From the political backdrop of the Civil Rights movement to the threat of nuclear war, these films are a true reflection of the year of 1965. It was the year The Sound of Music won Best Picture, the Grateful Dead played their first show in San Francisco, and Malcolm X was shot in New York City. The times were a changin’, and so were the approaches to female characters, interracial relationships, and fashion. Here are 10 movies to stream right now from 1965.
Repulsion dir. Roman Polanski
Horror maestro Roman Polanski and queen bee Catherine Deneueve teamed up for what would be Polanski’s first English-language feature, and the first part of his “Apartment Trilogy,” followed by The Tenant and Rosemary’s Baby. When the film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, it was especially noted for its stunning black-and-white cinematography by famed cinematographer Gilbert Taylor (A Hard Day’s Night, Dr. Strangelove). Deneuve plays Carol, a woman traumatized by her past who begins to act upon her inner demons while left alone in an apartment. At the time, it was very rare for a female killer to be depicted and Polanski, as usual, floored the world.
Available to stream on: YouTube, iTunes
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! dir. Russ Meyer
Sexploitation baby! Leave it to 60s legend Russ Meyer to take us on a voluptuous cruise featuring three go-go dancers that embark on a murderous rage and kidnapping in Southern California. The film has been recognized by many filmmakers and musicians, including Quentin Tarantino and White Zombie, and became a cult favorite as years went by. Though the film didn’t perform so well and critics weren’t particularly fond of it it’s considered a 60s staple and took a risk with its gender roles, violence, and “shameless” dialogue.
Available to stream on: YouTube
Pierrot Le Fou dir. Jean-Luc Godard
Based on Lionel White’s novel Obsession, Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou was the fifteenth highest grossing film of the year in France. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina star as two lovers on the run seeking adventure and escape from both sides of their lives. Karina stars as Marianne Renoir, a woman sought after by the Algerian mafia, who meets Pierrot, a Frenchman who decides to leave hometown Paris for the Mediterranean Sea as he’s bored and wants to spice up his life. It was submitted for the Academy Awards for Foreign Language Film but wasn’t a nominee. Still, the film is a staple of Godard’s experimental style and is considered a “post-modern” work, especially in its approach to American pop culture.
Available to stream on: iTunes, VeOh, YouTube
The Collector dir. William Wyler
Filmed throughout England, William Wyler’s psychological thriller The Collector is the story of a man (Terence Stamp) who kidnaps a woman (Samantha Eggar) for the sake of his own amusement and pleasure. Stamp’s depiction of lead character Freddie is grotesquely entertaining. He’s a bank clerk who collects butterflies and is removed from the world that has rejected him. When Miranda (Eggar), an art student beauty, enters his life things forever change and a bizarre relationship develops. It’s a great actor’s movie. The performances and chemistry between the leads is worthy of praise. Trivia: William Wyler passed on The Sound of Music just to make this film.
Available to stream on: Vimeo
The War Game dir. Peter Watkins
At roughly 48 minutes long, The War Game succeeded critically and won the Oscar for Best Documentary. The complete irony in this decision is that the film was actually fiction. Its focus is set on a nuclear-war occurring in England and the aftermath that will soon follow due to authorities lack thereof. The War Game utilizes acting, interviews, and quotations to set its apocalyptic tone and non-actors were used for the film. It caused massive controversy with the BBC with the statement following, “The effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting, it will, however, be shown to invited audiences…”
Available to stream on: DailyMotion
Juliet of the Spirits dir. Federico Fellini
Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits mixes myriad genres. Part fantasy, party comedy, and part drama, Fellini’s tale of a woman named Giuletta Masina (Giuletta Boldrini) whose dreams, visions, and memories guide her to the decision of leaving her husband, is a delirious rollercoaster of a character study. It was also the first color film of Fellini’s and won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film.
Available to stream on: Hulu
Bunny Lake is Missing dir. Otto Preminger
This 1965 British psychological thriller stars superstar Laurence Olivier and Carol Lyney, as the mother of a lost daughter she’s convinced has been kidnapped but according to others never existed. The question of whether the mother is mentally unstable begins to become apparent and will leave you guessing until the end. Its use of dramatic settings, including a “doll hospital”, a child daycare center, and an apartment, set a sinister tone for this twisted tale of fantasy versus reality and the urgency of a mother’s search for something longing in her. It’s a peculiar film that may appeal to those who love thrillers.
Available to stream on: Archive.org
Red Beard dir. Akira Kurosawa
Red Beard would be the last black-and-white film Akira Kurosawa ever did. The film’s based upon Shūgorō Yamamoto’s short story collection, Akahige shinryōtan and a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel (The Insulted and the Injured) for its subplot. The time and place is 19th century Japan. A young doctor (Yūzo Kayama) within the small town of Koishikawa, a district in Edo (then Tokyo), whose father is already well-established within the clinical circles, is guided by Dr. Kyojō Niide (Toshiro Mifune) aka Akahige (“Red Beard”). As the mentorship continues, the young doctor soon discovers what it really means to be a doctor as he’s guided through patient care and meets several citizens in need of help.
Available to stream on: Hulu
A Patch of Blue dir. Guy Green
A Patch of Blue is an important film because at the time of its release the civil rights movement was just beginning. The moving story focuses on a young blind white teenage girl named Selina (Elizabeth Hartman) who comes from an abusive household. She falls in love with a hard-working educated young black man named Gordon (Sidney Poitier) but faces the challenges of the times of racially divided America. Hartman was the youngest actress to be nominated for an Oscar at the time (22 year old). The record was held until Isabelle Adjani was nominated in 1975. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and Shelley Winters, who plays the abusive prostitute mother of Selina, won for Best Supporting Actress.
Available to stream on: Amazon, iTunes
Darling dir. John Schlesinger
Oh, the swinging 60s! John Schlesinger’s groovy Darling is a stylish ode to the times of 60s fashion, the British glam, and modern lifestyle. It was nominated for Five Academy Awards (winning two: Best Original Screenplay and Best Costume Design), did well commercially, and spawned many examinations of the lead character played by Julie Christie, a model whose lifestyle is shamelessly immature and free willing. New York had written, “This new déclassé English girl was epitomized by Julie Christie in Darling—amoral, rootless, emotionally immature, and apparently irresistible” in response to the mod fashion wearers and caricatures of such times. (Shirley MacLaine was originally cast as Diana, the “darling of this picture”.)
Available to stream on: GooglePlay, iTunes