This list of cult classic movies of the 60s demonstrates that people were making more than just music and love during the decade. Here are some examples of cult classic movies from the 1960s.
No longer the decade Americans are obsessed with (that honor belongs to the 70s), the 1960s were a wild time for American culture. The beatniks had finally broken down and gotten jobs, but the hippies were taking over where their black-clad brethren left off. War and violence all over the world clashed with peaceful sentiments brewing at home. Assassinations and flights to the moon dominated the headlines. Some of the greatest music and film ever made happened during the 1960s. No one will hang that moniker on any of the films on this list.
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. try to stay relevant in this gangster movie. Co-starring Peter Falk, this is a wonderful piece of 60s nostalgia from a time just before American culture embraced the hippie aesthetic. Robin and the 7 Hoods is the best of the Rat Pack movies, but that isn't saying much. This is a cult classic because it captures the 60s before the 60s became, well...the 60s.
One of the great splatter films of the 1960s, Two Thousand Maniacs! is a vision of the American South from a Yankee point of view. Directed by splatter virtuoso Herschell Gordon Lewis, Two Thousand Maniacs! is the quintessential drive-in theater flick, full of violence and blood but short on substance. You could enjoy this movie while enjoying your date and not miss much of either. Inspired by 40s musical Brigadoon, Two Thousand Maniacs! tells the story of a Southern town intent on torturing and killing Yankees as restitution for the Civil War. Violent deaths shown in the film include a man ripped apart by horses, a woman smashed by a boulder, and a Yankee rolled downhill in a barrel lined with nails.
Gratuitous violence and sex? Check. Campy, poorly-written script? Check. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is not only the movie with the coolest name, it is also the perfect example of a 60s exploitation film. There's not much plot here--when has a cult classic movie ever needed a plot?--but there is plenty of violence and strangeness. Filmed in the desert, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! would later influence the ultra-violent exploitation movies Natural-Born Killers and Pulp Fiction.
Easily the weirdest movie on this list, Incubus is the only feature film ever shot and recorded in Esperanto, the invented language that was supposed to bring the world together. Starring a young William Shatner, this movie would be forgettable if not for the awful acting, strange language (requiring subtitles for all but the seventeen people that ever studied Esperanto), and accidentally surreal mood. William Shatner appeared in Incubus just before he started work on the series that would make him a star--the original Star Trek. Incubus is also an early project of cinematographer Conrad Hall, who would later win Academy Awards for his camera work.
A cult classic movie about "Swinging London," Georgy Girl is another cult classic with a connection to the Oscars. The theme song for Georgy Girl was a huge hit in the UK and Australia, and was nominated for an Oscar in America. The movie itself is nothing to write home about, unless you're really into Mod culture or British film. The movie made lots of money in the box office, but quickly faded from view and is difficult to find these days, partially because a musical based on the movie sank like a stone in London's West End and on Broadway.
Michael Caine stars as Alfie in this film adaptation of a popular novel and stage play. What's unique about Alfie is the constant breaking of the fourth wall by Caine's character, an attribute common in novels and plays but not used much in films. This is a cult classic because, like other movies on this list, it was initially fairly popular but quickly fell off the cultural radar. Pay attention to the credits: there are no opening credits, a rare occurrence in 1966, and the closing credits are little more than photographs and of the cast and crew.
Roman Polanski made this comedy-horror movie, starring his future wife (and future Manson victim) Sharon Tate. The Fearless Vampire Killers is intentionally campy, a common feature among cult classic movies. This film represents Polanski's first massive budget, and he used to great effect, hiring some of the finest British film artists of the time.
This satire of English public school life caused much controversy thanks to its depiction of a violent rebellion in a school setting. Shot during actual school violence and revolts in France, If... contains great counter cultural lines such as the famous: "There's no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts." Considered by many critics to be one of the greatest British movies of all time, If... takes its place on this list of classic 60s cult movies because it got an "X" rating in the UK at the time of its release and therefore wasn't seen by many people.
Smoke and Flesh is one of the first films to show two controversial things in a positive light: pot smoking and interracial sex. Smoke and Flesh is sort of the stoner counter-argument to movies like Reefer Madness, purporting to show the positive side of responsible marijuana use. Smoke and Flesh is a pseudo-documentary, showing the ins and outs of a stoner party, focusing here and there on different stories but never really following an over-arching narrative.
This is only a tiny sampling of the 60s cult cinema that's worshipped by cult movie fans. You might also be interested in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, and The Wild Bunch. That's just a tiny list of 60s cult movies that you can easily find on DVD now.