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DISCLAIMER: All film criticism is extremely subjective and there is no such thing as the definitive list of the Greatest (English-language) Films. Great Films can't be measured scientifically because greatness is extremely subjective. Just because we like a film doesn't mean that you will like it as well. Please feel free to leave us a comment with the films that you think are the greatest which we have not included on our list.

Not only was 1966 a big year for movies but it was also a big year for actors making their film debuts and the deaths of some truly great talent. Here is a snap shot of the American film industry.

Making Their Film Debuts:

  • Candice Bergen – The Group
  • Michael Douglas – Cast a Giant Shadow
  • Harrison Ford – Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round
  • Bette Midler – Hawaii
  • Helen Mirren – Press for Time
  • Johnny WhitakerThe Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming


Top-grossing Films

Rank Title Studio Gross
1. The Bible: In the Beginning… 20th Century Fox $34,900,023
2. Hawaii United Artists $34,562,222
3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Warner Bros. $33,736,689
4. The Sand Pebbles 20th Century Fox $30,017,647
5. A Man for All Seasons Columbia $28,350,000
6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly United Artists $25,100,000
7. Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. Walt Disney Pictures $22,565,634
8. The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming United Artists $21,693,114
9. Grand Prix MGM $20,845,016
10. Blow-up MGM $20,000,000
11. The Endless Summer Cinema V $20,000,000
12. The Professionals Columbia $19,537,346
13. Alfie Paramount $18,871,300
14. Georgy Girl Columbia $16,873,162
15. The Silencers Columbia $16,318,124
16. Follow Me, Boys! Walt Disney Pictures $16,207,116
17. The Blue Max 20th Century Fox $16,151,612
18. Our Man Flint 20th Century Fox $16,000,000
19. The Wild Angels AIP $15,541,070
20. A Man and a Woman United Artists $14,000,000
21. Torn Curtain Universal $13,000,000
22. Fantastic Voyage 20th Century Fox $12,000,000
22. Harper Warner Bros. $12,000,000
23. The Trouble with Angels Columbia $8,200,000
24. Penelope MGM $8,000,000
25. Walk, Don’t Run Columbia US$7,500,000


Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: A Man for All Seasons – Highland, Columbia

Best Director: Fred ZinnemannA Man for All Seasons

Best Actor: Paul ScofieldA Man for All Seasons

Best Actress: Elizabeth TaylorWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Supporting Actor: Walter Matthau – The Fortune Cookie

Best Supporting Actress: Sandy DennisWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Among Those Who Died In 1967:

