For many people, the 50th year is a personal milestone. It’s the golden year, an auspicious year where much celebrations and honors are held for having reached such a landmark.
With the turn of the year, it means a new set of films reach the golden mark, many of them classics that have we have grown up with – and some becoming classics over time since being released in 1969.
Whatever the reason for these films’ lasting legacies, it helps to look back at these movies that throw us back to our early days – all while still maintaining the acclaim and exemplar that proves its worth of being remembered as it reaches the golden age of 50.
Back in the 1960s, Western films was all the rage with classics like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, and For A Few Dollars More (all starring the legendary Clint Eastwood). But the number one actor when it came to Westerns was the one and only John Wayne. Wayne appeared in over 170 films, in a career that spanned three decades, but is most often remembered for his role as Roster Cogburn in 1969’s True Grit. Ironically enough, Wayne won his only Oscar playing Cogburn – which he reprised for the film’s sequel named after the character in 1975. A remake of True Grit was made in 2010 starring Jeff Bridges (who was also nominated for an Academy Award).
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the sixth film to feature the British spy known as James Bond, and was George Lazenby’s only outing as Bond (Sean Connery had just retired from the role, but reprised the spy one more time in Diamonds Are Forever). Gaining better reception over time, this is the only film where Bond marries the Bond girl, Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, played by Diana Rigg – who you may know as Lady Olenna Tyrell from Game of Thrones! Next year, Daniel Craig will be returning for Bond’s 25th film (almost sixty years after Bond’s first appearance on the big screen).
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Another Western film released 50 years ago was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Hollywood and IndyCar icon Paul Newman alongside a 33-year old Robert Redford as the titular robbing duo. The film brought Redford mainstream success, until he announced his retirement in 2018 after starring in The Old Man & The Gun. The movie also produced the hit song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, which younger audiences may recognize from Spider-Man 2.
What was it with the 60s and cowboys & westerns? And to think this was the same year decade went to space and walked on the moon. Midnight Cowboy holds the distinction of being the only X-rated film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and the first winner with gay-related themes. Starring a 31-year old Jon Voight and a 32-year old Dustin Hoffman (fresh from The Graduate in 1967), the film launched both actors’ careers and is remembered for Hoffman’s improvised iconic line, “I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!”