News And Commentary – The Greatest Films, Part Three – 25 from the 1960s
Forging ahead with the “best of” lists . . . and this is getting harder. Last week we went with twenty-five favorites from the 1940s and 1950s. The 1960s featured what Phillip Lopate dubbed “the heroic age of movie going” (especially for foreign films), the ambitious American films that pressed hard against the weakening resistance of the Production Code Authority, and finally (of course!), the thrilling emergence of the New Hollywood in 1967 as the censorship code collapsed.
Here then, for your consideration, today’s “top 25”of the 1960s. But don’t forget the rules of the game—and, as always, let me share some of the method to my madness: of the many possibilities that I agonized over which did not make the cut, some were set aside because they have (or will have) affiliates on other decade-lists. That is, when in doubt, the “desert island” criteria in favor of diversity served as a tie-breaker, and so the omissions of Classe Tours Risques (Sautet), Les Bonnes Femmes (Chabrol), The Fire Within (Malle), and The Soft Skin (Truffaut), for example, were made easier by the knowledge that those directors are (or will be) represented elsewhere, unlike about two-thirds of the entries that appear on this list. Still, I’ve had to just let go of some favorites, inevitably I have overlooked others, and surely I have to watch 8 ½ (Fellini) again.
Once again, the movies are listed in order of their domestic release date, and those originally mentioned on the Greatest of all Time list are noted with an asterisk*.
Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
La Notte (Antonioni, 1961) Blow up (1966)
The Hustler (Rossen, 1961)
All Night long (Dearden, 1962)
The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer, 1962) Seconds (1966)
An Autumn Afternoon (Ozu, 1962) Late Autumn (1960); The End of Summer (1961)
High and Low (Kurosawa, 1963)
Contempt (Godard, 1963) Vivre Sa Vie (1962); Band of Outsiders (1964); Masculin Féminin (1966)
Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick, 1964)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (Ritt, 1965)
La Guerre Est Finie (Resnais, 1966)*
The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1966)
Accident (Losey, 1967)
Mouchette (Bresson, 1967)
Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967)
Point Blank (Boorman, 1967)
The Graduate (Nichols, 1967)
Shame (Bergman, 1968) Through a Glass Darkly (1961); Persona (1966); The Passion of Anna (1969)
Bullitt (Yates, 1968)
Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)
My Night at Maud’s (Rohmer, 1969)*
Midnight Cowboy (Schlesinger, 1969)
The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969)
Medium Cool (Wexler, 1969)
Army of Shadows (Melville, 1969)* Leon Morin, Priest (1961); Les Doulos (1962); Le Duexieme Souffle (1966);
Le Samourai (1967)
Dr. Strangelove – "I’m not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed" (George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson)
Le Duexieme Souffle – Melville near the top of his game
Point Blank – Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Lee. Marvin.
The Graduate – Mrs. Robinson's One Desperate Moment
Medium Cool – Belmondo, Tiny Tim, and Saigon . . . Summing up the Sixties?