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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 1968 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:

  • Gary Busey – Wild in the Streets
  • John Cleese – Interlude
  • Timothy DaltonThe Lion in Winter
  • Goldie Hawn – The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band
  • Barbara Hershey – With Six You Get Eggroll
  • Madeline Kahn – The Dove
  • Ali MacGraw – A Lovely Way to Die
  • Marsha Mason – Beyond the Law
  • Malcolm McDowell – if…
  • Chuck Norris – The Wrecking Crew
  • Talia Shire – The Wild Racers
  • Barbra StreisandFunny Girl
  • Jack Thompson – Personnel, or People?

 

Top-grossing Films

RankTitleStudioGross
12001: A Space OdysseyMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer$56,700,000
2Funny GirlColumbia Pictures$52,000,000
3The Love BugWalt Disney Productions$51,264,000
4The Odd CoupleParamount Pictures$44,527,234
5BullittWarner Bros.-Seven Arts$42,300,873
6Romeo and JulietParamount Pictures$38,901,218
7Oliver!Columbia Pictures$37,402,877
8Rosemary’s BabyParamount Pictures$33,395,426
9Planet of the Apes20th Century Fox$32,589,624
10Night of the Living DeadWalter Reade Organization$30,000,000
11Yours, Mine, and OursUnited Artists / Desilu$25,912,624
12The Lion in WinterAVCO Embassy$22,276,975
13The Green BeretsWarner Bros.-Seven Arts$21,707,027
14Blackbeard’s GhostWalt Disney Productions$21,540,050
15The FoxClaridge Pictures$19,146,711
16CharlyCinerama$19,125,000
17The Boston Strangler20th Century Fox$17,810,894
18CandyCinerama$16,408,286
19The Thomas Crown AffairUnited Artists$14,000,000
20The Detective20th Century Fox$13,000,000

 

Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: Oliver! — John Woolf, Producer

Best Director: Carol Reed — Oliver!

Best Actor: Cliff Robertson – Charly {“Charly Gordon”}

Best Actress: Tie Katharine HepburnThe Lion in Winter {“Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine”} and Barbra StreisandFunny Girl {“Fanny Brice”}

Best Supporting Actor: Jack AlbertsonThe Subject Was Roses {“John Cleary”}

Best Supporting Actress: Ruth GordonRosemary’s Baby {“Minnie Castevet”}

 

Among Those Who Died In 1968:

