Welcome to Part 1 of a 5-part, decade-wise exploration of the finest English language cinema from the 1960s to today. This, and the following lists, look not just at the most acclaimed films of the decade, but the ones with the most impactful cultural footprint. We hope you enjoy the show, and go back to your classic DVDs with a smile on your face.
The Swingin' Sixties.
Free love. Psychedelia. Civil rights. Flower Power. Counterculture. Hunter S Thompson. The Beatles and the British Invasion. The Martin Luther King assassination. The sexual revolution. Woodstock. Vietnam and the Anti-War movement. The Doors. The JFK assassination. Muhammad Ali. Walking on the moon. The Ford Mustang. The BASIC programming language. The Malcolm X assassination. Andy Warhol's cans of soup. Jimi Hendrix. Motown Records. Richard Nixon, President. Spider-Man. Marshall McLuhan. Jacques Derrida. Charles Manson. Che Guevara rocks the revolution. LSD. Frank Zappa.
What. A. Decade.
'If you remember anything about the sixties, you weren't really there,' memorably said Jefferson Airplane guitarman Paul Kantner -- and while most of us might not have been there, we're still reeling from the impact. The cultural significance of the 1960s beats any other twentieth century decade hollow.
Film was massively impacted by counterculture. Sex, violence and anarchy took over cinema, breaking boundaries with every step. Europe saw La Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave movement -- and the Italian filmmakers hit absolute peak.
The new cameras were cheaper, lighter, and just crying out for experimentation -- thus kicked off the avant-garde movement. There was a movement every which way you looked, and as Hollywood's 'studio system' ripped apart at the seams, we saw the birth of younger, fierier 'New Hollywood.'
For this impossible special feature, we narrowed down our options to English-language films, and while this basically means no arguing over Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone or Jean-Luc Godard, it hardly helps the cause. There's just too much to choose from. You'll see.
It's a really tough decade to boil down into a ten-movie list, but here, strictly in chronological order, are a few English films that literally rocked our world.
Text: Raja Sen
Also Read: Best of Hollywood, 2007