1965 Movies

Explore the best films of 1965 without getting lost in the shuffle. Our 1965 Plex database is your organized, easy-to-navigate hub for the best 1965 film releases. It serves as a single point of reference for a year that greatly contributed to cinematic history.
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The Best Movies of 1965


Directed by Roman Polanski, Repulsion showcases Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, and John Fraser in lead roles. The film delves into the psyche of a woman averse to sexual relationships, leading her to depression and horrific visions of rape and violence. The movie has become a cornerstone in the horror genre for its remarkable technical aspects. Particularly noteworthy is the cinematography, which aids in building a suspenseful atmosphere filled with paranoia. Additionally, the film received accolades for its sound design and Catherine Deneuve's performance, which captures the fragility and complexity of the lead character. By focusing on the struggles of a woman navigating her mental anguish, Repulsion serves as a significant milestone in the genre of psychological horror.

The Sound of Music

Robert Wise's The Sound of Music is a compelling narrative set in 1930s Austria. Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Eleanor Parker, the film tells the story of a novice dispatched by her convent to serve as governess for seven children of a widowed naval officer. With five Academy Awards to its credit, including Best Picture, the film received both critical acclaim and commercial success. The storyline, character development, and musical parts work in harmony, creating an enduring masterpiece cherished by viewers of all age groups. The film sets a high standard for the musical drama genre, exhibiting a perfect blend of storytelling and musical composition.

Bunny Lake Is Missing

Directed by Otto Preminger, Bunny Lake Is Missing stars Carol Lynley, Laurence Olivier, and Keir Dullea. The central story follows a woman in a desperate search for her young daughter, only to find no trace or evidence of the child's existence. Despite mixed reviews upon its release, the movie has subsequently earned a cult following. One of the standout aspects is Carol Lynley's unforgettable performance, capturing the desperation and urgency of a mother on the verge of losing everything. While not as commercially successful as other films of its time, Bunny Lake Is Missing has grown in stature over time and is now considered a hidden gem within Otto Preminger's extensive filmography.


Directed by Edward Dmytryk, Mirage stars Gregory Peck, Diane Baker, and Walter Matthau. It presents the story of an accountant who mysteriously loses his memory, coinciding with his boss's suicide. Pursued by violent individuals working for an enigmatic entity known as "The Major," the protagonist grapples with confusion and danger. Initially met with a mixed critical reception, the film has earned a more appreciative audience over time. Its direction and style are reminiscent of works by Hitchcock, adding an element of suspense that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. The film's later cult following indicates its enduring appeal and complexity.

King Rat

King Rat, directed by Bryan Forbes, stars George Segal, Tom Courtenay, and James Fox. Set in a Malaysian P.O.W. camp during WWII, the film follows Corporal King as he uses bribery and deception to establish de facto control over his environment. The movie received both critical and commercial success upon its release. Its representation of the complexities of wartime conduct, combined with stellar acting, has solidified its position as a staple of the war film genre. The movie pulls no punches in depicting the harsh realities of war and the morally ambiguous choices people often make in extreme situations.


Salto, helmed by Tadeusz Konwicki, features Zbigniew Cybulski, Irena Kwiatkowska, and Halina Kowalska in key roles. The story centers around a man who disembarks from a train near a small town he claims to have visited before. His arrival serves as a catalyst, unearthing the hidden beliefs and emotions of the town's inhabitants. Celebrated as a seminal work of Polish cinema, Salto received praise for its surrealistic style and underlying political messages. The movie offers a distinctive lens through which to view societal norms and provokes thought about human behavior.

For a Few Dollars More

For a Few Dollars More is a western film directed by Sergio Leone featuring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volontè. This movie is about two bounty hunters who, despite having the same goal, decide to join forces to capture a fugitive Mexican criminal. Gaining both commercial and critical acclaim upon its release, the movie has been recognized for its standout performances, particularly those of Eastwood and Van Cleef. Equally significant is the film's unforgettable musical score, which has contributed to its lasting influence in the Western genre.

The Return of Ringo

Another spaghetti western worth mentioning is The Return of Ringo, directed by Duccio Tessari. Starring Giuliano Gemma, Fernando Sancho, and Lorella De Luca, the film follows a Union Officer returning home, only to find it overtaken by Mexican bandits. To reclaim his life and check on his wife's fidelity, he infiltrates the gang. The movie found commercial success upon its release and is known for the high-octane action sequences and Gemma's convincing performance, adding another feather in the cap of classic westerns.

The Shop on Main Street

Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos directed The Shop on Main Street, a drama featuring Ida Kamińska, Jozef Kroner, and Hana Slivková. Set in the Fascist Slovak State, the plot is centered around a carpenter who is designated the "Aryan controller" of a Jewish widow's store. Not only did the film succeed both critically and commercially, but it also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Its powerful narrative on the Holocaust and strong performances have secured its place as a poignant classic in Czechoslovak cinema.

A Patch of Blue

Lastly, A Patch of Blue, directed by Guy Green, stars Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, and Elizabeth Hartman. This drama film delves into the unlikely friendship between an educated black man and an illiterate, blind, white young woman. Created during the civil rights movement, the film touches on significant issues such as race, disability, and the challenges of their friendship in a segregated society. The film was well-received and commercially successful, securing five Academy Award nominations, including one for Hartman's debut role. Its sensitive approach to issues that were divisive during its time has made it a significant film that still resonates with audiences.

1965 Movies & Industry Highlights

Notable Releases and Box Office Achievements

First on our list is The Sound of Music, produced by 20th Century Fox. This musical not only led the U.S. box office but also garnered five Academy Awards. With domestic rentals of $72,000,000, it clearly resonated with audiences. Second on the list is Doctor Zhivago, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with a domestic rental income of $43,000,000. It, too, left an impression that went beyond U.S. borders. Other films in the top ten in North America included Thunderball, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, and The Great Race, among others.

Unique Events of 1965

  1. A Blow to Religious Epics: Released on February 15th, George Stevens' The Greatest Story Ever Told did not meet expectations and resulted in a decline in religious epics for a long time. The film has regained some recognition for its visuals and the debut of Max von Sydow in an American film.
  2. Rise of The Sound of Music: The Rodgers and Hammerstein adaptation came out on March 2nd and quickly eclipsed Gone with the Wind as the highest-earning film at that time. It helped 20th Century Fox recover from financial difficulties stemming from Cleopatra's high production costs.
  3. Mixed Reception for The Great Race: Premiering on July 1st, Blake Edwards's comedy received a lukewarm reception but has since earned praise for Edwards' direction and Henry Mancini's music.
  4. Loss of Silent Film Heritage: A fire at M.G.M. studios on August 10th destroyed irreplaceable copies of hundreds of archived silent films, marking a tragic loss for film history.
  5. Enduring Impact of Doctor Zhivago: Premiering on December 22nd, this film also became a significant hit. Praised for its narrative and themes, it became one of the most successful M.G.M. films and was included in lists of top films by the American Film Institute.

Lasting Impact

Films from 1965 like The Sound of Music and Doctor Zhivago continue to be relevant, often cited for their storytelling, themes, and artistic achievements. These movies not only set records but also raised the standard of film production.