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The '60s (1999)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 7 February 1999
The Herlihys are a working class family from Chicago whose three children take wildly divergent paths: Brian joins the Marines right out of High School and goes to Vietnam, Michael becomes ... See full summary »


Mark Piznarski


Bill Couturié (story) (as Bill Couturie), Robert Greenfield (story) | 3 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Hamilton ... Michael Herlihy
Julia Stiles ... Katie Herlihy
Jerry O'Connell ... Brian Herlihy
Jeremy Sisto ... Kenny Klein
Jordana Brewster ... Sarah Weinstock
Leonard Roberts ... Emmet Taylor
Bill Smitrovich ... Bill Herlihy
Annie Corley ... Mary Herlihy
Donovan Leitch Jr. ... Neal Reynolds (as Donovan Leitch)
David Alan Grier ... Fred Hampton
Cliff Gorman ... Father Daniel Berrigan
Charles S. Dutton ... Reverend Willie Taylor (as Charles Dutton)
April Mills April Mills ... Constance
Marc Blucas ... Buddy Wells
Jenna Byrne Jenna Byrne ... Melissa


The Herlihys are a working class family from Chicago whose three children take wildly divergent paths: Brian joins the Marines right out of High School and goes to Vietnam, Michael becomes involved in the civil rights movement and after campaigning for Bobby Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy becomes involved in radical politics, and Katie gets pregnant, moves to San Francisco and joins a hippie commune. Meanwhile, the Taylors are an African-American family living in the deep South. When Willie Taylor, a minister and civil rights organizer, is shot to death, his son Emmet moves to the city and eventually joins the Black Panthers, serving as a bodyguard for Fred Hampton. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You only really know what you have when your'e about to lose it.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for drug use, violence and sensuality | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The '60s See more »

Filming Locations:

Fillmore, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sarah's line to Kenny "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness" is the first line of Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl". See more »


Brian tries to get another man to buy him a beer, saying that he is not old enough to do so. The drinking age in Illinois in 1962 was 18 and Brian would have to be at least that to enlist in the military then. See more »


Rev. Willie Taylor: Don't you EVER forget what you seen here.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A scene where Katie and her friends gathered in front of her television to watch The Beatles performance on the Ed Sullivan show was originally shown in NBC's first broadcast of the mini-series but ended up getting cut out of all the home video versions of the film (including NBC's own 2 tape set which could only be ordered straight from the network). The scene is also missing from later presentations of the film on networks such as VH1. In the scene Katie and her friends sit on the floor in front of the television and scream in delight at the sight of The Beatles while Katie's brother, Michael, sits behind them secretly trying to brush his hair down so that he can look like the famous quartet. See more »


Followed by The '70s (2000) See more »


Chimes of Freedom
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan and Joan Osborne
See more »

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User Reviews

New Left propaganda
14 August 2001 | by MonkasiSee all my reviews

"The '60s" TV miniseries would have you believe that between the years 1962 and 1969, the United States of America - the last conservative stronghold of the Western world - did an abrupt about-face and sped off to the left, never to return. Not only is this a gross generalization, but it is also based on naive assumptions and faulty logic that anyone with a high school diploma can readily refute.

Take the issue of race, for example. This movie argues that Negroes were relentlessly persecuted all the way up to 1965, so what choice did they have but to rebel? Well, maybe America's racist chickens DID come home to roost in the Sixties - but it wasn't because white Americans were just sitting idly by. Full equality for African-Americans had already been provided for by the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and '64 and by the Voting Rights Act of '65, so there was absolutely no reason for young black men to go hog wild during the latter part of the decade. They may have looked smart in their snappy berets, but in reality most - if not all - advocates of Black Power succeeded only in making a mockery of the civil rights movement with their penchant for violence and their irrational fear of all whites.

"The '60s" likewise tries to prove that prior to 1962 and the dancing of The Twist, exuberant sexuality in America simply didn't exist. What nonsense. The so-called sexual revolution wasn't really so radical when one considers that the forces behind it had been fermenting for decades (Margaret Sanger's crusade for birth control, for instance). The people who put this miniseries together apparently also consider the Fifties to be a time of cardboard, puritanical sexlessness. But that belief simply doesn't hold water. Was it not during the '50s that Elvis Presley provocatively swiveled his hips and Marilyn Monroe had her dress blown up past her waist? Not to mention Playboy magazine, Bettie Page pinups, and the word "rock 'n' roll" itself, which was originally a euphemism for sex. When you get right down to it, the revolution wouldn't have come as quickly as it did had it not been for the introduction of the birth control pill in 1960, which made sex more common only because it made it less hazardous.

And what about Vietnam? This movie simply shows that conflict blowing up in our faces in 1964. What it doesn't show is that the war in Indochina had been raging since 1954 - ten years earlier. The top brass in Washington - if not the American public at large - had been keeping abreast of the events in Southeast Asia since day one. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower had the opportunity to nip the entire Vietnam conflict in the bud during his first term, when he refused to give aid to the French at the siege of Dienbienphu. Yes, LBJ must bear the brunt of the blame for what happened to our boys; but we wouldn't have gotten into such a pickle in the first place if Ike hadn't sat on the teakettle a decade earlier. The movie also focuses almost exclusively on the activities of war protesters, failing to note that most Americans actually supported the war to the bitter end.

One final note: the movie opens with an ironic presentation of that bland, insipid, happy-go-lucky Fifties sitcom "Ozzie and Harriet." Good point, but it's not as if we were all watching blood-soaked shoot-'em-ups and kinky S&M on TV by 1969. As a matter of fact, by the end of the decade Americans were watching bland, insipid, happy-go-lucky Seventies sitcoms like "The Brady Bunch."

I may be only 20 years old, but I know my American history. And "The '60s" gets a lot of it wrong.

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