Lost Classics: Must-Watch Movies From the 1960s You Might Have Missed

By Sophia Maddox | April 16, 2024

Valley of the Dolls

In the 1960s, cinematic history was shaped by a few iconic films that became
cultural touchstones. However, amidst these towering achievements, there exists
a plethora of underappreciated cinematic works that have fallen into obscurity.
These overlooked gems, once celebrated and revered, now languish in the
shadows of their more widely recognized counterparts. This article endeavors to
undertake a scholarly examination of this neglected corner of film history, aiming
to shed light on the forgotten masterpieces of the 1960s and restore their rightful
place within the canon of cinematic achievement. Through careful analysis and
appreciation, we seek to revive interest in these overlooked classics and reaffirm
their significance in the cultural landscape.

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20th Century Fox

"Valley of the Dolls" is a melodramatic film directed by Mark Robson, loosely based on novelist Jacqueline Susann's experience as an actress from the late 1930s to the late 1950s. Set in the glamorous world of show
business, the film follows three women—Anne, Neely, and Jennifer—whose lives
intersect as they navigate fame, addiction, and heartbreak. As they struggle with the pressures of stardom and the seductive allure of pills ("dolls"), their friendships are tested, and they each face their own personal demons.

With its scandalous plot lines, colorful characters, and iconic performances, "Valley of the Dolls" became a cult classic, captivating audiences with its portrayal of the darker side of fame and fortune. Bonus points go out to readers who check out the absolutely unhinged pseudo-sequel penned by Roger Ebert (yes, that Roger Ebert) and directed by maestro of trash, Russ Meyer.

Barbarella

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Paramount Pictures

Starring Jane Fonda as the titular character, "Barbarella" is a cult science fiction film directed by Roger Vadim. Based on the French comic book series, the film follows the adventures of a futuristic astronaut tasked with finding a scientist in a distant galaxy. Barbarella encounters a variety of eccentric characters and bizarre situations as she navigates through psychedelic
landscapes.

Full of campy humor, saucy undertones, and avant-garde visuals, "Barbarella" became an emblem of 1960s counterculture. While initially polarizing, the film has since gained a dedicated following, celebrated for its kitschy charm and influential impact on sci-fi cinema.