  • January 7 – Hugo Butler, 53, Canadian screenwriter, Edison, the Man, Lassie Come Home
  • January 18 – John Ridgely, 58, American actor, The Big Sleep, God Is My Co-Pilot
  • January 25 – Virginia Maskell, 31, British actress, Only Two Can Play, Virgin Island
  • February 4 – Eddie Baker, 70, American actor, Oranges and Lemons, Giant
  • February 7 – Nick Adams, 36, American actor, Pillow Talk, Rebel Without a Cause
  • February 13 – Mae Marsh, 73, American actress, The Birth of a Nation, 3 Godfathers
  • February 20 – Anthony Asquith, 65, British director, The V.I.P.s, The Winslow Boy
  • March 10 – Helen Walker, 47, American actress, Impact, Call Northside 777
  • March 16 – June Collyer, 63, American actress, Hangman’s House, A Face in the Fog
  • March 18 – Harry Kurnitz, 60, American screenwriter, Witness for the Prosecution, How to Steal a Million
  • March 20 – Carl Theodor Dreyer, 79, Danish director, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Gertrud
  • March 24 – Alice Guy-Blaché, 94, pioneer French/American filmmaker, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Great Adventure
  • March 30 – Bobby Driscoll, 31, American actor, Peter Pan, Treasure Island
  • April 5 – Lois Andrews, 44, American actress, Dixie Dugan, The Desert Hawk
  • April 6 – Keith Pyott, 66, English actor, Village of the Damned
  • April 16 – Fay Bainter, 74, American actress, Woman of the Year, The Children’s Hour
  • April 24 – Tommy Noonan, 46, American actor, A Star is Born, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • May 5 – Albert Dekker, 62, American actor, The Wild Bunch, Kiss Me Deadly
  • May 9
  • May 10 – Scotty Beckett, 38, American actor, My Favorite Wife, The Jolson Story
  • May 21 – Doris Lloyd, 71, British actress, Disraeli, Kind Lady
  • May 25 – Charles K. Feldman, 64, American producer, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Seven Year Itch
  • May 26 – Joseph MacDonald, 62, Mexico-born American cinematographer, My Darling Clementine, The Young Lions
  • June 4 – Dorothy Gish, 70, American actress, The Cardinal, Orphans of the Storm
  • June 7 – Dan Duryea, 61, American actor, Winchester ’73, Scarlet Street
  • June 8 – Patricia Jessel, 47, British actress, The City of the Dead, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • June 24 – Tony Hancock, 44, British comedian, Call Me Genius, The Punch and Judy Man
  • July 1 – Virginia Weidler, 41, American actress, The Philadelphia Story, The Women
  • July 12 – Antonio Pietrangeli, 49, Italian director, It Happened in Rome, The Magnificent Cuckold
  • July 27 – Lilian Harvey, 62, British actress and singer, Waltz of Love, Let’s Live Tonight
  • July 30 – Alexander Hall, 74, American director, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Little Miss Marker
  • August 23 – Hunt Stromberg, 74, American producer, The Thin Man, The Great Ziegfeld
  • August 26 – Kay Francis, 63, American actress, Charley’s Aunt, Little Men
  • August 30 – William Talman, 53, American actor, The Hitch-Hiker, Crashout
  • August 31 – Dennis O’Keefe, 60, American actor, T-Men, Raw Deal
  • September 3 – Isabel Withers, 72, American actress, Possessed, Lady of Burlesque
  • September 16 – Nedrick Young, 54, American screenwriter, Inherit the Wind, The Defiant Ones
  • September 18 – Franchot Tone, 63, American actor, The Mutiny on the Bounty, Advise & Consent
  • September 24 – Virginia Valli, 70, American actress, The Pleasure Garden, Evening Clothes
  • October 18 – Lee Tracy, 70, American actor, Dinner at Eight, The Best Man
  • October 29 – Pert Kelton, 61, American actress, The Music Man, Sing and Like It
  • October 30 – Ramon Novarro, 69, Mexican actor, Ben-Hur, Mata Hari
  • November 8 – Wendell Corey, 54, American actor, Rear Window, Harriet Craig
  • November 9 – Gerald Mohr, 54, American actor, Gilda, The Angry Red Planet
  • November 18 – Walter Wanger, 74, American producer, Cleopatra, I Want to Live!
  • November 25 – Upton Sinclair, 90, American author and producer, There Will Be Blood, The Gnome-Mobile
  • December 2 – Colin Kenny, 79, Irish actor, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood
  • December 4 – Archie Mayo, 77, American director, The Petrified Forest, A Night in Casablanca
  • December 5 – Fred Clark, 54, American actor, White Heat, Auntie Mame
  • December 12 – Tallulah Bankhead, 66, American actress, Lifeboat, Stage Door Canteen, Die! Die! My Darling
  • December 15 – Dorothy Abbott, 47, American actress, South Pacific, Red, Hot and Blue
  • December 20 – John Steinbeck, 66, American author and screenwriter, Viva Zapata!, The Red Pony

The Greatest Films of 1968

 

***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT FOR ALL***

 

Poster for the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey"

© − All right reserved.

2001: A Space Odyssey (UK)

D: Stanley Kubrick

Stars:  Keir Dullea, Douglas Rain, Gary Lockwood

Kubrick’s metaphoric, thought-provoking, grandiose, science-fiction landmark film, with space travel to Jupiter, the mysterious appearance of enigmatic monoliths, and the presence of the film’s major protagonist – an omniscient super-computer. A three-act, visionary, visually dazzling, wide-screen masterpiece, with mind-blowing special effects. The first monolith appears to prehistoric ape-men, awakening them to the use of tools as killing weapons. Further monoliths on the Moon and floating in space somewhere near Jupiter, seem to coax humankind to make evolutionary leaps and transcend bodily and technological limits. A team of robotic-like astronauts Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Poole (Gary Lockwood), during a voyage to Jupiter to investigate a radio transmission, are terrorized by the arrogant, humanistic, on-board computer HAL 9000 (voice of Douglas Rain). With the mission aborted and following a psychedelic light-show, Bowman is reborn within an embryonic divine life form that floats in space.

 Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Bullitt"

© 1968 Solar Productions − All right reserved.

