50 best movies from 1968

Written by:
December 25, 2022
Leonard Freeman Production

50 best movies from 1968

The 1960s was a landmark decade for film, with 1968 being a host to some particular classics. Genres like the Western, historical epic, fantasy, and science fiction ruled the cineplexes, and with the "Hays Code" of moral guidelines being replaced by the now-standard MPAA ratings, film content became more experimental and riskier.

The film industry is a different landscape thanks to several movies from 1968. Utilizing data from IMDb, Stacker has compiled the fifty highest-rated films from 1968. Only films with more than 1,000 user ratings were eligible for this list. In the event of a tie, the film with the higher number of user votes wins.

Which are your favorites, and which ones do you still need to see? 


1 / 50
Universal Pictures

#50. The Shakiest Gun in the West

IMDb rating: 6.4

Director: Alan Rafkin

Runtime: 101 min.

Don Knotts plays an aspiring dentist in 1870 in this comedy-western film. Traveling to the frontier, the dentist's stagecoach is held up by armed bandits, and he's eventually given credit for several heroic acts he did not commit. "The Shakiest Gun in the West" is one of the earliest parody films, pre-dating Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," and is in fact a remake of the 1948 Bob Hope film, "The Paleface."

2 / 50
Arwin Productions

#49. With Six You Get Eggroll

IMDb rating: 6.4

Director: Howard Morris

Runtime: 95 min.

This lighthearted family-themed romantic comedy stars Doris Day in her final role as a widow with three sons who begins a romance and elopes with a widower (Brian Keith). Released the same year as "Yours, Mine and Ours," another film with a blended family premise, "With Six You Get Eggroll" was not as successful as its competitor. 

3 / 50
Paramount Pictures

#48. Villa Rides

IMDb rating: 6.5

Director: Buzz Kulik

Runtime: 125 min.

Actor Yul Brynner portrayed the real-life Mexican revolutionary figure Pancho Villa in the Western film "Villa Rides." Villa is joined by Lee Arnold (Robert Mitchum), a defecting Texas gunrunner, pursued by Rodolfo Fierro (Charles Bronson). The film was considered to be more Western than accurate history.

4 / 50
Arcola Pictures

#47. The Detective

IMDb rating: 6.5

Director: Gordon Douglas

Runtime: 114 min.

Frank Sinatra played detective Joe Leland in this hard-boiled crime film, an adaptation of the 1966 novel. Leland investigates a gruesome murder and sudden suicide, finding them to be connected. The book's sequel, "Nothing Lasts Forever," was adapted into 1988's "Die Hard."

5 / 50
Walt Disney Productions

#46. The Love Bug

IMDb rating: 6.5

Director: Robert Stevenson

Runtime: 108 min.

Disney introduced sentient, anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle Herbie in "The Love Bug." Herbie becomes a force to be reckoned with when teamed up with a racing driver (Dean Jones). The third highest-grossing film of the year, "The Love Bug" was followed by four theatrical sequels, the most recent being "Herbie: Fully Loaded" in 2005.

6 / 50
Universal Pictures

#45. Coogan's Bluff

IMDb rating: 6.5

Director: Don Siegel

Runtime: 93 min.

Clint Eastwood was the quintessential Western star of his time, continuing his streak in "Coogan's Bluff." In this film, a deputy sheriff from Arizona travels to New York City on the hunt for a fugitive. Director Don Siegel would team up with Eastwood for future projects, including "Dirty Harry."

7 / 50
Robert Wise Productions

#44. Star!

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: Robert Wise

Runtime: 176 min.

Director Robert Wise of "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music" enlisted the talents of Julie Andrews once more in "Star!" Andrews portrayed real-life actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, following most of her life events. This collaboration was significantly less famous than "The Sound of Music."

8 / 50
Universal Pictures

#43. Madigan

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: Don Siegel

Runtime: 101 min.

Police thriller "Madigan" starred Richard Widmark as detective Daniel Madigan, whose fervent attempts to catch a suspect are impacting his marriage. Henry Fonda portrays the police commissioner with marital troubles of his own. Director Don Siegel, known for making "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," made five films with Clint Eastwood after the success of "Madigan."

