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Best 1960's Films: The Highest Grossing Films of the 1960's

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 2 3

The Best Movies of the 1960's decade.

The highest grossing films of 1960's were dominated by animation and musicals, as these two genres took five out of the top ten spots.

The radical cultural change in society and 'counterculture movement'  in the 1960's had a gradual effect of the cinematic world. Movies insiders and actors began to push socially excepted boundaries such as sex and violence. This caused a very visible and vocal public backlash in equal measures of condemnation and celebration.

This was the beginning of an era described as the 'New Hollywood'. It was the start of a movement that dominated the film industry for  years to come and had a permanent effect in revolutionizing the media. Films that pushed the boundaries were those such as  'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' (1967) about the civil rights movement and 'Easy Rider' (1969) which dealt with the drugs subculture of the time.

So it is almost in total contrast that we look to the highest grossing films of the decade. Absent are a lot of groundbreaking work as conventional money still flowed to  family classics such as "Mary Poppins", "101 Dalmatians", "The Jungle Book" and " The Sound of Music".

However the genie was out of the bottle. As the years progressed this sub culture of 'New Hollywood' would come very much to the forefront as the time of animation and musicals was very much coming to an end.

Be sure to check out my other infobarrel top ten countdowns from previous decades:

The Highest Grossing Films of the 1980's

The Highest Grossing Films of the 1990's

10. Cleopatra (1963) $58 million

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, and Martin Landau.

The 1963 'Cleopatra' directed by  Joseph L Mankiewicz will go down in film history as one of the most flamboyant and extravagant movie projects ever. The total budget of the film ran to $44 million which adjusted for inflation would be around $320 million dollars today.

The film chronicles the years leading up to the formation of the  Roman Empire.

Cleopatra had plotted an alliance with  Julius Caesar, head of the Romans, in an attempt to hold on to ruling her Egyptian lands under overall Roman command.

Unfortunately for both parties, Caesar is stabbed and killed by the Roman senate. With the death of Caesar  Cleopatra sees  her political safeguard destroyed.

When Cleopatra meets Roman general Mark Anthony she plans  to build another strategic alliance with Rome and seduces Anthony.

In the following Battle of Actium, Cleopatra combines her forces with that of  Mark Antony's in trying to win victory over the army of Octavian. The joined forces battle in vain and are met with defeat and  soon have to retreat back to Egypt. Once back, Antony and Cleopatra meet together as they wait their fate as the enemy forces advance towards them.

Favourite Line

Julius Caesar: [to Cleopatra] You, a descendant of generations of inbred, incestuous, mental defectives! 

Cleopatra Trailer

9. Thunderball (1965) $64 million

Sean Connery

'Thunderball' is the fourth film in the franchise and sees Sean Connery returning as James Bond. This time he is pitched against the crime organisation S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, if you were wondering.)

This time around we have another threat to world safety as S.P.E.C.T.R.E. holds the world to ransom for a fee of £100 million in flawless diamonds. Their threat? Well they have  hijacked two NATO nuclear bombs , hidden them under the sea at a decret location and will detonate unless their demands are met.

Favourite Lines

James Bond: That gun, it looks more fitting for a woman. 
Emilio Largo: You know much about guns, Mr. Bond? 
James Bond: No, but I know a little about women. 

Thunderball Trailer

8. My Fair Lady (1964) $72 million

Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison

'My Fair Lady' is the 1964 film based on the broadway hit of the same name and inspired by George Bernard Shaw's comedy Pygmalion.

Our south London heroine, Eliza Doolittle, meets linguistic expert Henry Higgins. Soon afterwards  Higgins places a bet with his colleague that he could transform Eliza into a proper lady, simply through elocution lessons, making her drop her Cockney dialect and start using the English language properly.

My Favourite Line

Professor Henry Higgins: Why can't a woman be more like a man? 

My Fair Lady Trailer

7. Mary Poppins (1964) $102 million

Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke

This five time oscar-winning family favourite is regarded by many as the finest Disney movie of all time.

Long before Jo Frost came along with her authoritative ways and use of the 'naughty step' we had supernanny Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins decides, unlike Miss Frost who travels by black London cab, to fly in on her umbrella in response to the pleas from the Banks children.

