Best films, 1961

by Poisonthewell | created - 18 Apr 2012 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

All worthwhile films of 1961 ranked

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1. The Hustler (1961)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Sport

An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott

Votes: 67,896

2. The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961)

Not Rated | 190 min | Drama, History, War

His ideals challenged by life as a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist faces ever greater tests in his fight for survival.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Tamao Nakamura, Yûsuke Kawazu

Votes: 3,496

3. Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Mystery

In a strange and isolated chateau, a man becomes acquainted with a woman and insists that they have met before.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff, Françoise Bertin

Votes: 16,491 | Gross: $0.14M

4. Viridiana (1961)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, José Calvo

Votes: 18,447

5. La Notte (1961)

Not Rated | 122 min | Drama

A day in the life of an unfaithful married couple and their steadily deteriorating relationship.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni | Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, Bernhard Wicki

Votes: 13,795 | Gross: $0.04M

6. Paris Belongs to Us (1961)

Not Rated | 120 min | Mystery

Anne Goupil is a literature student in Paris in 1957. Her elder brother, Pierre, takes her to a friend's party where the guests include Philip Kaufman, an expatriate American escaping ... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Rivette | Stars: Betty Schneider, Giani Esposito, Françoise Prévost, Daniel Crohem

Votes: 1,595

7. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 89,143

8. Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama, Romance

A fragile Kansas girl's love for a handsome young man from the town's most powerful family drives her to heartbreak and madness.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie

Votes: 15,127 | Gross: $8.72M

9. Blast of Silence (1961)

Not Rated | 77 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.

Director: Allen Baron | Stars: Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, Larry Tucker, Peter Clune

Votes: 3,180

10. The Exiles (1961)

72 min | Drama

Native Americans in Los Angeles. For 12 hours one Friday night, from late afternoon until dawn, we follow a handful of urban Indians. Yvonne is pregnant, commenting on her life and dreams ... See full summary »

Director: Kent Mackenzie | Stars: Yvonne Williams, Homer Nish, Tom Reynolds, Rico Rodriguez

Votes: 798 | Gross: $0.03M

11. Underworld U.S.A. (1961)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Fourteen-year-old Tolly Devlin sees four hoods beat his father to death. Twenty years later, the killers have risen to the top of the crime syndicate and Tolly has a plan for revenge.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Cliff Robertson, Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Paul Dubov

Votes: 2,040

12. Chronicle of a Summer (1961)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

Real-life individuals discuss topics on society, happiness in the working class among others and with those testimonies the filmmakers create fictional moments based on their interviews. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch | Stars: Angelo, Nadine Ballot, Régis Debray, Jacques

Votes: 1,919

13. Lola (1961)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

A bored young man meets with his former girlfriend, now a cabaret dancer and single mother, and soon finds himself falling back in love with her.

Director: Jacques Demy | Stars: Anouk Aimée, Marc Michel, Jacques Harden, Alan Scott

Votes: 3,840

14. Divorce Italian Style (1961)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A married Sicilian baron falls in love with his cousin and vows to wed her, but with divorce illegal he must concoct a crime of passion to do away with his wife.

Director: Pietro Germi | Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, Leopoldo Trieste

Votes: 9,420

15. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen

Votes: 141,783

16. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Approved | 128 min | Drama

A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands

Votes: 5,596

17. Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance

Set during occupied France, a faithless woman finds herself falling in love with a young priest.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Emmanuelle Riva, Irène Tunc, Nicole Mirel

Votes: 2,921 | Gross: $0.04M

18. Plácido (1961)

85 min | Comedy, Drama

In a small spanish town, a group of old ladies decide to celebrate Christmas Eve with a "Sit a poor man at your table" dinner: each wealthy household of the town will have a homeless person... See full summary »

Director: Luis García Berlanga | Stars: Cassen, José Luis López Vázquez, Elvira Quintillá, Manuel Alexandre

Votes: 2,039

19. Il Posto (1961)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama

A very young college graduate attempts to obtain a position with a large corporation.

Director: Ermanno Olmi | Stars: Sandro Panseri, Loredana Detto, Tullio Kezich, Mara Revel

Votes: 3,406 | Gross: $0.01M

20. Pigs and Battleships (1961)

Not Rated | 108 min | Action, Crime

A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization that is tearing itself apart.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Masao Mishima, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 1,500

21. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Not Rated | 186 min | Drama, War

60 Metascore

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 56,550

22. A Taste of Honey (1961)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

A pregnant teenage girl must fend for herself when her mother remarries, leaving the girl with only a new male friend for support.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens, Murray Melvin

Votes: 3,817

23. Accattone (1961)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama

A pimp with no other means to provide for himself finds his life spiraling out of control when his prostitute is sent to prison.

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Franco Citti, Franca Pasut, Silvana Corsini, Paola Guidi

Votes: 6,114

24. A Woman Is a Woman (1961)

Not Rated | 84 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

A French striptease artist is desperate to become a mother. When her reluctant boyfriend suggests that his best friend impregnate her, feelings become complicated when she accepts.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henri Attal

Votes: 12,211 | Gross: $0.10M

25. The Innocents (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Horror

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton | Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave

Votes: 22,025

26. The End of Summer (1961)

103 min | Drama

The family of an older man who runs a small sake brewery become concerned with his finances and his health after they discover him visiting an old mistress from his youth.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Ganjirô Nakamura, Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Michiyo Aratama

Votes: 2,821

27. Mother Joan of the Angels (1961)

110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A priest is sent to a small parish in the Polish countryside which is believed to be under demonic possession and there he finds his own temptations awaiting.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz | Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Mieczyslaw Voit, Anna Ciepielewska, Maria Chwalibóg

Votes: 2,189

28. Victim (1961)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

The death of a young man leads to the discovery of a blackmail plot against a number of gay men in 1960s London.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price, Anthony Nicholls

Votes: 4,080

29. A Wife Confesses (1961)

91 min | Drama, Mystery

Ayako is charged with murdering her much older academic husband while climbing a mountain. Ayako was having an affair, apparently with her husband's approval, and this complicates the trial.