9 / 50

#42. 5 Card Stud

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: Henry Hathaway

Runtime: 103 min.

Dean Martin plays poker champion Van Morgan who races against a ticking clock when a game ends in disaster. Another player is accused by cheating and is hanged. One by one, other players are killed, with Morgan as the last man standing. Robert Mitchell plays a gun-wielding preacher, nearly getting into an accident on-set.

10 / 50
Twentieth Century Fox

#41. Bandolero!

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Runtime: 106 min.

James Stewart and Dean Martin co-star in this Western film, playing two brothers on the run from the law. Raquel Welch plays a hostage to the brothers, who later falls in love with one of her captors. "Bandolero!" was shot on the same set as 1960's "The Alamo." 

11 / 50
Universal Pictures

#40. Hellfighters

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Runtime: 121 min.

"Hellfighters" stars John Wayne as Chance Buckman, head of an Texas oil well firefighting unit. Buckman longs for his ex-wife, who left him over his dangerous profession. The film is loosely based on real-life oil well firefighter Red Adair, who served as technical advisor on set.

12 / 50
Raybert Productions

#39. Head

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: Bob Rafelson

Runtime: 86 min.

Jack Nicholson co-wrote (and made a cameo appearance in) "Head," a satirical musical starring rock band The Monkees. The film's plot is surreal and meandering—in fact, much of Nicholson's screenplay was reportedly written under the influence of LSD.

13 / 50
Filmways Pictures

#38. Ice Station Zebra

IMDb rating: 6.6

Director: John Sturges

Runtime: 148 min.

"Ice Station Zebra" was based on a 1963 espionage novel. The crew of the USS Tigerfish is sent to rescue the Ice Station Zebra's personnel, but find themselves embroiled in a plot involving the Soviets. Several of the plot points in the novel and film were based on real-life events. 

14 / 50
Connaught Productions

#37. Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell

IMDb rating: 6.8

Director: Melvin Frank

Runtime: 108 min.

Gina Lollobrigida plays the titular Mrs. Campbell, an Italian woman who has romantic encounters with three American men during World War II. Campbell is unsure which of the three men is the father of her daughter. The premise of "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" is also the plot for the hit musical "Mamma Mia."

15 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#36. Guns for San Sebastian

IMDb rating: 6.8

Director: Henri Verneuil

Runtime: 111 min.

An Army deserter (Anthony Quinn) being hunted by the Spanish military is given shelter by a priest (Sam Jaffe) in a village regularly attacked by the Yaqui tribe. Teclo (Charles Bronson) forms a dangerous alliance with the Yaqui. Unlike most spaghetti westerns at the time, "Guns for San Sebastian" was actually shot in Mexico, rather than Europe.

16 / 50
National General Production Inc.

#35. The Stalking Moon

IMDb rating: 6.8

Director: Robert Mulligan

Runtime: 109 min.

Gregory Peck of "To Kill a Mockingbird" plays retired Army scout Sam Varner who takes in a woman (Eva Marie Saint) and her son. This makes Varner the target of the boy's father, a dangerous and ruthless killer feared by all. This film marked another collaboration between Peck and director Robert Mulligan.

17 / 50
Walt Disney Productions

#34. Blackbeard's Ghost

IMDb rating: 6.8

Director: Robert Stevenson

Runtime: 106 min.

The new track coach for a local college arrives at Blackbeard's Inn, run by the alleged descendants of the pirate Blackbeard. Through a series of events, the coach ends up bound to the the pirate's ghost. This Disney film is based on the novel by Ben Stahl.

18 / 50
Wolper Pictures

#33. The Devil's Brigade

IMDb rating: 6.8

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Runtime: 130 min.

"The Devil's Brigade" is a dramatization of an American-Canadian commando unit, following the story of their first mission. The film was led by actor William Holden, portraying Colonel Robert T. Frederick, although the production of the film was affected by the actor's personal issues.

19 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#32. Dark of the Sun

IMDb rating: 6.9

Director: Jack Cardiff

Runtime: 100 min.