Que songs, music and dancing penguins as Mary Poppins uses her magical powers to put the joy back into the children's lives before flying off to help others in need.

My Favourite Lines

Mr Banks: Just a moment, Mary Poppins. What is the meaning of this outrage? 
Mary Poppins: I beg your pardon? 
Mr Banks: Will you be good enough to explain all this? 
Mary Poppins: First of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear. 
Mr Banks: Yes? 
Mary Poppins: I never explain anything. 

Mary Poppins Trailer

6. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) $102 million

Paul Newman, Robert Redford

Butch is your typical likeable rouge outlaw and together with his best friend and righthand man, Sundance, combine with other bandits to form the 'hole in the wall gang'.

The gang's main purpose is to steal, but to steal doing so as gentlemanly as possible and most definitely in a non lethal way. 

Unfortunately for these two, they rob the same train once to often.The railroad manager puts a legendary tracker on their tails in an effort to finally bring the pair to justice. Despite all their attempts they just can't sake this tale and eventually end up all the way in  Bolivia.

Even in South America these two outlaws can't escape justice and are once again tracked down by the law. In the final scene Butch and Sundance are held up in a small village surrounded by armed soldiers. Wounded, Butch and Sundance make one last bit for freedom and charge out to face the enemy.

Favourite Line

Butch Cassidy: [to Sundance] Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

5. The Graduate (1967) $105 million

Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft

Benjamin Braddock is a recent college graduate who is in no rush to follow the traditional approach to life by finding a job. In fact, he is quite content at home floating around in his parents pool. His parents are at first supportive of his relaxed attitude to progressing with his life ,after all we all need a break now and again.

However they soon become infuriated with his distinct level of non-activity. They would be even more upset if they discovered that Benjamin had started an affair with the wife of a family friend and business partner of his father, Mrs Robinson.

This affair haunts Benjamin when, after the clandestine romance has ended, he finds himself falling in love with Mrs Robinson's daughter, Elaine.

Favourite Lines

Benjamin: Oh my God! 
Mrs Robinson: Pardon? 
Benjamin: Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. Oh no. 
Mrs Robinson: What's wrong? 
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, you didn't... I mean, you didn't expect... 
Mrs Robinson: What? 
Benjamin: I mean, you didn't really think I'd do something like that. 
Mrs Robinson: Like what? 
Benjamin: What do you think? 
Mrs Robinson: Well, I don't know. 
Benjamin: For god's sake, Mrs. Robinson. Here we are. You got me into your house. You give me a drink. You... put on music. Now you start opening up your personal life to me and tell me your husband won't be home for hours. 
Mrs Robinson: So? 
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. 
Mrs Robinson: [laughs] Huh? 
Benjamin: Aren't you? 

The Graduate

4. Doctor Zhivago (1965) $111 million

Julie Andrews, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif

Based apon Boris Pasternak award-winning novel, 'Doctor Zhivago' is film epic set around the time of the Russian Revolution.

It's a long film, over three hours, with many plots and sub plots and well as complex sociopolitical views personified in characters showing the pros and cons of the Bolshevik revolution.

Favourite Line

Kostoyed Amourski: I am the only free man on this train! And the rest of you are CATTLE!

Doctor Zhivago Trailer

3. The Jungle Book (1967) $142 million

Sterling Holloway, Sebastian Cabot, Phil Harris, George Sanders, Louis Prima

This 1967 Walt Disney musical animation is based upon the well know tales of Rudyard Kipling. The story begins in a tropical jungle where Bagheera, a panther, discovers a baby boy within the wreckage of a small boat. Not wanting any harm to come to the child, Bagheera takes him to be raised by wolves. Now I'm aware that being raised by wolves sounds harsh but, hey, he's a panther, what else can he do?

A decade later and the young baby has grown into an adolescent named Mowgli. Our young hero finds he is in mortal danger as he learns that Shere Khan the Tiger is returning to the area. Shere Khan is know for his hatred of all things human and will surely kill the boy.

