Top 5: Films Based in the Sixties

Films based in the 1960sI love the 1960s… I feel like my huge amount of posts regarding this era may have given that away.

So! Here are my top five favourite films set in the 1960s. (Presented in no particular order).

American Graffiti film poster American Graffiti (set in 1962)
Look, creep. You want a knuckle sandwich?
Uh, no thanks. I’m waiting for a double Chucky Chuck.

This is a bitchin’ 60s film through the eyes of American teenagers with an ear for rock ‘n’ roll! I mean… This has to be my favourite 60s film. It’s bright like a jukebox with great music highlighted by Wolfman Jack. The cars, the dresses, the language, the people..! I just… Can’t even. When I watch this film, I feel like I’ve got a backstage pass to my favourite band’s show. I get all giddy and nostalgic


Made in Dagenham movie poster Made in Dagenham (set in 1968)
Cope? How will we cope? We’re women. Now, don’t ask such stupid questions.

Documenting the fight for equal pay for men and women in the UK – obviously a major change for this era – focussing on the working class. I like how the filmmakers illustrated the two generations: the older characters who lived through or fought in the war with their 40s, duller dresses. And the younger generation wearing bright sixties dresses and big hair. This divide is illustrated in one short scene: the power cut at the disco (for those of you who have seen it).


The Boat That ROCKED posterThe Boat that Rocked (set in 1966)
Remember folks, it ain’t simple bein’ cool, but it’s cool bein’ simple.

From the point of view from the rock stars of the era: pirate radio DJs. It’s about the fight between pirate radio entertainers (and their fans) versus the English government who shut them down. Fantastic soundtrack of course. With every 60s music genre represented by a DJ on board the boat. Certainly a dreamy ideal of what the era was, but the film crushes your dreams at the end.


the Help film poster The Help (set in 1963)
Eighteen people were killed in Jackson that night. Ten white and eight black. I don’t think God has colour in mind when he sets a tornado loose.

The dark side of the sixties in the South. Every time I say “I want to live in the sixties”, the typical response is: “Yeah, but what about the racism?” Now I’m not saying the sixties are perfect, and racism in this time was devastating and unimaginable. The Help certainly puts this side of the sixties into perspective. Every era has its dark side (even the twenty-teens). A fantastic film nonetheless, with an uplifting and inspirational ending.


Good Morning Vietnam film poster
Good Morning, Vietnam (set in 1965)
Speaking of things controversial, is it true that there is a marijuana problem here in Vietnam?
No, it’s not a problem, everybody has it.

Why have I not written about one of my favourites? Well. I suppose It’s because it’s so dialogue-heavy that it’s more of a radio show – Robin Williams really is the star and his ad-libbed script just takes the cake. A fantastic angle of the devastating Vietnam war, from the point of view of the radio hosts. It’s bound to put a smile on your dial.


Films that didn’t quite make the cut:

Catch me if you can film with Leonardo and Tom Hanks
Catch Me if You Can
(set in 1963)
Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.

Sadly, I haven’t reviewed this one yet. But I think it’s so inspiring. A young man (Leonardo Dicaprio) ran away from home and used his charm to fake being a pilot, doctor and lawyer.  After being caught years later, he was hired by the FBI to help them catch cheque forgers. I love this true story because it shows how much freedom they had. (Unlike today where everyone is watched and documented). It didn’t make the top five because my love for Good Morning, Vietnam got the best of me.


Forrest Gump on the bench filmForrest Gump (set in 1960s)
Why are you so good to me?
You’re my girl!

Of course, not all of this movie is set in the 60s, but there is a large chunk of the hippie movement portrayed. A theme also shared in Made in Dagenham, is that it was just a time of complete change and challenging authorities. This didn’t get to the top 5 because, let’s be honest, haven’t we heard enough about this epic?


Walk the Line film posterWalk the Line (set in 50s – 60s)
Hi, I’m Johnny Cash

I was going to put this film in the mix too, but I relealised all the best scenes were set in the fifties, and only the ending is in the sixties. But I would like to acknowedge it as being friggin’ awesome, with fantastic actors portraying the kings (and queen) of rock ‘n’ roll.

Take five! Take that!

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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