Entertainment

The Best Movies of 1961  

Ranker Film
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2.1k votes 159 voters 5.8k views 112 items

List of the best movies of 1961, with movie trailers when available. 1961 saw the debut of many historic actors, including Gene Hackman and Joe Pecsi. These top movies of 1961 are listed by popularity, so the movies with the most votes are at the top. This list consists of all different movie genres - from Breakfast at Tiffany's to Judgment at Nuremberg - but each film was released in 1961. You can filter this list of films that came out in 1961 for various bits of information, such as who directed the movie and what genre it is. Think the best 1961 movie isn't as high as it should be? Vote up your favorite so it will rise to the top.

Examples of movies on this list include West Side Story and Babes in Toyland.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best movies from 1961?" and "What are the most popular movies of 1961?"

1961 was a great year for movies, since a lot of classic films were released in 1961. This is a crowd sourced list that has been voted on by many people, so these top films of 1961 aren't just one persons opinion.

list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott
The Hustler is a 1961 American drama film directed by Robert Rossen from the Walter Tevis's 1959 novel of the same name Rossen and Sidney Carroll adapted for the screen. It tells the story of ...more
2
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Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin
West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn ...more
3
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Judy Garland, William Shatner, Marlene Dietrich
Judgment at Nuremberg is a 1961 American drama film dealing with the Holocaust and with the post-WWII geo-political complexity of the Nuremberg Trials. The picture was written by Abby Mann and ...more
4
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Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn
The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 British-American action/adventure film directed by J. Lee Thompson. The screenplay by producer Carl Foreman was based on Alistair MacLean's 1957 novel The Guns of ...more
5
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Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle
Splendor in the Grass is a 1961 Technicolor romantic drama film that tells a story of sexual repression, love, and heartbreak, from which the character Deanie suffers. Written by William Inge, ...more
6
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Rod Taylor, Paul Frees, J. Pat O'Malley
One Hundred and One Dalmatians, often written 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and adapted from Dodie Smith's 1956 novel of the same ...more
7
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Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Eli Wallach
The Misfits is a 1961 American drama film with a screenplay by Arthur Miller which was directed by John Huston. It stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach ...more
8
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Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Mel Blanc
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, and featuring Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney. The film ...more
9
The Innocents is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies of 1961
Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, Pamela Franklin
The Innocents is a 1961 British supernatural gothic horror film directed and produced by Jack Clayton, and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins. Based on the novella The Turn ...more
10
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Sidney Poitier, Louis Gossett, Jr.
A Raisin in the Sun is a 1961 drama film, starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Roy Glenn, and Louis Gossett, and adapted from the play of the same name by Lorraine ...more
11
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Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, Charles Victor
The Pit and the Pendulum is a 1961 horror film directed by Roger Corman, starring Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, and Luana Anders. The screenplay by Richard Matheson was based on ...more
12
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Maureen O'Hara, John Mills, Hayley Mills
The Parent Trap is a 1961 Walt Disney film. It stars Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith in a story about teenage twins on a quest to reunite their divorced parents. The screenplay by ...more
13
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John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Jack Elam
The Comancheros is a 1961 Western Deluxe CinemaScope color film directed by Michael Curtiz, based on a 1952 novel of the same name by Paul Wellman, and starring John Wayne and Stuart Whitman. ...more
14
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Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai
Yojimbo is a 1961 jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of a rōnin, portrayed by Toshiro Mifune, who arrives in a small town where competing lords vie for supremacy. The ...more
15
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Orson Welles, Rip Torn, Robert Ryan
King of Kings is a 1961 American biblical epic film made by Samuel Bronston Productions and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Nicholas Ray, the film is a dramatization of the story ...more
16
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Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti
La Notte is a 1961 Italian drama film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, and Monica Vitti. Filmed on location in Milan, the film is about a day ...more
17
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Fred MacMurray, Keenan Wynn, Paul Frees
The Absent-Minded Professor is a 1961 American film distributed by Walt Disney Productions based on the short story "A Situation of Gravity" by Samuel W. Taylor. The title character ...more
18
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Max von Sydow, Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand
Through a Glass Darkly is a 1961 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and produced by Allan Ekelund. The film is a three-act "chamber film," in which four family ...more
19
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Sophia Loren, Charlton Heston, Herbert Lom
El Cid is a 1961 historical epic film, a romanticized story of the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called "El Cid", who, in the 11th century, ...more
20
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Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner
The Children's Hour is a 1961 American drama film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by John Michael Hayes is based on the 1934 play of the same title by Lillian Hellman. The film stars ...more
21
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Takashi Shimura, Kyōko Kagawa, Akihiko Hirata
Mothra is a 1961 kaiju/tokusatsu film from Toho Studios, directed by genre regular Ishirō Honda with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is the genre film debut of screenwriter Shinichi ...more
22
Viridiana is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies of 1961
Fernando Rey, Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal
Viridiana is a 1961 Spanish-Mexican motion picture, directed by Luis Buñuel and produced by Mexican Gustavo Alatriste. It is loosely based on Halma, a novel by Benito Pérez ...more
23
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Barbara Eden, Joan Fontaine, Peter Lorre
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is an American science fiction film, produced and directed by Irwin Allen, released by 20th Century Fox in 1961. The story was written by Irwin Allen and Charles ...more
24
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Delphine Seyrig, Sacha Pitoëff, Giorgio Albertazzi
L'Année dernière à Marienbad is a 1961 French film directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet. The film is famous for its enigmatic narrative ...more
25
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Roman Polanski, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Władysław Kowalski
Samson is a 1961 film made by Academy Award-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda that uses art house aesthetics to tell a story about the Holocaust. Wajda's World War II film alludes to the Old ...more