It is decided that Mowgli should be taken to the local "man village" where he will be safe and can live the rest of his days with creatures of his own kind. Along the way to the safety of the village Mowgli meets a number of colourful characters including Baloo the bear, King Louie of the Apes, and the man eating snake Kaa.

Favourite Lines

Baloo: Now, look. It's like this, little britches. All you gotta do is... 

Baloo: [singing] Look for the bare necessities / The simple bare necessities / Forget about your worries and your strife / I mean the bare necessities / Are Mother Nature's recipies / That bring the bare necessities of life / Wherever I wander / Wherever I roam / I couldn't be fonder / Of my big home / The bees are buzzin' in the tree / To make some honey just for me / When you look under the rocks and plants / And take a glance at the fancy ants / Then maybe try a few... 

M0wgli: You eat ants? 

Baloo: You better believe it. And you're gonna love the way they tickle. 

The Jungle Book Trailer

2. 101 Dalmatians (1961) $145 million

Betty Lou Gerson, Rod Taylor

When Rodger, a young London bachelor, becomes bored with his single life he decides to find a nice girl to settle down with. Like so many men in his position he turns to his dog, Pongo, to find his ideal mate.

If I have a dollar for every one of my friend met their partners through dates arranges by their dogs.....anyway I digress.

Pongo arranges for Roger to meet a lovely girl called Anita. Now Anita, amazingly enough  happens to have a female Dalmatian named Perdita.

Love blossoms soon afterwards between Pongo and Perdita and also with Rodger and Anita (I'm glad I didn't get any of those names in the wrong order. It would make it an altogether different film).A few months later Pongo and Perdita are the proud parents of 15 dalmatian pups.

Cruella de Vil, the villain of the film, wants 100 dalmatian pups to make a coat out of their skins. Doesn't she sound lovely?

Anyway, when the puppies are kidnapped it's up to Pongo, Perdita, George and Anita to save the pups before they become part of Cruella's wardrobe.

Favourite Lines

Cruella De Vil: Congratulations. You three have just won the Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Morons Olympics! 
Horace: Who won the gold? 
Cruella De Vil: SHUT UP! 

101 Dalmatians Trailer

1. The Sound of Music (1965) $159 million

Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

'The hills are alive with the sound of music.'  

So it seems is my house every Christmas. as my aging relatives insist on watching this multi-oscar winning musical classic.

Set in prewar Austria, our young heroine Maria is given the job of looking  after  seven boisterous children  of  Navy captain Georg Von Trapp. You would think that an Austrian Navy captain, being from a land locked country, would have ample free time on his hands to look after his own kids, but apparently not.

Captain Von Trapp is as stern at raising the children and he is with his men in the navy. A strict disciplinarian stance has taken to rearing the children and the Von Trapp offspring have grown resentful.

When Maria first arrives the children treat her with hostility and resentment in an attempt to  drive her away like her predecessors before her.However, Maria's joie de vive soon enlightens the lives of the seven children and Captain Von Trapp. It's not long before a romance is blossoming between the pair and start skipping off along the alpine mountainside.

Favourite Lines

Captain von Trapp: Now, Fraulein. I want a truthful answer from you. 
Maria: Yes, Captain? 
Captain von Trapp: Is it possible - or could I have just imagined it - have my children by any chance been climbing trees today? 
Maria: Yes, Captain. 
Captain von Trapp: I see. And where, may I ask, did they get these... ummm... 
Maria: Play clothes. 
Captain von Trapp: Oh, is that what you call them? 
Maria: I made them. From the drapes that used to hang in my bedroom. 
Captain von Trapp: Drapes? 
Maria: They still have plenty of wear left. The children have been everywhere in them. 
Captain von Trapp: Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old drapes? 
Maria: Mmm-hmmm. And having a marvelous time! 

The Sound of Music Trailer



Apr 2, 2012 6:49pm
Very good list! The Jungle Book was my favorite as a kid and I still love it. Also, for my movie going money, Mr. Sean Connery was the BEST James Bond!!
Apr 12, 2012 3:19am
Correction: Sean Connery IS Bond, James Bond.
Apr 12, 2012 3:22am
My favorite is: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
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