Movies from the 1960s stand the test of time for a number of reasons. Filmmakers were emboldened to tell new stories in radical new ways. When the infamous Hays code went away in 1968, things really went wild. Yet even before then, plenty of films pushed boundaries, expanding what was acceptable to view on-screen. In particular, movies from the decade started getting violent. The next ten movies below are from the 1960s, and they're more violent than a lot of modern action films.
Not all of these are action movies, but they still have several scenes where red is running like a wild river. They also are not all Hollywood films, which explains how such violent content made it onto the screen before the restrictive Hays code disappeared. One also has to acknowledge the contemporary trend of the big-budget, PG-13 action blockbuster. These films feature plenty of gunplay and fisticuffs, but often shy away from blood, gore, and characters often bite the bullet off-screen.
Sam Peckinpah was an alcoholic with a penchant for firing live weapons on a set. As unhealthy as these behaviors sound, The Wild Bunch would not be the same without this rage and negativity.
The outlaw western tale is bookended by two of the most grizzly shootouts ever put to film. It's not just the blood that makes them so intense, though. The sequences are put together with lightning-fast edits that barely give the viewer time to process what they are seeing before the next image of carnage is thrown into their irises.
The real story behind these two legendary outlaws may not be exactly how it transpired in Arthur Pen's classic, but it did make for one fantastic caper.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty star as the titular bank robbers as they rampage their way across the United States, mowing down everyone who gets in their way, regardless of their innocence.
Critics met this French horror movie with bad reviews upon release in 1963. It was the director's first foray into frightening audiences, and people were surprised that such a renowned filmmaker would tackle what was then considered a lowly genre.
Over the years, however, it has gained a following. Modern audiences are more accustomed to the body horror on display and realize the genre's artistic merit.
Every trope modern zombies follow started with George Romero's seminal film. The director made Night of the Living Dead off a shoestring budget and ended up grossing more than ten million dollars. This was before a proper rating system was in place, and kids were able to purchase their own tickets and watch the film unattended.
Even by today's standards Night of the Living Dead is violent. Now just imagine how a ten year old in the late '60s felt while watching it. It also doesn't help that the film's plot is a steady progression of the protagonists failing and getting pushed further and further into a corner.
The Green Beret's political message is flawed in retrospect. The United State's prolonged involvement in the Vietnam War is generally considered to have been a mistake, but the movie is decidedly pro-war, which makes sense considering John Wayne's unwavering support for the conflict.
Regardless of one's views on the war, the film boils down a complicated conflict into a dumb action movie. Still, if one can look past the simplifying of a morbidly serious and dark chapter in American history and squint really hard, maybe they can enjoy it as a popcorn action flick.
This World War II spy thriller takes place entirely during a single infiltration mission. Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton's characters sneak into a fortress and then blast their way out once their covers are blown.
The last act of the movie is one thrilling set piece where the two protagonists mow down everyone in their way during their escape. Several moments make one wonder just how they were able to film such sequences with the methods available to filmmakers in the 1960s.
George Lazenby's sole turn as 007 turned the series from a spy thriller into an epic action masterpiece. The final assault on Blofeld's facility is a stunning sequence pulled off with masterful precision.
One particularly gruesome moment sees a henchman falling into a grinder, complete with his guts shooting out from the top of the vehicle, mixed in with the snow. It's a startlingly violent death for such an old film.
Akira Kurosawa films have a lot of violence, but it's hardly the reason he is so highly revered. The man had an unparalleled attention to detail, which helped transport viewers into entirely different worlds.
With that being said, Yojimbo still features plenty of intense sword duels that culminate in often-extreme violence, and a dog walking around with a human hand in its mouth.
Dark of the Sun was lambasted upon release for its violent content. What happens on-screen, though, is nothing compared to the true violence that took place during the Congolese conflict on which it is based.
At the time, the movie may have been considered too extreme, but because people's attitudes toward violence softened over time, the film has seen more recent praise. Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese, two of today's most well-known directors, have even said they're fans of it.
World War II movies from the Soviet Union are a whole different breed from their western counterparts. They're less patriotic and more mournful for the loss of life and destruction the conflict caused. It makes sense for this attitude to permeate films like 1985's Come and See and Andrei Tarkovsky's 1962 feature, Ivan's Childhood.
The titular Ivan is a recently orphaned prison camp escapee who insists on contributing to the war effort to avenge his family. It isn't brimming with action and explosions, but it makes it on the list for its grim imagery and use of brutally graphic stock footage.