Best Movies You'll Remember If You Grew Up in the '60s

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The American film industry experienced a renaissance in the 1960s. Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age had ended, and the handful of studios that had once enjoyed a vice-like grip on the entertainment industry found themselves losing influence. The increasingly archaic Hays Code, a system of self-censorship that had kept American movies “clean” for decades, was on the way out (it finally disappeared in 1968), and filmmakers were beginning to think about their projects in new ways.

The advent of color TV and the beginnings of cable programming meant previously unknown competition to moviemakers, and they responded with musicals, historical dramas, love stories, courtroom dramas, and thrillers. The results weren’t always noteworthy. See how the studios could come up short on this list of the worst movies of the 1960s.

Some of the biggest hits of the era, though, were quirky independent productions, like the groundbreaking “Easy Rider.” Those coming of age in the ‘60s wanted something different, and a younger generation of directors — representing the so-called New Hollywood — emerged to meet the needs of a generation of viewers influenced by foreign films and political activism. 

To identify the best movies you’ll remember from the 1960’s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the 88 movies that had at least 50,000 reviews on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, or Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. We calculated an index of each movie’s IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally. Data on domestic box office came from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services, last updated in April 2021. Box office figures are not inflation adjusted. Casting and other supplemental data comes from IMDb.

Nonetheless, it was still old-fashioned storytelling and star power that characterized the most memorable films of the decade — the ones 24/7 Tempo has included here. (These are the 32 actors who have made Hollywood the most money.