My Top 20 Favorite Films of 1968

At the Britannica blog Raymond Benson has finished listing off his Top 10 Favorite Films of 1968 so if you’re interested in the final results stop by and give them a look. I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions how much I dislike making lists of favorite films myself since they’re limited by what I’ve seen and are subject to change at anytime. Roger Ebert recently asked his blog readers to “. . . agree that all lists of movies are nonsense.” I agreed with him wholeheartedly at the time, but in the process of watching Raymond Benson share his list favorite films from 1968 I naturally began thinking of my own favorite films released the same year.

Compiling a list of favorite films restricted by their release date without implying that they’re “the best” (whatever that means) started to seem like a fun exercise. And while reading the complaints and reservations about Raymond Benson’s own selections I even suggested that it would be interesting if all the participants of the Britannica blog “round-table” supplied their own list of Top 10 Favorite Films for 1968 so we could compare them. I figured that if we were going to scrutinize Raymond Benson’s selections we might as well scrutinize each other. I also thought that it would probably enrich the discussion. No one else seemed willing or able to share a list of there own picks, but for the past two weeks I’ve been quietly compiling a list of my own favorite films from 1968.

I wasn’t planing on sharing my own list with anyone, but over the weekend I listened to an interesting discussion between Greencine’s David Hudson, Film Comment‘s Gavin Smith and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum about the current state of film criticism that got me contemplating my list again. During the discussion Jonathan Rosenbaum smartly pointed out that, “People love lists now because they need to. There’s too much to navigate through.” In my own experience I’ve found this to be very true. Since I started blogging my “Favorite DVDs of the year” lists for 2006 and 2007 have become some of my most popular posts and they’ve generated some lively discussions and lots of email. I think other people appreciate them because they offer a brief look at some films I’ve enjoyed and recommend. And in the words of Jonathan Rosenbaum, the lists are easy to navigate through.

So without further explanation, here’s a list of some of my own favorite films from 1968. I couldn’t manage to narrow all my choices down to a mere Top 10 so I just decided to share my Top 20 list instead. I purposefully left off documentaries so you won’t find any listed and four of the films on my list were also on Raymond Benson’s list. The numerical order doesn’t mean much and naturally my list is subject to change at anytime since I’m continually being exposed to new movies. It also should be noted that after looking at various print and online sources I’ve come across different release dates for some films. As far as I know, the following 20 films were originally released in 1968.

My TOP 20 FAVORITE FILMS OF 1968

ifposter
1. If…. (Lindsay Anderson; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about If…. can be found HERE and HERE.

Black Lizard (1968)
2. Black Lizard aka Kurotokage (Kinji Fukasaku; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about Black Lizard can be found HERE.
I’m currently working on a much longer article about the film and its star that I hope to share here soon.

Spirits of the Dead (1968)
3. Spirits of the Dead aka Histoires Extraordinaires
(Federico Fellini, Louis Malle & Roger Vadim; 1968)

Some of my thought about Spirits of the Dead can be found HERE.

Teorema (1968)
4. Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about Teorema can be found HERE.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick; 1968)

Diabolik (1968)
6. Diabolik aka Danger: Diabolik! (Mario Bava; 1968)
Some of my brief thoughts about Diabolik can be found HERE.

Succubus (1968)
7. Succubus aka Necronomicon – Geträumte Sünden (Jesus Franco; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about Succubus can be found HERE.

greatsilenceposter
8. The Great Silence aka Il Grande silenzio (Sergio Corbucci; 1968)
Some of my thought about The Great Silence can be found HERE and HERE.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
9. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski; 1968)

Petulia (1968)
10. Petulia (Richard Lester; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about Petulia can be found HERE.

blackmailmylifeposter
11. Blackmail Is My Life aka Kyokatsu koso Waga Jinsei ( Kinji Fukasaku; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about Blackmail Is My Life can be found HERE

Boom (1968)
12. Boom! (Joesph Losey; 1968)
My lengthy look at Boom! can be found HERE.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
13. Night of the Living Dead (George Romero; 1968)

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
14. The Thomas Crown Affair (Norman Jewison; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about The Thomas Crown Affair can be found HERE.

Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
15. Girl on a Motorcycle aka Naked Under Leather (Jack Cardiff; 1968)
Some of my thoughts about Alain Delon and Girl on a Motorcycle can be found HERE.

westposter
16. Once Upon a Time in the West aka C’era una volta il West
(Sergio Leone; 1968)

Some of my thoughts about Once Upon a Time in the West can be found HERE.


17. Death Laid an Egg aka La Morte ha fatto l’uovo (Giulio Questi; 1968)
I briefly mentioned my fondness for Death Laid an Egg HERE.

The Devil Rides Out (1968)
18. The Devil Rides Out aka The Devil’s Bride (Terence Fisher; 1968)

thepartyp
19. The Party (Blake Edwards; 1968)

Barbarella (1968)
20. Barbarella (Roger Vadim; 1968)

Honorable mention goes to the wonderful Yokai Monster films that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

16 thoughts on “My Top 20 Favorite Films of 1968

  1. I sure like your list more than Mr. Benson’s. I’ve seen most of the films except Boom, Black Lizard and Death Laid an Egg. My own preference is Bullitt over Thomas Crown.

