The Sound of Music. The Sand Pebbles is a powerful film that takes place in 1926 China dealing with US sailors of the gunship San Pablo with themes that include colonialism and racism, and you can see how the event of The Sand Pebbles could be compared to Vietnam.

The Sand Pebbles was excellently cast and acted by Richard Attenborough, Mako, Steve McQueen, Richard Crenna, and a young Candice Bergen in her first film performance. The Sand Pebbles should have won Academy Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Steve McQueen), and Best Supporting Actor (Mako).

Rating: 9/10

22. In the Heat of the Night

Rating: 9/10

21. The Dirty Dozen: Like The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen was heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, but Robert Aldrich bring his own vision to life separating it from the Seven Samurai. The film follows Major John Reisman (Lee Marvin) who is tasked with an impossible secret mission during World War II, and recruits United States military prisoners for the mission. The Dirty Dozen has an all star cast of young and veteran actors that include Marvin, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Ernest Borgnine, and George Kennedy.

Rating: 9/10

20. Bullitt: The second of three Steve McQueen films on this list. Perhaps Steve McQueen’s best film of his cut short acting career and life, and without doubt one of the best ever filmed car chase scenes through the streets of San Francisco.

Rating: 9/10

19. The Guns of Navarone

Rating: 9/10

18. Once Upon A Time in the West

Rating: 9.25/10

17. Bonnie and Clyde

Rating: 9.25/10

16. Hombre

Rating: 9.25/10

15. Lord of the Flies: I vividly remembering first seeing Lord of the Flies in Intermediary school, and I hope teachers still show Lord of the flies in school. The Lord of the Flies takes a pessimistic view on the human condition vividly displaying the isolation, fear, hate, and violence humans and even children are capable of.

Rating: 9.25/10

14. Seven Days in May: Seven Days in May is by far director John Frankenheimer's best film. The political thriller is about military coup in the United States. The Joints Cheif of Staff led by General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster) over throw the president not agreeing with his nuclear disarmament treaty. Seven Days in May is a great political thriller with great performances by Lancaster, Kurt Douglas, and Ava Gardner.

Rating: 9.5/10

13. Judgement at Nuremberg: I'm not sure how I missed watching director Stanley Kramer's Judgement at Nuremberg for so long, but I only recently saw the film a year and a half a go thanks to a film class I took. As the title implies the film is about Nuremberg Trials after the end of WWII, and the political complexities in and around the tries. The great Spencer Tracey was excellent in one of his last film roles, and was supported by wonderful performances by Judy Garland, William Shatner, Burt Lancaster, and Montgomery Clift. Judgement at Nuremberg is an all around great emotional drama with good directing by Kramer, great acting, good music, and great cinematography.

Rating: 9.5/10

12. The Great Escape: The classic film has an all star cast that includes James Garner, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, James Donald, and Richard Attenborough. Based on a true story of an escape from a POW camp during WWII that is riveting with suspense, drama and some action where Steve McQueen steals the film from all the other good actors in the film.

Rating: 9.5/10

11. Fist Full of Dollars: The film that made Hollywood and the world pay attention to Sergio Leone, Ennio Morricone and Clint Eastword, and propelled them to stardom. Fist Full of Dollars is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece Yojimbo, but Leone effortlessly made it is own having the film take place in the American west, the charismatic Eastwood, beautiful cinematography by Massimo Dallamano, and perhaps the most important in the moving score by Morricone. Fist Full of Dollars is also the first film in the Dollars Trilogy.

Rating: 9.75/10

10. To Kill A Mockingbird

Rating: 9.75/10

9. Planet of the Apes: My favorite Charleston Heston film. There are many great elements about the film, but what makes Planet of the Apes truly a classic is the ending. I won’t give it away because it will ruin the ending and the mystery of the film for those who haven’t seen the film, but the ending of the Planet of the Apes is one of the best ending in film history.

Rating: 9.75/10

8. For a Few Dollars More: The second film in Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy. The film once again starred Clint Eastwood, but was added by great performances by Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volontè with perhaps Volonte stealing the film from both Eastwood and Cleef with his performance as the villain in the film, and once scene where he tells the tale of the Banker and Carpenter as it's one of the best scenes in the film. For a Few More Dollars is once again aided by Ennio Morricone doing the score, and Massimo Dallamano directing the cinematography.

Rating: 9.75/10

7. Night of the Living Dead: Director George A. Romero’s first is “Dead” Trilogy that has influenced many future horror directors in John Carpenter and Wes Craven as well as giving us the zombie, and launching the zombie craze that has giving me the Resident Evil games, and The Walking Dead, but with that it also gave me the terrible Resident Evil films, but I can forgive Romero for that.

Rating: 9.75/10

6. The Hidden Fortress: If you want to get technical Akira Kurosawa film was made in 1957 and 1958 being released in Japan in 1958, but didn't get released in the United States unit 1962. Like many of Kurosawa's film it heavily influenced Hollywood directors, and in The Hidden Fortresses take George Lucas's Star Wars as he was inspired by the film and the Japanese samurai.

Rating: 10/10

5. Z: Like Judgment at Nuremberg I sadly hadn't seen Z until recently. I just finally watched the French political thriller about a year ago, and damn Z is one hell of a film.

Rating: 10/10

4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: My personal favorite of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy” where it could be said that Eli Wallach stole the film from both Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as “The Ugly” Tuco, which is hard to do. Then there is Ennio Morricone epic and beautifully composed music, and finally the masterfully filmed climax that makes The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly the best western of all time, and one of the best films of all time.

Rating: 10/10

3. Yojimbo: One of two Akira Kurosawa classics on this list, and the film that inspired Sergio Leone’s classic A Fistful of Dollars, and the Dollars Trilogy.

Rating: 10/10

2. Lawrence of Arabia: Peter O'Toole, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif all give academy award caliber performances in David Lean's epic adventure war film. Along with Lean's Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of the Arabia is one of my Top 20 films of all time.

Rating: 10/10

1. 2001 A Space Odyssey: One of my top 5 films of all time.

Rating: 10/10

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