  • January 3 – Rex Lease, 62, American actor, Rough Riding Ranger, Borrowed Wives
  • January 17 – Vincent J. Donehue, 50, American director, Lonelyhearts, Sunrise at Campobello
  • January 22 – Herbert Marshall, 75, British actor, The Letter, The Little Foxes
  • January 31 – Elizabeth Patterson, 90, American actress, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Remember the Night
  • February 1
    • Buster Keaton, 70, American actor and director, The General, Sherlock, Jr.
    • Hedda Hopper, 80, American gossip columnist and actress, Sunset Boulevard, Topper
  • February 9 – Sophie Tucker, 82, Russian-born American singer and actress, Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry, Broadway Melody of 1938
  • February 18 – Robert Rossen, 57, American writer and director, The Hustler, All the King’s Men
  • February 19 – James Edward Grant, 60, American writer and director, Angel and the Badman, The Alamo
  • February 26 – Mientje Kling, 71, Dutch actress, The Devil in Amsterdam
  • March 3
  • March 12 – Estelita Rodriguez, 34, Cuban actress, Tropical Heat Wave, Rio Bravo
  • March 26 – Cyril Hume, 66, American screenwriter, The Great Gatsby, Forbidden Planet
  • April 6
    • Julia Faye, 73, American actress, Chicago, The Ten Commandments
    • Edna Flugrath, 73, American silent-film actress, The Derby Winner, The Pursuit of Pamela
  • April 16 – Marjie Millar, 34, American actress, Money from Home, About Mrs. Leslie
  • June 5 – Natacha Rambova, 69, American actress, Salome, Monsieur Beaucaire
  • June 11 – Wallace Ford, 68, British-born American actor, Another Face, 3 Ring Circus
  • June 19 – Ed Wynn, 79, American actor, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins
  • July 6 – Anne Nagel, 50, American actress, Under the Big Top, My Little Chickadee
  • July 23
  • August 3 – Lenny Bruce, 40, American satirist
  • August 15
    • Jan Kiepura, 64, Polish tenor and actor, My Song for You
    • Seena Owen, 71, American actress, Queen Kelly, Victory
  • August 23 – Francis X. Bushman, 83, American actor, Ben-Hur, The Phantom Planet
  • August 25 – Lance Comfort, 58, British director, Penn of Pennsylvania, Eight O’Clock Walk
  • August 26 – Art Baker, 68, American actor, Cover Up, The Farmer’s Daughter
  • September 14 – Nikolai Cherkasov, 63, Soviet actor, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan The Terrible, Part II
  • September 22 – Jules Furthman, 78, American screenwriter, The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not
  • October 13 – Clifton Webb, 76, American actor, Laura, The Man Who Never Was
  • October 16 – George O’Hara, 67, American actor and writer, Side Street, The Grapes of Wrath
  • October 23 – Claire McDowell, 88, American actress, The Mark of Zorro, Ben-Hur
  • October 24 – Hans Dreier, 81, German art director of European and American films, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity
  • November 3 – Byron Barr, 49, American actor, Double Indemnity, Pitfall
  • November 9 – James V. Kern, 57, American screenwriter and director, Never Say Goodbye, Two Tickets to Broadway
  • December 14
    • Emma Dunn, 91, British actress, Mother, Life with Father
    • Verna Felton, 76, American actress and voice actress, Picnic, Cinderella
    • Richard Whorf, 60, American actor and director, Christmas Holiday, Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • December 15 – Walt Disney, 65, American producer, cartoonist and studio executive, Steamboat Willie, Cinderella, Fantasia
  • December 22
    • Harry Beaumont, 78, American director, The Broadway Melody, Enchanted April
    • Robert Keith, 68, American actor, The Lineup, Written on the Wind

The Greatest Films of 1966




Poster for the movie "Alfie"

© 1966 Paramount Pictures − All right reserved.

Alfie (UK)

D: Lewis Gilbert

Stars:  Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin

Alfie is the ultimate Ladykiller. He is wonderfully successful with women. He also rarely gets emotionally involved with them. He has a series of reversals in which his health is threatened, he has a child who is adopted by another man, and gets a married woman pregnant.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "Blow-Up"

© 1966 Bridge Films − All right reserved.

Blow-Up (UK)

D: Michelangelo Antonioni

Stars:  David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

A thought-provoking, art-house masterpiece from Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni – a view of the world of mod fashion, and an engaging, provocative murder mystery that examines the existential nature of reality through photography. It was Antonioni’s first film in English, and quickly became one of the most important films of its decade, and a milestone in liberalized attitudes toward film nudity and expressions of sexuality. A successful mod photographer in London whose world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and easy sex, feels his life is boring and despairing. But in the course of a single day he accidentally captures on film the commission of a murder. The fact that he has photographed a murder does not occur to him until he studies and then blows up his negatives, uncovering details, blowing up smaller and smaller elements, and finally putting the puzzle together.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "Born Free"

© 1966 High Road − All right reserved.

Born Free (UK/US)

D: James Hill

Stars:  Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Geoffrey Keen

Joy Adamson and her husband, Kenya game warden George Adamson, raise Elsa, a lion cub. When Elsa approaches maturity, Joy determines she must re-educate Elsa to living in the wild so that the lioness can return to a free life.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "Fantastic Voyage"

© 1966 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation − All right reserved.

