- Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
Never let it be said that the Empire M readership don’t know their cinematic onions. Lean’s masterpiece has been eulogized by everyone from Stone to Scorsese and, especially, Steven Spielberg, who reveres Robert Bolt’s screenplay as the best ever written and ransacked the film’s desert imagery for Close Encounters. Faultless performances from a mixture of legends and legends-in-the-making, thrilling battle sequences and more than a dash of homoeroticism – all set to a rousing Maurice Jarre score. Utterly, utterly perfect. YOU SAY: “The perfect epic – the best of spectacle and intimate drama.” (Anita Payne)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Jupiter ‘bound astronauts light for their lives against the supercomputer operating their spaceship that’s basically the plot of 2001, but in this case the plot isn’t even half the story. In fact, the film amounts to perhaps the most ambitious work of art attempted since Michelangelo accepted the tine Chapel commission, as Kubrick celebrates evolution and pates mankind’s next giant leap. The cut between prehistoric earth and futuristic outer space is probably the most famous in movie history.
You say ‘2001 challenges as much as it dazzles’ (Tim Ward)
- Psycho (1960)
Thanks to the use of black, black, humour. Thanks to the way it contoured audience expectations by spectacularly offering the apartment ——– at the hallway point, and thanks to the still shocking intensity of the violence. Psycho can safely be regarded as the first modern horror movie. Anthony Perkins is so convincing audiences never believed him in any other role, and even Hitchcock struggled to escape the file’s shadow – it’s the last ——————classic of his career.
You Say: “Forget the _________________________________________” (Barry ___________)
- Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Pretty much the greatest Western, combining as it does the classic John Ford tradition with Sergio Leone’s European cynicism and bravura, operatic style, Genre archetypes such as the vengeful hero, the untameable outlaw and the whore with a heart of gold and unforgettably made flesh by Charles Bronson, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale, but it’s Henry Fonda – Ford’s liberal icon – who gives the best performance as the psychotic man, woman and child – butchering villain, Frank.
You say: “So much richer than the Dollars trilogy ….. Unforgettable,” (Jonathan Bosanko)
- The Great Escape (1963)
A surprisingly lofty placing, perhaps, but few films of any decade inspire such affection. A staple of festive and Bank Holiday TV schedules since the 1970s. The Great Escape has taken on the status of a beloved national institution.
Thankfully, there’s much to savour – humor, warmth, pathos, and of course, Steve McQueen’s bid for freedom on that motorbike.
You say: “The Great Escape is as entertaining and stirring as Hollywood gets.” (Mark Coen)
- Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
A period rural gangster click this may be, but it’s unmistakably a 1960’s movie, from the squib-happy bloodshed to Faye Dunaway’s chic wardrobe, form the Nouvelle Vague-influenced screenplay to Warren Beatty’s dual role as anti-hero star and power – wielding producer. The leads became icons of the era, but the work of supporting players Gene Wilder, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons is so impressive as to be timeless.
You say: “A classic. The final shootout changed movie violence forever.” (David Ander ton)
- The Apartment (1960)
Philip Larking had it that “sexual intercourse began in 1963” but Billy Wilder’s tale of corporate adultery got down and dirty a full three years previously. Jack Lemon has never been more appealing, Shirley McLain never lovelier, and that’s saying a hell of a lot on both counts.
You say: “The classiest rom-com ever made, totally bereft of sentiment and sappiness.” (Jenny Weddell)
- Gold finger (1964)
The definitive Bond movie, Connery entirely comfortable in the role, Shirley Bassey belting out one of the best theme tunes of all time, a memorable henchman in Oddjob, a genuinely menacing megalomaniac, the Aston Martin, a chilling, paint-related demise for one of 007’s paramours, an outrageously monikered heroine (Pussy Galore), great music by John Barry, a dynamic finale at Fort Knox and even some exceptionally witty dialogue: “You expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”
You say: “The Bond that set the gold standard for everything else to follow.” (Keith Aizlewood)
- West Side Story (1961)
This is just a hugely exuberant musical, reflecting the youthful, tribal attitudes of its protagonists – warring street gangs the Sharks and the Jets – but retaining the sense of star – crossed love of Shakespearean antecedent, Romeo and Juliet. Natalie Wood’s Maria is, quite literally, a lover to die for, but even she is almost eclipsed by Rita Moreno’s sexy, feisty firecracker, Anita. All together now – “I like the island Manhattan, smoke on your pipe and put that in!”
You say: “Still holds up today – Rita Moreno steals the show.” (Louise Dale)
- A Bout De Souffle (1960)
Quite possibly the most influential movie ever made, in that it is held as a sacred text by generations of filmmakers. Heavyweight intellectual ideas are explored – the nature of cinema, the cultural relationship between Europe and America – but all within the framework of a supercool romantic thriller. Godard’s directorial style still feels innovative, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg are as sexy as movie couples get, and Paris has never looked so seductive.