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George Clooney's 100 favourite movies from 1964-1976


1964 was the year that Bob Dylan sang that the times were a-changing, and according to George Clooney that boom of liberation produced cinema’s true golden age. “That era [1964 to 1976] was a reflection of the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the sexual revolution, the drug counterculture,” he told Parade Magazine.  All those things were exploding at the same time. And these films were reflections of it. Movies are really good when they do that. They give us a sense of what was going on in our psyche.”

It was also a time when money was in culture and not commercialism. In a reverse of the current situation, amid the artistic explosion of the golden era, you had to graduate from commercially inclined small-budget independents if you wanted the chance to be a freewheeling auteur with a bottomless pit of cash making art. As Roger Corman, the man dubbed ‘The Pope of Pop Cinema’ used to tell his up-and-coming directors, “If you do a good job on this movie, you’ll never have to work for me again.”

This gave a brilliant run of filmmakers a chance to get going in the industry and allowed them to flourish as individuals thereafter. “There were great filmmakers—Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese—you go down the list of these insanely talented filmmakers all working at the top of their game and kind of competing with each other,” Clooney opines. “[Alan] Pakula, Sidney Lumet—I mean, you can just keep going down the list of these guys. And they were all doing really interesting films.”

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In Clooney’s esteemed view, this resulted in “the greatest era in filmmaking by far,” and with the list he compiled below, it’s hard to argue with him. The only inexplicable discrepancy you could pinpoint is that The Laykillers was released in 1955 yet somehow sneaks into proceedings. Aside from that, the beauty of the era is there to behold. 

Brimming with originality and diversity, it was an era where movies were clearly being made with a pure vision in mind and not a committee crafting within a stringent genre cycle. As emerging filmmaker Brian Petsos said when we recently spoke to him, “With streaming being what it is at this point, everything is so commoditised and so transactional; it’s really disappointing to me.”

The same couldn’t be said for the likes of Badlands and Klute within Clooney’s selection below which joyously defy genre. Nevertheless, they have proved profitable because of that very fact. As Clooney said himself, “It’s not about an opening weekend. It’s about a career, building a set of films you’re proud of. Period.”

George Clooney’s 100 favourite movies from 1964-1976:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Alfie (1966)
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
All The President’s Men (1976)
Alphaville (1965)
American Graffiti (1973)
The Bad News Bears (1976)
Badlands (1973)
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blow Up (1966)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)
Cabaret (1972)
The Candidate (1972)
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
Cat Ballou (1965)
Catch-22 (1970)
Chinatown (1974)
Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Conversation (1974)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Deliverance (1972)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Don’t Look Back (1967)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Easy Rider (1969)
The Exorcist (1973)
Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (1972)
Fail-Safe (1964)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
The French Connection (1971)
The Front (1976)
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Graduate (1967)
The Great Gatsby (1974)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Harold and Maude (1971)
The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
High Plains Drifter (1973)
The Hot Rock (1972)
I Am Cuba (1964)
In Cold Blood (1967)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Jaws (1975)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
Klute (1971)
The Ladykillers (1955)
The Last Detail (1973)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
The Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Lenny (1974)
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
Little Murders (1971)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
The Longest Yard (1974)
A Man and a Woman (1966)
Marathon Man (1976)
MASH (1970)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Mean Streets (1973)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Nashville (1975)
Network (1976)
The Odd Couple (1968)
The Omen (1976)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Paper Moon (1973)
The Parallax View (1974)
The Party (1968)
The Passenger (1975)
Patton (1970)
The Pawnbroker (1964)
The Producers (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Serpico (1973)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Shampoo (1975)
Sleeper (1973)
Smile (1975)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1975)
The Sting (1973)
Straw Dogs (1971)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Way We Were (1973)
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1968)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Z (1969)

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