The 101 Most Influential Coming-of-Age Movies

By Ryan Uytdewilligen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6. THE 1960S: REBELLION

In tandem with the social rebellions of the 1960s, movies both reflected and in some ways shaped the calls for change and encouraged young people to make their own choices.

The 1960s was a time for revolution and a shift in morals. People of all color, gender, race, and sexual orientation stepped forward to demand equal rights, setting off violent riots and rising tension. The Cold War was brought to the forefront early on with the Cuban Missile Crisis; kids were taught to “duck and cover” underneath their school desks, as if that would protect them in case of a nuclear atack. After the assassination of President Kennedy, is was apparent no one and no lifestyle was safe. It was a strange world to grow up in. Teens had fought hard for their own voice; now they had support from adults looking for the same freedoms too.

In Hollywood, it seemed all the elderly men who created the studio system clenched down and refuse to pass the torch. As a result, Hollywood saw a drop in ticket sales like never before. Foreign films from the French New Wave and directors like Antonioni were big hits. The historical epics and dated romantic comedies were simply not pulling audiences in, most notably the giant financial disaster caused by Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra (1963) which ran over four hours and lost money despite being the highest grossing movie of the year.

Television was broadcasting in color by 1962, and British cinema seemed to be the most popular (garnering the majority of Oscars that decade). Hollywood found itself outdated and worried for its future.

Teen beach films were being made for a dime a dozen, whether it was the Gidget series, Tammy Tarleton, or the goofy, clean antics of Frankie and Annette. Elvis was at the height of his film career, and though he was popular, he didn’t quite have the power and critical raves other young actors previously did. These films

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