I think the most fascinating era for film was the dawn of the 1960s to the fade out of the 1970s. I've only begun this era, but I'm already seeing how its effects have advanced film to where it is today. Last year, I finished up the 1950s and headed straight into 1960 without a thought. One year later, I'm about to finish up 1960 with an exciting new outlook.
I haven't really found many stand-out American films that year, but those I did find didn't really seem to gain recognition until years later. Most of my favorites are from foreign lands. The most prominent of these is Breathless, the film that made the world notice the French New Wave. Breathless is so brazen that it requires repeat viewings. It's like nothing ever made before. I watched it on DVD and then, months later, on the big screen in New York City (where many saw it for the very first time 50 years earlier). Other foreign films that stood out to me were Hiroshima, Mon Amour, L'Avventura, Le Trou, Kapo, Never on Sunday, and The Virgin Spring.
Above all, however, the one 1960 film that ranks as my favorite does happen to be American; Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho. The film has been hailed and praised by many for years now, but as I watched it alongside other titles from that year, I couldn't help but notice how it stands so tall above the rest. Beautifully shot in creepy black and white, Psycho has so many memorable scenes that mesmerize and terrorize. Hitchcock is my favorite film director and he really knew how to push the envelope in a way that thoroughly entertained an audience.
I'm going to be starting 1961 sometime next week. I'm pretty excited to see where the decade is heading in terms of movie styles and techniques. I feel that movies are about to mature and that international flavor will continue to dominate.