Best Drama Movies of 1961

1.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

6.3
7.7/10

Fortune hunter Holly Golightly finds herself captivated by aspiring writer Paul Varjak, who's moved into her building on a wealthy woman's dime. As romance blooms between Paul and Holly, Doc Golightly shows up on the scene, revealing Holly's past.

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam
Directed by: Blake Edwards
Release date: 1961-10-05
2.

Judgment at Nuremberg

5.9
8.2/10

In 1947, four German judges who served on the bench during the Nazi regime face a military tribunal to answer charges of crimes against humanity. Chief Justice Haywood hears evidence and testimony not only from lead defendant Ernst Janning and his defense attorney Hans Rolfe, but also from the widow of a Nazi general, an idealistic U.S. Army captain and reluctant witness Irene Wallner.

Starring: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Release date: 1961-12-01
3.

The Hustler

5.7
8.0/10

Fast Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary Minnesota Fats to a high-stakes match.

Starring: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Myron McCormick
Directed by: Robert Rossen
Release date: 1961-09-25
4.

The Children's Hour

5.6
7.8/10

A private school for young girls is scandalized when one spiteful student, Mary Tilford, accuses the two young women who run the school of having a lesbian relationship.

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter
Directed by: William Wyler
Release date: 1961-01-01
5.

The Guns of Navarone

5.5
7.5/10

A team of allied saboteurs are assigned an impossible mission: infiltrate an impregnable Nazi-held island and destroy the two enormous long-range field guns that prevent the rescue of 2,000 trapped British soldiers.

Starring: Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle
Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
Release date: 1961-04-27
6.

West Side Story

5.4
7.5/10

In the slums of the upper West Side of Manhattan, New York, a gang of Polish-American teenagers called the Jets compete with a rival gang of recently immigrated Puerto Ricans, the Sharks, to "own" the neighborhood streets. Tensions are high between the gangs but two kids, one from each rival gang, fall in love leading to tragedy.

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris
Directed by: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
Release date: 1961-10-18
7.

The Misfits

5.2
7.3/10

While filing for a divorce, beautiful ex-stripper Roslyn Taber ends up meeting aging cowboy-turned-gambler Gay Langland and former World War II aviator Guido Racanelli. The two men instantly become infatuated with Roslyn and, on a whim, the three decide to move into Guido's half-finished desert home together. When grizzled ex-rodeo rider Perce Howland arrives, the unlikely foursome strike up a business capturing wild horses.

Starring: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach
Directed by: John Huston
Release date: 1961-01-01
8.

El Cid

5.1
7.2/10

Epic film of the legendary Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz ("El Cid" to his followers), who, without compromising his strict sense of honour, still succeeds in taking the initiative and driving the Moors from Spain.

Starring: Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone, Geneviève Page, John Fraser
Directed by: Anthony Mann
Release date: 1961-10-24
9.

Splendor in the Grass

4.8
7.8/10

A fragile Kansas girl's unrequited and forbidden love for a handsome young man from the town's most powerful family drives her to heartbreak and madness.

Starring: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden
Directed by: Elia Kazan
Release date: 1961-10-10
10.

A Raisin in the Sun

4.1
8.0/10

Walter Lee Younger is a young man struggling with his station in life. Sharing a tiny apartment with his wife, son, sister and mother, he seems like an imprisoned man. Until, that is, the family gets an unexpected financial windfall...

Starring: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Louis Gossett Jr.
Directed by: Daniel Petrie
Release date: 1961-05-28
11.

Whistle Down the Wind

4.0
7.7/10
Whistle Down the Wind
When an injured wife murderer takes refuge on a remote Lancashire farm, the owner’s three children mistakenly believe him to be the Second Coming of Christ.
Starring: Hayley Mills, Bernard Lee, Alan Bates, Norman Bird, Diane Clare
Directed by: Bryan Forbes
Release date: 1961-07-25
12.