The war film "Dark of the Sun" follows a group of mercenaries who played a role in the 1960s Congo Civil War. The movie was based on a novel by Wilbur Smith, a fictional take on history. Critics blasted the film for its violence, but today, the film retains cult status, particularly for filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

20 / 50
Bristol Films

#31. The Scalphunters

IMDb rating: 6.9

Director: Sydney Pollack

Runtime: 102 min.

Burt Lancaster plays a trapper threatened by natives to give up his furs in exchange for a slave (Ossie Davis). The trapper and slave eventually befriend each other, with the slave offering to help the trapper get his furs back in exchange for his freedom. This was director Sydney Pollack's first attempt to make a Western, infusing political and social commentary in his own take on the genre.

21 / 50
Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

#30. Firecreek

IMDb rating: 6.9

Director: Vincent McEveety

Runtime: 104 min.

While James Stewart and Henry Fonda were close friends off-camera, "Firecreek" was one of the few projects the two collaborated on. Stewart plays a part-time sheriff keeping order in a town fearing gunmen. The film was thought to be a throwback to the 1952 film "High Noon," which had a similar premise.

22 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#29. Hot Millions

IMDb rating: 7.0

Director: Eric Till

Runtime: 106 min.

Starring Peter Ustinov, "Hot Millions" finds former convict Marcus Pendleton navigating a world run by computers. He impersonates a computer programmer at a corporation as part of a scam, eventually marrying a secretary (Maggie Smith). In a year with numerous Westerns and war films, this film was decidedly modern by comparison.

23 / 50
The Mirisch Corporation

#28. The Thomas Crown Affair

IMDb rating: 7.0

Director: Norman Jewison

Runtime: 102 min.

In "The Thomas Crown Affair," Steve McQueen stars as the titular character and Faye Dunaway plays the insurance investigator on his trail. The cat-and-mouse game eventually turns romantic. The film was remade in 1999, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, with a third remake starring Michael B. Jordan in the works as of 2016.

24 / 50
Leonard Freeman Production

#27. Hang 'Em High

IMDb rating: 7.0

Director: Ted Post

Runtime: 114 min.

Clint Eastwood stars in yet another Western film, this time as a man who survives a lynching and returns as a lawman. Meant to convey the dangers of being a U.S. Marshal during the time, the film depicts Judge Isaac Parker, who was known as the "Hanging Judge." "Hang 'Em High" was a massive box office success.

25 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#26. The Subject Was Roses

IMDb rating: 7.1

Director: Ulu Grosbard

Runtime: 107 min.

Martin Sheen plays a young man who has returned from World War II to find his parents (Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson) have drifted apart, with obstacles and infidelities revealed along the way. The film, based on a play, has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

26 / 50
Sol C. Siegel Productions

#25. No Way to Treat a Lady

IMDb rating: 7.1

Director: Jack Smight

Runtime: 108 min.

Detective Morris Brummell (George Segal) is on the hunt for Christopher Gill (Rod Steiger), a Broadway theater owner and serial killer who preys on older women. In the chase that ensues, Gill goes after Brummell's love interest (Lee Remick), despite being younger than his usual marks. A dark comedy thriller, "No Way to Treat a Lady" was adapted into an off-Broadway musical in 1987.

27 / 50
ABC Pictures

#24. Charly

IMDb rating: 7.1

Director: Ralph Nelson

Runtime: 103 min.

"Charly" is based on the short story "Flowers for Algernon." In both stories, a character undergoes a fictional procedure to increase his intelligence. Charly discovers the positive and negative effects of his newfound brain power. Cliff Robertson won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year, though with some controversy involving the "vulgar solicitation of votes."

28 / 50
Twentieth Century Fox

#23. The Boston Strangler

IMDb rating: 7.1

Director: Richard Fleischer

Runtime: 116 min.

Loosely based on the real-life story of the Boston Strangler, this film stars Tony Curtis as the titular killer, with Henry Fonda portraying the detective who got his confession. The movie shines on a spotlight on the mental state of Albert DeSalvo, and was generally well-regarded by critics, but some like Roger Ebert questioned its violent content.

29 / 50
Twentieth Century Fox

#22. Pretty Poison

IMDb rating: 7.2

Director: Noel Black

Runtime: 89 min.

Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld play an ex-convict Dennis Pitt and high school cheerleader Sue Ann, who commit various crimes together. Sue Ann is manipulated into going on "missions," which she enjoys. 

30 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#21. The Shoes of the Fisherman

IMDb rating: 7.2

Director: Michael Anderson

Runtime: 162 min.

Cold War-era film "The Shoes of the Fisherman" follows Ukrainian Archbishop Kiril Lakota after being freed from captivity in Siberia. He later becomes Pope, taking part in a crisis involving China. Despite being a relative box office disappointment, the film did receive nominations for Best Original Score and Best Art Direction at the Academy Awards.

31 / 50
Desilu Productions

#20. Yours, Mine and Ours

IMDb rating: 7.2

Director: Melville Shavelson

Runtime: 111 min.

This comedy about a blended family with twenty children was based on author Helen Beardsley's memoir. Lucille Ball portrays Beardsley, with Henry Fonda as husband Frank. The film was a hit in the box office and the Golden Globe Awards, eventually getting a remake in 2005 starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo.

32 / 50
Petersham Pictures

#19. Petulia

IMDb rating: 7.3

Director: Richard Lester

Runtime: 105 min.

Julie Christie portrays the titular character, a woman in an abusive marriage. Petulia eventually meets Dr. Archie Bollen (George C. Scott), a doctor going through a divorce, and an affair ensues. This film ended up being a strong influence on filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.

33 / 50
Produzioni Europee Associate (PEA)

#18. The Mercenary

IMDb rating: 7.3

Director: Sergio Corbucci

Runtime: 110 min.

Another entry in director Sergio Corbucci's long list of spaghetti Westerns, "The Mercenary" followed Franco Nero ("Django") as a greedy mercenary who becomes a part of a bigger mission, teaming up with a group of revolutionaries at the Mexico-United States border. The film was released in the United Kingdom under the title "A Professional Gun."

34 / 50
Selmur Productions

#17. Hell in the Pacific

IMDb rating: 7.3

Director: John Boorman

Runtime: 103 min.

Lee Marvin and Toshirō Mifune are the only two actors in "Hell in the Pacific," playing World War II soldiers stranded on an island. The two are initially hostile towards each other, but eventually team up in an attempt to escape. Despite the talents and popularity of both actors in their respective countries, the film was a financial failure.

35 / 50
Saticoy Productions

#16. Targets

IMDb rating: 7.4

Director: Peter Bogdanovich

Runtime: 90 min.

Boris Karloff plays a semi-autobiographical character, aging horror movie actor Byron Orlok, in "Targets." Vietnam War veteran Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) goes on a killing spree before the two plot lines eventually merge. The film has an overall rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

36 / 50
Apple Corp

#15. Yellow Submarine

IMDb rating: 7.4

Director: George Dunning

Runtime: 85 min.

This psychedelic animated film is based on the music of The Beatles, featuring animated versions of the band members. In the film, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band enlists the band's help to save Pepperland. Unlike most of their films, the Beatles themselves were not featured, and did not voice their own characters.

37 / 50
Kayos Productions

#14. Rachel, Rachel

IMDb rating: 7.5

Director: Paul Newman

Runtime: 101 min.

Paul Newman directed this drama, in which Joanne Woodward plays schoolteacher Rachel. Lonely and bored, Rachel experiences an exciting new life when a high-school classmate (James Olson) returns to the city. The film was thought to be slow-paced, but Woodward's performance made it a stand-out. 

38 / 50
Solar Productions

#13. Bullitt

IMDb rating: 7.5

Director: Peter Yates

Runtime: 114 min.

Lt. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) seeks justice against a criminal kingpin after a witness under his protection is killed. Bullitt's mission takes him through a deep criminal underworld. A car chase involving Bullitt's Mustang in the film became an iconic moment, referenced and parodied in films and television shows in the years to follow.

39 / 50
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#12. Funny Girl

IMDb rating: 7.6

Director: William Wyler

Runtime: 151 min.

Barbra Streisand made her film debut reprising her role from the Broadway musical. "Funny Girl" follows actress and singer Fanny Brice's career and tumultuous relationship with Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif), and won Streisand the Oscar for Best Actress.

