Every cohort has their own generation-defining movies. When making best-of classic movie lists, it can be too easy to get caught up in the artistry and early craftsmanship of the old black and white movies, many of which don’t resonate as much with Baby Boomers and people who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s. The movies that defined the currently retiring generation are significantly different, thematically and tonally, than the movies their parents grew up with.
Where their parents may have idolized James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, they have Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Hairy or drifter with no name was taking over from John Wayne’s many Western roles.
It’s not as if those older movies weren’t appreciated by all younger audiences at the time, but some of the following films were much more aligned with their younger sensibilities and tastes.