Bullitt

D: Peter Yates

Stars:  Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset

Senator Walter Chalmers is aiming to take down mob boss Pete Ross with the help of testimony from the criminal’s hothead brother Johnny, who is in protective custody in San Francisco under the watch of police lieutenant Frank Bullitt. When a pair of mob hitmen enter the scene, Bullitt follows their trail through a maze of complications and double-crosses. This thriller includes one of the most famous car chases ever filmed.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Funny Girl"

© 1968 Columbia Pictures Corporation − All right reserved.

Funny Girl

D: William Wyler

Stars:  Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford

The life of comedienne Fannie Brice, from her early days in the Jewish slums of the Lower East Side, to the height of her career with the Ziegfeld Follies, including her marriage to and eventual divorce from her first husband, Nick Arnstein.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "The Lion in Winter"

© 1968 AVCO Embassy Pictures − All right reserved.

The Lion in Winter (UK)

D: Anthony Harvey

Stars:  Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins

An historical, dramatic tale of dysfunctional family intrigue set in the court of British King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) in 1183, from James Goldman’s sharply written screenplay (adapted from his own play). Ten years earlier, Henry II had imprisoned his wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn, who won her third of four acting Oscars), as punishment for helping precipitate a civil war against him. His three treacherous sons who are also vying for the British throne consist of the eldest, the legendary and fiery Prince Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins in his film debut), the quiet but dangerous middle son Prince Geoffrey (John Castle), and the youngest, the manipulative and thieving scoundrel Prince John (Nigel Terry).

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Night of the Living Dead"

© 1968 Laurel Group − All right reserved.

Night of the Living Dead

D: George Romero

One of the most important and influential horror films of all time – George Romero’s ultra-low budget debut film shot in grainy black-and-white with an unknown cast reinvented the genre. The film was actually improved by its crude “drawbacks,” since they lent a documentary feel and reality that made the film all the more horrific. The screenplay was taken from an unpublished short story Romero had written called Anubis, so-named after the Egyptian god of the dead. In the simple yet brutally relentless plot of claustrophobic horror, the ‘living dead’ (re-animated corpses) mysteriously rise from the grave for no known reason (though there are vague references to radiation from a fallen satellite), forcing a group of seven strangers to take refuge from the shuffling, hungry, flesh-eating zombies in an isolated Pennsylvania farmhouse. While initially considered drive-in schlock, the film gained in popularity and critical respect, and raised Romero to great heights as a horror filmmaker. He would go on to make a zombie trilogy with the successful Dawn of the Dead (1978) and the lesser Day of the Dead (1985) – and more.

Learn more and watch the preview here

 

Poster for the movie "Oliver!"

© 1968 Columbia Pictures Corporation − All right reserved.

Oliver! (UK)

D: Carol Reed

Stars:  Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed

Experience the high-spirited adventures of Oliver Twist in this Oscar®-winning musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale! Young Oliver (Mark Lester) is an orphan who escapes the cheerless life of the workhouse and takes to the streets of 19th-Century London. He’s immediately taken in by a band of street urchins, headed by the lovable villain, Fagin (Ron Moody), his fiendish henchman, Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed), and his loyal apprentice, The Artful Dodger (Jack Wild). Through his education in the fine points of pick-pocketing, Oliver makes away with an unexpected treasure… a home and a family of his own. Set to a heartfelt score that includes such favorites as “Consider Yourself,” “Where Is Love?” and “As Long As He Needs Me,” OLIVER! leads us on a journey in search of love, belonging and honor among thieves. Winner of six Academy Awards® (1968), including Best Picture and Best Score, OLIVER! will steal your heart! It is the only G rated film to win Best Picture.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Planet of the Apes"

© 1968 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation − All right reserved.

Planet of the Apes

D: Franklin Schaffner

A thought-provoking and engrossing science-fiction film classic – a loose adaptation (by formerly blacklisted Michael Wilson and Rod Serling) of the Pierre Boulle novel La Planète Des Singes (Monkey Planet), about four NASA astronauts, including Colonel ‘George’ Taylor (Charlton Heston), who have traveled for centuries in cyrogenic suspension. After a crash landing on an Earth-like planet, they found themselves stranded in a strange and remote place dominated by English-speaking simians who lived in a multi-layered civilization. The apes dominated society, and humans (who possessed few rights) had been reduced to subservient mute slaves and were even hunted as animals. In danger of being castrated or lobotomized, Taylor cried out the memorable: “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”. This Vietnam War, Cold War and Civil Rights era film made many subtle points about race, animal rights, the establishment, class, xenophobia and discrimination. The film was most noted for its twist ending This film was also a pioneer in modern movie marketing, spawning not only four sequels and a 2001 remake and two reboots (and two television series spinoffs), but also action figures and other similar merchandising, foreshadowing later merchandising for Star Wars (1977) and the Indiana Jones series.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Pretty Poison"

© 1968 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation − All right reserved.

