Special Report

The Worst Movies of the 1960s

Many different genres of movies were popular in the 1960s, including historical epics, westerns, spy dramas, crime capers, and comedies. It was the decade that gave us the first James Bond movies — starring the recently deceased Sean Connery — and the spaghetti westerns of Clint Eastwood. 

Movies of the 60s also responded to political and social currents. There was “Dr. Strangeglove,” a dark comedy about nuclear war, and “Easy Rider,” about the hippie culture.

No particular genre dominates our list of the worst movies of the 1960s. There’s something for everybody — or perhaps nobody, as it’s a list of worsts — including action, adventure, comedy, and horror. There are a few surprises, however. 

There are two Bond movies, and that franchise is still going, although “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” starred George Lazenby, who was considered a poor choice compared to Sean Connery.

Even great directors can make bad movies, and Alfred Hitchcock has two on the list — “Torn Curtain” and “Topaz.” Roger Corman is a cult favorite but he also has two entries — “The Little Shop of Horrors” and “The Raven.” In fact “The Raven” is at the top of the list, despite the star power of Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff. For contrast, you might want to check out the 50 best movies of all time

Click here to see the worst movies of the 1960s.

To determine the 25 worst movies of the 1960s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Rotten Tomatoes. We created an index based on the average critic rating from Rotten Tomatoes, the average audience rating from Rotten Tomatoes, and the average user rating from IMDb. We only considered feature films with at least 5,000 Rotten Tomatoes audience reviews, 10 Rotten Tomatoes critic reviews, and 10,000 IMDb user reviews. All data is for the most recent period available. Data was collected February 2021.

Source: Courtesy of Eve Productions

15. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
> Genre: Action, Comedy
> Director(s): Russ Meyer
> Starring: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Ray Barlow
> Box office gross: Not available

In this 1965 skin flick, re-released in 1995, three go-go dancers looking for adventure embark on a kidnapping and murder spree in the California desert. The movie was not a commercial or critical hit when it came out, but has since influenced filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino.

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

14. Hatari! (1962)
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
> Director(s): Howard Hawks
> Starring: John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Hardy Krüger, Red Buttons
> Box office gross: $14.0 million

A group of men played by stars like John Wayne and Red Buttons trap wild animals in Africa. A female photographer shows up and eventually turns them into good guys. Rotten Tomatoes critics assail its dumb romance and immature jokes and say it’s overlong.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Distribution Company

13. The Sword in the Stone (1963)
> Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
> Director(s): Wolfgang Reitherman, Clyde Geronimi, David Hand
> Starring: Rickie Sorensen, Sebastian Cabot, Karl Swenson, Junius Matthews
> Box office gross: $22.2 million

The Sword in the Stone is an animated retelling of the legend of Arthur, the sword Excalibur, and the wizard Merlin. Critics have said it suffers from weak animation, weak characters, and weak songs.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

12. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
> Director(s): Peter R. Hunt
> Starring: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Gabriele Ferzetti
> Box office gross: $22.8 million

James Bond battles the evil SPECTRE organization in the Swiss Alps. The villain Blofeld was played by Telly Savalas, who became famous in the next decade as the TV detective Kojak. It was George Lazenby’s first and last outing as Bond, so maybe he suffered in comparison with Sean Connery. Critics said it was formulaic and boring but had a good ski chase.

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

11. You Only Live Twice (1967)
> Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
> Director(s): Lewis Gilbert
> Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsurô Tanba
> Box office gross: $43.1 million

James Bond goes to Japan to investigate the disappearance of spacecraft belonging to the United States and the Soviet Union, which could trigger a war. Rotten Tomatoes critics say it’s messy and implausible, and the plot elements have been used so much the original looks like a copy.

Source: Courtesy of The Filmgroup

10. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
> Genre: Comedy, Horror
> Director(s): Roger Corman
> Starring: Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller
> Box office gross: $1.4 million

A young man who works in a flower shop accidentally breeds a carnivorous plant and has to commit murder to keep it fed. The movie became something of a cult classic; it was re-made in 1986 and yet another version may be in the works starring Scarlett Johansson.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

9. Coogan’s Bluff (1968)
> Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
> Director(s): Don Siegel
> Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee J. Cobb, Susan Clark, Tisha Sterling
> Box office gross: Not available

An Arizona sheriff played by Clint Eastwood has to escort an escape fugitive back from New York City. The critics liked the movie but the audience on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t, saying it’s a sexist, dated, offensive “time capsule.”

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

8. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
> Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
> Director(s): Ken Hughes
> Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Benny Hill
> Box office gross: $7.5 million

An eccentric inventor played by Dick Van Dyke transforms an old racing car into a flying machine and takes his kids on an adventure to save their grandfather. It has some negative audience comments on Rotten Tomatoes, including “bizarre and confusing breaks from the story and reality” and “boring.”

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Distribution Company

7. The Love Bug (1968)
> Genre: Comedy, Family, Sport
> Director(s): Robert Stevenson
> Starring: Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson, Buddy Hackett
> Box office gross: $5.1 million

“The Love Bug” is a Volkswagen Beetle that has a personality and mind of its own. The reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes have minds of their own about this movie, too, describing it as childish, insipid, and sappy.

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Source: Courtesy of Lopert Pictures Corporation

6. Tom Jones (1963)
> Genre: Adventure, Comedy, History
> Director(s): Tony Richardson
> Starring: Albert Finney, Susannah York, George Devine, Rachel Kempson
> Box office gross: $37.6 million

This is the story of an adopted boy who can’t win the girl of his dreams because of his status, so he goes on adventures instead. The movie suffers from poor production quality with no amusement or joy, according to comments on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

5. Barbarella (1968)
> Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
> Director(s): Roger Vadim
> Starring: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O’Shea
> Box office gross: Not available

Barbarella, a scantily clad futuristic astronaut played by Jane Fonda, is sent to find scientist Durand Durand, who has created a weapon that could destroy humanity. Critics described it as “unevenly paced and thoroughly cheesy.”

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

4. Torn Curtain (1966)
> Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
> Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Lila Kedrova, Hansjörg Felmy
> Box office gross: Not available

This political thriller stars Paul Newman and Julie Andrews — and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock — but still it did not manage to thrill its critics or viewers, who described it as “more redolent of mothballs than mystery.”

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

3. The Nutty Professor (1963)
> Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
> Director(s): Jerry Lewis
> Starring: Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman
> Box office gross: $7.6 million

Jerry Lewis plays an awkward chemistry professor who concocts a potion that transforms him into a handsome, confidant man. One critic called it “a waste of talent, a waste of superb color photography and a waste of time.”

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

2. Topaz (1969)
> Genre: Drama, Thriller
> Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin, John Vernon, Karin Dor
> Box office gross: $8.4 million

This is the second Hitchcock movie on our list — and it is also another Cold War spy thriller, this time involving a high-ranking Russian official who defects to the United States. Time magazine wrote, “At 70, Hitchcock seems suddenly to have forgotten his own recipe.”

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Source: Courtesy of American International Pictures

1. The Raven (1963)
> Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
> Director(s): Roger Corman
> Starring: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Hazel Court
> Box office gross: Not available

In this movie a magician who has been turned into a raven seeks help from a former sorcerer. It may not sound like much of a plot, but “The Raven” was directed by cult favorite Roger Corman and starred Vincent Price, who was in lots of horror movies, and Boris Karloff, who was in the Frankenstein movies.

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