Temporal Top Ten – 1963


top ten

Number of movies seen from this year – 21
Number of movies reviewed – 18 (including 1 Encore Review)

My #1 film for 1963 was chosen for me more than 30 years ago when I first saw it.  I’ve been mesmerized by this film ever since and it remains one of my all time favorite films.

This has been a strange year for films for me because I have been always baffled by the fact that Tom Jones won Best Picture when there are so many better films that came out that year.

Update 11 Jul 2017 – Added Love with the Proper Stranger and Dinner For One which bumps down each subsequent choice.

Honorable Mention – The Cardinal

Honorable Mention The Birds
10. The Sword in the Stone9. Dinner For One8. Love With the Proper Stranger
7. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
6. PT 109
5. Cleopatra
4. Lilies of the Field
3. America, America
2. It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World
1.  The Great Escape

Here’s a complete list of movies that I’ve seen from 1963

  1. America, America
  2. The Birds
  3. Captain Newman, M.D.
  4. The Cardinal
  5. Charade
  6. Cleopatra
  7. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
  8. Dinner For One
  9. From Russia with Love
  10. The Great Escape Encore Review
  11. Hud
  12. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  13. Lilies of the Field
  14. Love With the Proper Stranger
  15. The Nutty Professor
  16. The Pink Panther
  17. PT 109
  18. The Prize
  19. Spencer’s Mountain
  20. The Sword in the Stone
  21. Tom Jones
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6 thoughts on “Temporal Top Ten – 1963

  1. Here we go again. Let me preface this by saying that “The Great Escape” is one of my all time favorites – of any year. I’ve seen it probably a dozen times and own it on DVD. So it would absolutely be on my Top 10 for 1963 – or almost any year. That being said – the fact that Tom Jones is nowhere on your list – AND you saw fit to comment up front about it’s Oscar win when there were “so many better films to come out that year” almost negates anything that follows. You lost me at hello. I’ve seen Tom Jones almost as many times as The Great Escape. It is a brilliant film. Tony Richardson’s direction, John Osborne’s superb adaptation of the novel and Albert Finney’s cheeky/sexy playing of the title role (not even mentioning the deep and superlative supporting ensemble of some of England’s very best character actors) made for a terrific experience. I still laugh at the same parts and I’m still mesmerized by the intricacies of the comedic plotting and how every character – big and small – is incorporated into the maze of a plot and paid off to glowing results.

    Now that that’s out of the way – the Birds is CLASSIC Hitchcock and needs to be higher. Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (which I love) is too high. It’s a whole lot of fun – if for nothing else than to keep an eye out for all the cameos by every comedy actor who was alive at the time – and the game cast of leads – and Spencer Tracy – and Jimmy Durante literally “kicking the bucket” to get the action started. But it ain’t #2. Cleopatra is an overwrought, expensive flop that nearly bankrupted 20th Century-Fox – and would have had not another film of theirs – released the year before – “The Longest Day” not been a box office savior for the studio. That one would be on my list. The drama equivalent to Mad World – with an all-star cast in a tremendous movie about D-Day – it is eminently watchable and memorable. you SAW From Russia With Love – classic Bond – and THAT didn’t make your Top 10 out of the 17? Seriously? But you had room for The Courtship of Eddie’s Father?

    The Cardinal? You gotta be kidding. A potboiler by Otto Preminger (who really knew how to do those) based on a chessy book which was so bad that it’s lead actor – Tom Tryon – so disgusted by the movie – wuit acting and became a best selling novelist after this (“The Other). PT 109 at #6? If it wasn’t a true story about JFK, it would’ve disappeared without leaving a ripple. You saw “Captain Newman, MD” – but that couldn’t crack your Top 10? I also read the book – which was very good – so maybe that colors my opinion – but Peck and Curtis and Eddie Albert and Robert Duvall – for me – brought this WW II drama to life – with nary a battle seen. And let’s not forget Bobby Darin’s memorable flashback under hynosis scene that was riveting and garnered him an Oscar nomination.

    Hud didn’t make your cut? Even with Oscar wins for Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas and another of Newman’s iconic performances? And I could cull an alternate list from movies you haven’t even seen – How The West Was Won, Bye Bye Birdie, Love With The Proper Stranger (a terrific love story with Steve McQueen and Natalie Wood), Fellini’s 8 1/2, 55 Days At Peking (with Charlton Heston and David Niven), another Samuel L. Bronston epic a la El Cid, Wives and Lovers, this Sporting Life w/ Richard Harris about British footballers, and last but not least – CHARADE – a terrific thriller with Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau. I sound like a broken record – but I can’t really take much from a Best 10 compiled in any given year when you’re choosing from such an anemic list.

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