Pretty Poison

D: Noel Black

Stars:  Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld, Beverly Garland

Easygoing but psychotic Dennis is released from jail, where he has served a sentence for his complicity in a suspicious death. Wandering through an Ozzie & Harriet-type small town, Dennis makes friends with a seemingly normal high schooler, Sue Ann. He lies to her about his imaginary career as a secret agent, and she is thrilled to the point of joining him in his further adventures. Their developing relationship becomes a lethal combination as Sue Ann uses Dennis’s undying devotion and his bragging about being a secret agent for her own evil ends.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "The Producers"

© 1967 Embassy Pictures Corporation − All right reserved.

The Producers

D: Mel Brooks

Stars:  Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn

Director Mel Brooks’ debut film is a zany, often brilliant spoof comedy about Broadway productions and the Nazis that some consider in bad taste. A desperate, bankrupt, wild-eyed, hustling Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) greedily pairs up with his timid and high-strung auditor/accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder in his first starring role). Together, they concoct an illegal ‘sure-fire’ scheme to make a million dollars from investors by producing the worst, most tasteless play ever made – a perverted Busby Berkeley romp offensively named Springtime For Hitler. Their plan backfires when the flop is actually a surprise hit. Although certain elements are now tame and have lost some comedic shock value since the late 60s, such as a cash-strapped Max being a gigolo for old ladies, the film is still daring, audacious and subversive. The lighthearted satire of Hitler, reminiscent of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940), with such lyrics as “Don’t be stupid, be a smarty — come and join the Nazi Party!” couldn’t easily be produced today. (The studio would never have released Brooks’ film without the intervention of Peter Sellers, who convinced executive producer Joseph E. Levine to release it, the only compromise being a change from the original title Springtime For Hitler to The Producers.)

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Rachel, Rachel"

© 1968 Kayos Productions − All right reserved.

Rachel, Rachel

D: Paul Newman

Stars:  Joanne Woodward, James Olson, Kate Harrington

New England schoolteacher Rachel Cameron’s life is small and safe. Too small and too safe for a warmhearted woman who wants to do something – anything – to keep from slipping into spinsterhood. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward joined their stellar talents on this powerfully human movie, he debuting as a director and she giving one of her hallmark screen performances.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "Rosemary's Baby"

© 1968 Paramount Pictures − All right reserved.

Rosemary’s Baby

Roman Polanski

Stars:  Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon

This was Polish director Roman Polanski’s first American feature film and his second, scary horror film – following his first disturbing film in English titled Repulsion (1965, UK) – which was also about a mentally-unstable, sexually-terrified woman (Catherine Deneuve) who had been left alone in her apartment. This film was adapted from Ira Levin’s best-seller – a convincing, creepy, psychological, Satanist horror/thriller is the story of a loving young New York City couple who are expecting their first child. Like most first-time mothers, Rosemary (Mia Farrow) experiences confusion and fear. Her husband (John Cassavetes), an ambitious but unsuccessful actor, makes a pact with the devil that promises to send his career skyward. Things become frightening as Rosemary begins to suspect her unborn baby isn’t safe around their strange neighbors.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Poster for the movie "The Thomas Crown Affair"

© 1968 The Mirisch Corporation − All right reserved.

The Thomas Crown Affair

D: Norman Jewison

Stars:  Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke

Bored millionaire Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) concocts and executes a brilliant scheme to rob a bank without having to do any of the work himself. When Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway), an investigator for the bank’s insurance company, takes an interest in Crown, the two begin a complicated cat-and-mouse game with a romantic undertone. In an attempt to decipher Anderson’s agenda, Crown devises another robbery like his first, wondering if he can get away with the same crime twice.

Learn more and watch the preview here.

 

Did your favorite make our list of the greatest films of 1968?

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