40 / 50
The Mirisch Corporation

#11. The Party

IMDb rating: 7.6

Director: Blake Edwards

Runtime: 99 min.

"The Pink Panther" stars Peter Sellers as an Indian actor accidentally invited to a lavish Western party. A former Prime Minister of India was fond of one of the lines from the film: "In India, we don't think who we are, we know who we are!"

41 / 50
Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

#10. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

IMDb rating: 7.7

Director: Robert Ellis Miller

Runtime: 123 min.

Alan Arkin plays a man who can neither hear nor speak, who moves to be closer to a friend committed to an institution. There, he begins a friendship with a teenage girl (Sondra Locke). Both Arkin and Locke were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances, although neither won.

42 / 50
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#9. The Swimmer

IMDb rating: 7.7

Director: Frank Perry

Runtime: 95 min.

Burt Lancaster starred in this film adaptation of a John Cheever short story. The main character spends his day in a suburban town, attempting to swim in as many pools in the town as he can, and interacting with different people. The story was regarded as "un-filmable," but the adaptation proved otherwise. 

43 / 50
Walter Reade Organization

#8. Faces

IMDb rating: 7.7

Director: John Cassavetes

Runtime: 130 min.

Shot in black-and-white, "Faces" follows a couple (John Marley and Lynn Carlin) as their marriage deteriorates. John Cassavetes used handheld cameras, giving the film an intimate cinéma vérité style. The film was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress, and has influenced several modern filmmakers.

44 / 50
Paramount Pictures

#7. The Odd Couple

IMDb rating: 7.7

Director: Gene Saks

Runtime: 105 min.

Neil Simon adapted his play about two very different divorced men (Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) who decide to live together. Despite their clashes in personality, they form a bond. The play and film adaptation received its own ABC sitcom in 1970.

45 / 50
Gershwin-Kastner Productions

#6. Where Eagles Dare

IMDb rating: 7.7

Director: Brian G. Hutton

Runtime: 158 min.

Alistair MacLean simultaneously wrote the screenplay and novel for "Where Eagles Dare." Starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, and Mary Ure, the story follows an American raid on a German castle during WWII. The film is considered a classic, especially for fans and impressionists of Burton.

46 / 50
Image Ten,

#5. Night of the Living Dead

IMDb rating: 7.9

Director: George A. Romero

Runtime: 96 min.

The first in George A. Romero's "Living Dead" series centers around several people trapped in a farmhouse during a zombie outbreak. Their attempts to survive are thwarted by both the living dead and themselves. The film was significant for having an African-American lead actor, which was unusual at the time.

47 / 50
APJAC Productions

#4. Planet of the Apes

IMDb rating: 8.0

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner

Runtime: 112 min.

The classic sci-fi film stars Charlton Heston as an astronaut who finds himself on a planet ruled by intelligent apes. The film ends with the famous plot twist that the planet is a future version of Earth. The film inspired several sequels, a remake in 2001, and an acclaimed reboot trilogy starring Andy Serkis.

48 / 50
William Castle Productions

#3. Rosemary's Baby

IMDb rating: 8.0

Director: Roman Polanski

Runtime: 137 min.

Mia Farrow plays the titular Rosemary, a pregnant woman who suspects that a cult wants her baby for nefarious reasons. This psychological horror film contained themes controversial for the time—including religion, women's rights, and the occult—and inspired several other films to push the limits in this manner. 

49 / 50
Haworth Productions

#2. The Lion in Winter

IMDb rating: 8.1

Director: Anthony Harvey

Runtime: 134 min.

Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn star in this Oscar-winning adaptation of the Broadway play of the same name. O'Toole portrays King Henry II, and Hepburn plays his queen (one of several actors plotting against him). Hepburn won the Oscar for Best Actress, in a rare tie with Barbra Streisand for her performance in "Funny Girl."

50 / 50
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

IMDb rating: 8.3

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Runtime: 149 min.

Thought to be Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "2001: A Space Odyssey" was based on the novel of the same name and followed a space voyage hampered by nefarious AI, HAL 9000. The film features a selection of classical music and was able to provide accurate depictions of future technology, thanks to special effects. The film is thought to be one of the greatest of all-time, and inspired countless other sci-fi and art films.

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