Director: Yasuzô Masumura | Stars: Ayako Wakao, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Eitarô Ozawa, Haruko Mabuchi

Votes: 317

30. Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

Recently released from a mental hospital; Karin rejoins her emotionally disconnected family and their island home, only to slip from reality as she begins to believe she is being visited by God.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow, Lars Passgård

Votes: 17,862

31. Teen Kanya (1961)

Passed | 114 min | Comedy, Drama

Based on popular Indian stories of great writer Rabindra Nath Tagore, these short films reveal definitive moments in the lives of three young girls.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Anil Chatterjee, Chandana Banerjee, Aparna Sen, Sita Mukherjee

Votes: 1,052 | Gross: $0.08M

32. The Children's Hour (1961)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Romance

A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins

Votes: 11,999

33. The Ladies Man (1961)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy

After his girl leaves him for someone else, Herbert gets really depressed and starts searching for a job. He finally finds one in a big house which is inhabited by many, many women. Can he ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Lewis | Stars: Jerry Lewis, Helen Traubel, Pat Stanley, Kathleen Freeman

Votes: 2,921

34. Surogat (1961)

10 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Simple story about the man who comes to the beach and uses inflatable objects for all of his needs.

Director: Dusan Vukotic

Votes: 846

35. West Side Story (1961)

Not Rated | 153 min | Crime, Drama, Musical

86 Metascore

Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise | Stars: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 81,759 | Gross: $43.66M

36. The Misfits (1961)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama, Romance, Western

A divorcée falls for an over-the-hill cowboy who is struggling to maintain his romantically independent lifestyle.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 14,651

37. Back Street (1961)

Approved | 107 min | Drama

In Lincoln, the ambitious aspirant-designer Rae Smith has an incident with a wolf department store businessman and is rescued by the Marine Paul Saxon. They immediately fall in love with ... See full summary »

Director: David Miller | Stars: Susan Hayward, John Gavin, Vera Miles, Charles Drake

Votes: 757

38. The Errand Boy (1961)

Not Rated | 92 min | Comedy, Family

Paramutual Pictures wants to know where all the money is going, so they hire Morty to be their spy. Morty works for Mr. Sneak and gets a job in the mail room so that he can have access to ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Lewis | Stars: Jerry Lewis, Brian Donlevy, Howard McNear, Dick Wesson

Votes: 1,542

39. One, Two, Three (1961)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy

In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss' socialite daughter.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin, Arlene Francis

Votes: 16,653

40. One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

Not Rated | 141 min | Western

After robbing a Mexican bank, Dad Longworth takes the loot and leaves his partner Rio to be captured but Rio escapes and searches for Dad in California.

Director: Marlon Brando | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Pina Pellicer, Katy Jurado

Votes: 7,958

41. The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated | 99 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance

When the U.S. and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.

Director: Val Guest | Stars: Edward Judd, Janet Munro, Leo McKern, Michael Goodliffe

Votes: 3,754

42. The Young Doctors (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama

Two pathologists -- a veteran department head (Fredric March) whose perspective has been shaped by years of red tape and day-to-day frustrations, and his new assistant (Ben Gazarra), a ... See full summary »

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: Fredric March, Ben Gazzara, Dick Clark, Ina Balin

Votes: 291

43. El Cid (1961)

Approved | 182 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

The fabled Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz (a.k.a. El Cid) overcomes a family vendetta and court intrigue to defend Christian Spain against the Moors.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone, Geneviève Page

Votes: 10,969 | Gross: $26.62M

44. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

TV-PG | 158 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle

Votes: 39,779 | Gross: $28.90M

45. Master of the World (1961)

Not Rated | 102 min | Sci-Fi, Adventure

In 1868, an American scientist and his team become hostages of fanatical pacifist Robur who uses his airship Albatross to destroy military targets on Earth.

Director: William Witney | Stars: Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Henry Hull, Mary Webster

Votes: 2,269

46. The Young Savages (1961)

Not Rated | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A D.A. investigates 3 white teenagers accused of murdering a blind Puerto Rican kid.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews, Vivian Nathan

Votes: 1,686

47. Whistle Down the Wind (1961)

Unrated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

When an injured wife murderer takes refuge on a remote Lancashire farm, the owners three children mistakenly believe him to be the Second Coming of Christ.

Director: Bryan Forbes | Stars: Alan Bates, Bernard Lee, Norman Bird, Diane Clare

Votes: 2,547

48. Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

In the sixteenth century, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to clarify the strange circumstances of his sister's death after she had married the son of a cruel Spanish Inquisitor.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, Luana Anders

Votes: 10,331 | Gross: $2.00M

49. Scream of Fear (1961)

Approved | 81 min | Horror, Thriller

A wheelchair-bound young woman returns to her father's estate after ten years, and although she's told he's away, she keeps seeing his dead body on the estate.

Director: Seth Holt | Stars: Susan Strasberg, Ann Todd, Ronald Lewis, Christopher Lee

Votes: 2,838

50. Gorgo (1961)

Unrated | 78 min | Action, Drama, Horror

Greedy sailors capture a giant lizard off the coast of Ireland and sell it to a London circus. Then its mother shows up.

Director: Eugène Lourié | Stars: Bill Travers, William Sylvester, Vincent Winter, Christopher Rhodes

Votes: 2,499

51. Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

Approved | 136 min | Comedy, Drama

7.3