  2. I really like Bullitt too and I hard time leaving it off my list. Both movies are terrific but I personally like the look and feel of The Thomas Crown Affair more.

    I think you might enjoy aspects of Black Lizard if you see it, Peter. I know you like Asian cinema a lot so you’ll probably find it interesting. Like most of the films on my list, it tends to generate strong reactions from its fans and its detractors.

  3. Thanks for the fascinating list. It brings back my specific memories of seeing many of these theatrically, since that’s the year I started to go out to see movies on a regular basis and developed a serious interest in them as “cinema”. Seeing2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in CINERAMA was a life altering experience and it’s still my alltime favorite film. Seeing BARBARELLA at the Drive-in was a perfect venue for that particular film and I vividly remember enjoying the outre humor with my companions. TEOREMA was probably my first experience with an “ART” film and I remember walking to my local Arthouse to see it. I don’t enjoy contemporary movies as much and I really don’t like going out to movies anymore because of the obnoxious wau they are exhibited but I better not start to rant.

  4. Robert – ’68 was an amazing year for film. It’s astonishing to me how many actors I like were in multiple films released in ’68 (Delon, Stamp, Fonda, and Trintignant, etc.) and directors like Fukasaku even have two movies on my list. I’m with you on going to see modern movies but it’s mostly because the movies just aren’t anywhere near as good. There’s no way I could even come up with a list of 20 Favorite Films for 2008.

    Luisru – Thanks so much! Stolen Kisses is one of my favorite Truffaut films as well so I had to include it.

    Neil – ’68 is a great year. Generally speaking the ’60s is my favorite film decade though because there was just so much incredible stuff happening. I really like Planet of the Apes too and it came close to making my list as well. If I made this list another day it would be there. As for Point Blank, it was released in ’67 so it couldn’t make my list, otherwise it would of have.

  5. Baisers volés! One of my faovourites Truffauts, totally underrated. You remember Histoires Extraordinaires too, Fellini´s segment is astounding. Amazing blog.

  6. I think 1968 is the year with the most entries on my Top 10 movies of all time… the one I’d probably make different every day if I made it that day, but almost never seriously enough that I alter something so basically unimportant.

    But Night of the Living Dead, Planet of the Apes and Once Upon a Time in the West all sit comfortably on it. I think Point Blank probably would stand a strong chance of making it, if I made the list today.

    Interesting. That is a fantastic year! And a great list. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Of course, you’re right. I must have still had your previous post on the brain when I wrote this one.

    Diabolik and The Great Silence, however would probably get heavy consideration for my all time, as well, actually. I’m a big fan of frankly all of the ones I’ve seen here, which is nearly all of them, it’s a fine and interesting list. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I’m so glad you put if… at the top. I also love Petulia a lot and was glad to see you mention that as well.

    As for Mango’s question, just to get the ball rolling, The Thomas Crown Affair is an orgy of striking and stylish fashion. If that’s your interest it’d be hard to come up with a better movie for that then The Thomas Crown Affair. And Danger Diabolik and Barbarella contain some of the most amazing costume and set designs of the whole decade. I’d recommend those three for starters.

  9. Neil – It’s easy to get release dates confused and so many movies have different release dates depending on where you look. Godard’s Week-End is a good example. A lot of people associate it with 1968 and it was brought up again and again at the Britannica blog but according to IMDB and the books I own, it was released in ’67 so I didn’t include it.

    Mango – I’m not exactly sure what you mean but besides the westerns just about every film listed above features great looking modern costumes and fashions in my opinion. I highly recommend visiting the links attached to the titles above since I often mention fashion when I review or talk about a film and include a picture or two. In the meantime you might want to visit the Cinebeats’ Flickr gallery where I store thousands of images from films as well as fashion mags, etc. all from the ’60s and ’70s

    Jonathan – I’m guessing you haven’t seen a lot of the movies I listed because if you did you’d know that just about all of them have striking fashions. Heck, even Mia dresses great in Rosemary’s Baby and there are some great looking outfits in 2001.

    Dr. Insermini – You’re welcome!

  10. Now you know I’ve seen a lot of these but come on, The Thomas Crown Affair is like a fashion show, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway look so damn glamorous in it. But I agree, most movies of this time period have striking costume and set designs. One of the reasons to love the movies from this decades so much. And the tv shows too. Man from U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, The Avengers and many more are also still eye-catching wonders to behold.

  11. Many of my all-time favorites, including PETULIA, if…, DIABOLIK, and STOLEN KISSES are already up there. It’s such a great year for cinema. A few that I would have to include: PRETTY POISON (Director Noel Black is a true one-hit wonder), THE SWIMMER, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

  12. Jonathan – All true! And of course I hope you know that I’m kidding with ya.

    Ned – We obviously have similar tastes. Pretty Poison is great movie that I’ve written about before but it didn’t make my final cut. If you look closely though Once Upon a Time in the West is listed. As for The Swimmer, I haven’t seen it in many many years (I think I was around 16 or 17 at the time) but obviously I should give it a look again so thanks for the suggestion!

  13. Thanks! I hope you get a chance to see the films you haven’t seen. If you like the others I listed, you’ll probably find lots to like about the other movies too.

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