Pocketful of Miracles

4.0
7.2/10

Damon Runyon's fairytale, sweet and funny, is told by director Frank Capra. Boozy, brassy Apple Annie, a beggar with a basket of apples, is as much as part of downtown New York as old Broadway itself. Bootlegger Dave the Dude is a sucker for her apples --- he thinks they bring him luck. But Dave and girlfriend Queenie Martin need a lot more than luck when it turns out that Annie is in a jam and only they can help: Annie's daughter Louise, who has lived all her life in a Spanish convent, is coming to America with a Count and his son. The count's son wants to marry Louise, who thinks her mother is part of New York society. It's up to Dave and Queenie and their Runyonesque cronies to turn Annie into a lady and convince the Count and his son that they are hobnobbing with New York's elite.

Starring: Glenn Ford, Bette Davis, Hope Lange, Arthur O'Connell, Peter Falk
Directed by: Frank Capra
Release date: 1961-12-18
13.

Victim

4.0
7.7/10

In early 1960s London, barrister Melville Farr is on the path to success. With his practice winning cases and a loving marriage to his wife, Farr's career and personal life are nearly idyllic. However, when blackmailers link Farr to a young gay man, everything Farr has worked for is threatened. As it turns out, Farr is a closeted homosexual -- which is problematic, due to Britain's anti-sodomy laws. But instead of giving in, Farr decides to fight.

Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price, Nigel Stock, Peter McEnery
Directed by: Basil Dearden
Release date: 1961-08-01
14.

Summer and Smoke

3.9
7.0/10
Summer and Smoke
In a small Mississippi town in 1916, an eccentric spinster battles her romantic yearnings for the randy boy next door. A 1961 film, adapted from a Tennessee Williams play, starring Geraldine Page, Laurence Harvey, John McIntire, Una Merkel and Rita Moreno.
Starring: Laurence Harvey, Geraldine Page, Rita Moreno, John McIntire, Una Merkel
Directed by: Peter Glenville
Release date: 1961-11-16
15.

Blast of Silence

3.9
7.6/10

A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.

Starring: Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, Larry Tucker, Bill DePrato, Peter H. Clune
Directed by: Allen Baron
Release date: 1961-03-31
16.

Murder She Said

3.9
7.4/10

Miss Marple believes she’s seen a murder in a passing by train yet when the police find no evidence she decides to investigate it on her own. Her inquisitions lead her to a mountain top. The first of four films starring Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple that all achieved cult status.

Starring: Margaret Rutherford, Arthur Kennedy, Muriel Pavlow, James Robertson Justice, Thorley Walters
Directed by: George Pollock
Release date: 1961-01-01
17.

King of Kings

3.8
7.0/10

Who is Jesus, and why does he impact all he meets? He is respected and reviled, emulated and accused, beloved, betrayed, and finally crucified. Yet that terrible fate would not be the end of the story.

Starring: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhán McKenna, Hurd Hatfield, Viveca Lindfors, Robert Ryan
Directed by: Nicholas Ray
Release date: 1961-10-11
18.

A Taste of Honey

3.8
7.5/10

Focuses on a working class girl who is struggling to create a life for herself with her gay co-worker after becoming pregnant from a one-night stand with a black sailor.

Starring: Rita Tushingham, Murray Melvin, Paul Danquah, Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens
Directed by: Tony Richardson
Release date: 1961-09-01
19.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire

3.8
7.1/10

British reporters suspect an international cover-up of a global disaster in progress... and they're right. Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices and have caused the orbit of the Earth to alter, sending it hurtling towards the sun.

Starring: Janet Munro, Leo McKern, Edward Judd, Michael Goodliffe, Bernard Braden
Directed by: Val Guest
Release date: 1961-11-01
20.

Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog

3.8
7.3/10
Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog
In Scotland 1865, An old shepherd and his little Skye terrier go to Edinburgh. But when the shepherd dies of pneumonia, the dog remains faithful to his master, refuses to be adopted by anyone, and takes to sleeping on his master's grave in the Greyfriars kirkyard, despite a caretaker with a "no dogs" rule. And when Bobby is taken up for being unlicensed, it's up to the children of Edinburgh and the Lord Provost to decide what's to be done.
Starring: Donald Crisp, Laurence Naismith, Alex Mackenzie, Duncan Macrae, Andrew Cruickshank
Directed by: Don Chaffey
Release date: 1961-07-17

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