Many popular classic movies are marking their 50th year in 2012, an anniversary that often means deluxe collector’s editions and new Blu-ray transfers for the most noteworthy or notorious films. Celebrate the new year by making a resolution to see some of these classic movies from 1962. Here is a short list of Oscar winners, genre hits, and cult favorites to get you started on an anniversary tour of films from fifty years ago.
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) – David Lean’s sweeping epic earned seven Academy Awards out of ten nominations. An incredible cast includes Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Claude Rains, and Omar Sharif. This Best Picture winner still ranks among the greatest movies ever made.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) – Gregory Peck earned a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in this celebrated adaptation of the novel by Harper Lee. Nominated for eight Oscars, the movie also features Robert Duvall in a breakthrough performance as Boo Radley.
“The Music Man” (1962) – Nominated for six Oscars, this classic movie musical took home only one, but it has since enjoyed lasting popularity with fans of the genre. Robert Preston stars with Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, and a very young Ron Howard in the supporting roles.
“The Miracle Worker” (1962) – Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke made Hollywood history with this moving biopic about teacher Annie Sullivan and her pupil, Helen Keller. Both actresses earned Oscars for their roles, with Bancroft taking Best Actress and Duke winning for Best Supporting Actress.
More Oscar nominees from 1962 – “The Longest Day,” “Mutiny on the Bounty,” “Sweet Bird of Youth,” “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Days of Wine and Roses”
“Dr. No” (1962) – The James Bond franchise got its start in 1962 with Sean Connery’s appearance as the iconic spy. Although it didn’t earn any Oscar nominations, its cultural impact might make it the most important film of its year, as Ian Fleming’s enduring hero continues to enjoy big screen success half a century later.
“Cape Fear” (1962) – Gregory Peck plays a different Southern lawyer in this tense thriller, with Robert Mitchum making one of his most memorable screen appearances as the killer who stalks Peck and his family. Director Martin Scorsese remade the picture in 1991, but the original remains a powerful example of its genre.
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962) – This film’s enduring line, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” also fits its classic genre stars, John Wayne and James Stewart, as well as its director, the legendary John Ford. This late-career entry for all three icons remains a favorite among Western fans, and its stellar genre cast provides ample support for the outstanding stars.
“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) – Director Robert Aldrich’s hagsploitation masterpiece might also rank as an oddity, but its five Oscar nominations (with one win) showed how much it rose above the theater of cheap thrills to become a lasting hit with fans of psychological horror. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford star as aging sisters locked together by hatred and fate; Davis went on to star in Aldrich’s “Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964), but Crawford bolted from the project and was replaced with Olivia de Havilland.
More genre hits – “Lolita,” “How the West Was Won,” “Ride the High Country,” “Advise and Consent,” “Birdman of Alcatraz”
“Carnival of Souls” (1962) – Made on a shoestring budget by amateur Herk Harvey, this strange, atmospheric horror film has gained cult status among horror fans and devotees of the obscure.
“The Day of the Triffids” (1962) – Howard Keel is the unlikely star of this British sci-fi picture about alien invasion. Adapted from a novel by John Wyndham, the film has become a touchstone for period sci-fi, often alluded to in other, later films and television programs. A TV mini-series adaptation appeared in 2009.
“Tales of Terror” (1962) – Iconic horror maestro Roger Corman directs a cast of genre favorites in this darkly funny take on the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Basil Rathbone star in the three short segments that make up the film. Corman made his way through Poe in a series of films throughout the early 1960s and eventually became a legend for his campy, gory pictures.
More cult classics – “Gay Purr-ee,” “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” “Panic in the Year Zero!” “Premature Burial,” “Tower of London,” “Girls! Girls! Girls!”
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