Fantastic Voyage

D: Richard Fleischer

Stars:  Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O’Brien

The science of miniaturization has been unlocked, and the army has big plans. But when a scientist carrying the secret of the process is injured in a surprise attack, a life-threatening blood clot puts him into a coma. Now, a team of adventurers will have to use the technology to travel inside his body and destroy the clot.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

© 1966 United Artists − All right reserved.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (US/UK)

D: Richard Lester

Stars:  Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford

This screen adaptation of the stage musical of the same name finds the Roman slave Pseudolus (Zero Mostel) scheming his way to freedom by playing matchmaker for his master’s son, Hero, who is smitten with the blonde and beautiful Philia. However, things don’t go at all according to plan. The complications that ensue involve blackmail, funny disguises and long-lost children, while Pseudolus desperately tries to keep up with his end of the bargain.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "Georgy Girl"

© − All right reserved.

Georgy Girl (UK)

D: Silvio Narizzano

Stars:  James Mason, Alan Bates, Lynn Redgrave

Georgy has resigned herself to being one of life’s accidents. She disapproves somewhat of her father’s butlering James Leamington. She’s tall, plump, sloppy and wistfully envious of what she conceives to be the life led by her beautiful, but icy roommate. Where her roommate, Meredith, is cool and calculating, Georgy gets so involved with the people around her she behaves like an affectionate puppy. Most of all she burns to be a mother. But it is Meredith that is in the hospital having an unwanted child.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "A Man for All Seasons"

© 1966 Highland Films − All right reserved.

A Man for All Seasons (UK)

D: Fred Zinnemann

Stars:  Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern

A Best Picture-winning film. The verbose, stagy, yet superb screen adaptation and historical period piece by Robert Bolt and Constance Willis was from Bolt’s own stage play about the honorable Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield reprising his stage role in an Oscar-winning performance), the new Lord Chancellor of England after the death of Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Welles) in 1529. He was 16th century England’s great lawyer, judge, and a devout Catholic, who found himself in a clash of ideals with King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw, also Oscar-nominated). In the morality play of the conflict between church and state, More’s unflinching faithfulness to the Catholic Church forced him to refuse to acknowledge the petulant king’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon (his own brother’s widow, who had proven infertile) to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn (an unbilled Vanessa Redgrave), and his subsequent creation of the Anglican Church of England. Henry was intent on having his wife bear a male heir to continue his dynastic reign, so he had set his sights on Anne Boleyn.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "The Professionals"

© 1966 Columbia Pictures − All right reserved.

The Professionals

D: Richard Brooks

Stars:  Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode

The Professionals is a 1966 American Western film directed by Richard Brooks. A kidnap-rescue adventure set in about 1917, it features a small group of experts heading into Mexico to free the Mexican-born wife of a wealthy Texan from several hundred bandits. The film is based on the novel A Mule for the Marquesa by Frank O’Rourke.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "Seconds"

© 1966 Paramount Pictures − All right reserved.


D: John Frankenheimer

Stars:  Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph

A sinister, science-fiction-inflected dispatch from the fractured 1960s. Seconds, directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), concerns a middle-aged businessman dissatisfied with his suburban existence, who elects to undergo a strange and elaborate procedure that will grant him a new life. Starting over in America, however, is not as easy as it sounds. This paranoiac symphony of canted camera angles (courtesy of famed cinematographer James Wong Howe), fragmented editing, and layered sound design is a remarkably risk-taking Hollywood film that ranks high on the list of its legendary director’s major achievements.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Poster for the movie "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

© 1966 Chenault Productions − All right reserved.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

D: Mike Nichols

Stars:  Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

Nichol’s debut film as director – of an adaptation of Edward Albee’s scathing, dark, and vitriolic play – with a bold use of expletives. Real-life married couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor portray a dysfunctional couple’s abusive, sado-masochistic, deteriorating marriage – as a weary, tortured, disillusioned academic professor George and his frumpy, alcoholic, foul-mouthed, seductive and abrasive wife Martha. The two invite a young teacher Nick (George Segal) and his mousy wife Honey (Sandy Dennis) to their home for a bitter and relentless evening of brutal, acerbic, verbal games that increase the hateful intensity of their mismatched, love-hate relationship.

Learn more and watch the preview here.


Did your favorite make our list of the greatest films of 1966?

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