To celebrate National Classic Movie Day today (16th May) The Classic Film and TV Cafe is running the 6 from the ’60s Blogathon.
I love movies from every decade, but the challenge f this blogathon is to pick 6 of my favorite films form the decade of tie-dye, hippies, James Bond and of course the height of the Cold War.
Thanks Rick for letting me take part!
Here are my 6 favorite movies from the 60’s in no particular order:
- The Longest Day (1962) – Such an amazing film that manages to capture the epic nature and grandeur of one of the most historic days in history. The ability to recreate so many actions involving hundreds, if not thousands of main characters says so much about the forces that but this film together. The cast is superb and although it may be seen by some as a parade of cameos, it is much more than that since it is able to make a true ensemble cast without anyone being the main focus of the story in place of the events of that day which is the main character. The film has so many characters and events that it’s sometimes a bit hard to follow all of them but if one pays close attention, it’s easy to see how the story plays out in the various locations all at once in order to create one of the most spectacular films ever made. The choice to use three different directors is a great one since it allows them to focus on the British, American and German viewpoints of things without having a bias all the way through. The music is classic and is still stuck in my heart more than 36 hours after having watched it. The film is 3 hours long and even that was probably quite a chore cutting it down to such a run time. Despite this “short” run time, they manage to keep the story quite comprehensive and are able to deliver a truly epic depiction of the events of that day.
- West Side Story (1961) – Excellent modern adaptation that makes the story even more tangible and interesting because it is quite relatable. The chemistry between Wood and Beymer is great and its easy to believe this relationship that begins so rapidly. The songs and music are superb and enhance the story even more. The choreography is done exceptionally well and that helps the story flow so smoothly. The supporting cast is also great with Moreno, Chakiris and Tamblyn all doing wonderful jobs with their characters. Both Chakiris and Moreno won Oscar for their roles here. The film won an amazing 10 out of 11 Oscars that year. The story works really well and is even more enjoyable from an adult standpoint because it is much more poignant than one would assume that a story like this could be.
- Seven Days in May (1964) – Amazing political thriller that gives us a scenario that feels so realistic and even feels completely “ripped from the headlines”. The cast is superb with March, Douglas, Lancaster, Gardner, O’Brien and Balsam giving amazing performances. Love the way that this film has twists and turns along the way that help keep things thrilling even when you think that all has been said and done. It manages to say so much about the political atmosphere of the early 1960’s while at the same time show that there can be a big difference if instead of just thinking differently, the differing political attitudes might cause much more damage if they act on their ideas in very extreme circumstances.
- Advise and Consent (1962) – Spectacular film about how the US political system works and it allows us so much perspective on it all. Amazing cast helps make this film and its characters feel even more realistic because of the familiarity with most of the cast. Proves that even after 56+ years, not much has changed when it comes to politics and therefore this story comes across as being extremely timeless in all that it tries to do. Superb dialogue works on numerous levels and gives us a very realistic feeling of it all. One of the best, if not THE best film about the US political system.
- The Great Escape (1963) – Excellent film that really encapsulizes the spirit of an ensemble film. The cast is superb and it’s great seeing them all vie for screen time. The film’s daunting three hours run time is paced so well that it never feels boring or has any lulls in the way the story is told. The fact that I’ve seen this film over 30 times doesn’t change the suspense as things play out. The film does a wonderful job of developing this ensemble cast of characters to a point where we care about what will happen to each and every one of them as they plan and execute their escape. The film mixed the drama with lots of lighter moments in order to help make this setting more palatable for the viewer while still making us understand the rigors that these men needed to endure. The movie is definitely a fictionalized version of the real story, but it is done in a way that help show the courage and heroism of these men as they all were willing to help one another in their joint effort to make it back home. One of the best war films made about prisoners of war and even after nearly 60 years it still resonates so well. The theme song by Bernstein is extremely catchy and is a reminder of what these men went through because it mixes together a serious tone with a fun one.
- Ship of Fools (1965) – Excellent film that is able to capture the various views and opinions of German society before World War II broke out. This is a perfect example of an ensemble film because there are so many characters and each have equal weight when it comes to storytelling. The overall scope of the times is truly the main character here and the passengers are all just samples of the various opinions and attitudes of that naive era. The title is perfect because each of the characters have problems that seem quite minor when compared to what awaits them a few years down the road and having their heads buried in the sand won’t help any of them overcome this oncoming obstacle. Each of the characters are developed really well and based on their mood, they act and react so different throughout the story to the various other characters that they interact with along the way. The cast is superb and just looking at the list itself shows how many famous and recognizable actors were willing to be a part of this film where none of them are the real star. This film could very well gave been the impetus for creating the TV show The Love Boat a decade later.