West Side Story (1961) is a
musical retelling of
Shakespeare's Romeo and
Juliet. Set in Manhattan's
West Side or Hell's Kitchen,
it hits several of the serious
themes of the 60s--race, the
youth culture, violence and
It features music by Leonard
Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen
Sondheim and choreography
by Jerome Robbins.
Coupling a dark focus on
social problems with
sophisticated music, it marks
a turning point in American
To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1960
movie based on an autobiographical
novel by Harper Lee. It stars Gregory
Peck as Atticus Finch, a southern
lawyer during the Depression who
risks his career by defending a black
man accused of raping a white
woman. It features beautiful scenes
and the best child actor I've seen.
Nominated for eight Academy
Awards, the movie won four against
an unusually strong field. It features
60s themes of race, prejudice and
standing up for principle.
The title comes from a proverb that it's
a sin to kill a mockingbird, a bird
which does no damage, but just
sings--a metaphor for killing innocent
and vulnerable people.
A young Dustin Hoffman plays Ben
Braddock, a recent college graduate
who lacks direction in The Graduate,
a 1967 coming of age film. Seduced by
Mrs. Robinson, a friend of his parents
played by Anne Bancroft, Ben falls in
love with her daughter.
Both deliver outstanding performances
in avant-garde director Mike Nichols's
ground-breaking satire/comedy, just
his second film after Who's Afraid of
Virginia Wolf? It treats 60s themes of
shifting sexual mores and questioning
the values of society.
Paul Scofield plays Sir Thomas
More, the incorruptible advisor to
King Henry VIII, in 1966's A Man
for All Seasons. Henry wants to
divorce his wife and marry Anne
Boleyn, while the Catholic More
stands against him.
The prize-winning drama, based on a
play by Robert Bolt, features real-life
people facing moral choices with
It includes beautiful scenery, historical
accuracy and the serious discussion
of religious principles too often
missing from the big screen.