My Top 5: Movies of 1963

Why do I start with 1963? Simple. It’s the year I was born.

I was curious to find out which cinematic gems came out in theatres at the same time I was having my own coming out party.

I obviously didn’t screen My Top 5 Movies of 1963 until some time later in my life, but these are the movies of this vintage I enjoy the most to this day. I hope you will too.

5. The Great Escape It’s been a while since I’ve seen this WWII prisoner of war movie, but there is one scene that will forever be engraved in my head : that of Steve McQueen jumping over the barbed wire fence with a “borrowed” German motorcycle. Plus, the casting is to die for : James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence and James Cobourn. A masterpiece.

4. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World I don’t think I’m being nostalgic when I say that “they sure don’t make them like they used to”. Try as I might, I cannot recall any recent (i.e. in the last few decades!) movies that are as madcap as this laugh-out-loud farce. And the cast is a veritable who’s who of the comedic world. Do yourself a favour and seek out this gem.

3. The Haunting This psychological horror story doesn’t rely on cheap special effects to generate a spine tingling atmosphere (unlike it’s awful 1999 remake). Instead, the suspense is created entirely by the stellar performances of the four protagonists that are brought together to Hill House to investigate the possible existence of ghosts. Directed by the masterful Robert Wise from a creepy novel by Shirley Jackson.

2. From Russia with Love No fancy gadgets, no over-the-top baddies, no throw-away opening sequence. Just a great spy movie with a wonderful performance by Robert Shaw as James Bond’s nemesis. At the end of Ian Fleming’s book, we are left with the impression that Bond is dying or dead. But I guess popular demand for more exciting stories nixed the author’s plan to kill off his creation.

1. Jason and the Argonauts Now that’s what I’m talking about! Gods, monsters, beautiful damsels in distress and epic fight scenes. What more could a fan of sword and sorcery movies demand? What’s that you say? You still want more fantasy goodness? Well, how about the amazing stop-motion capture magic of Ray Harryhausen! High adventure at it’s peak. Watch it!

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