Omar Sharif and Alec Guinness as the half-brothers in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago (1965)

My Top 20:

  1. Doctor Zhivago
  2. The Pawnbroker
  3. Repulsion
  4. The Collector
  5. Darling
  6. King Rat
  7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  8. Othello
  9. Thunderball
  10. Simon of the Desert
  11. A Thousand Clowns
  12. Major Dundee
  13. Kwaidan
  14. The Hill
  15. Viva Maria
  16. The Train
  17. Help
  18. The Ipcress File
  19. Red Desert
  20. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Only three films make it to **** and everything from 16 on is only ***.  It is one of the weakest years ever.

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Sound of Music
  • Best Director:  Robert Wise  (The Sound of Music)
  • Best Actor:  Lee Marvin  (Cat Ballou)
  • Best Actress:  Julie Christie  (Darling)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Martin Balsam  (A Thousand Clowns)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Shelley Winters  (A Patch of Blue)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Darling
  • Best Foreign Film:  The Shop on Main Street

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Sound of Music  /  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Director:  John Schlesinger  (Darling)
  • Best Actor:  Lee Marvin  (Cat Ballou)
  • Best Actress:  Julie Christie  (Darling)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Martin Balsam  (A Thousand Clowns)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Maggie Smith  (Othello)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Darling
  • Best Foreign Film:  Juliet of the Spirits

Martin Balsam is the weakest Consensus winner in Supporting Actor history.  By 1965, the BAFTAs and New York Film Critics still weren’t giving out supporting awards.  Harry Andrews, the winner of the National Board of Review (for The Agony and the Ecstasy and The Hill) wasn’t nominated for the Golden Globe or the Oscar.  The Globe winner (Oskar Werner for The Spy Who Came in From the Cold) wasn’t nominated for the Oscar and Balsam wasn’t nominated for the Globe.  In fact, the only person nominated for both was Frank Finlay for Othello and he lost both.

the luminous Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, U.S. release 1965)

Top 5 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg –  #248
  2. Repulsion –  #325
  3. Red Desert –  #358
  4. The Sound of Music –  #427
  5. Doctor Zhivago –  #476

Top 5 Films  (Consensus 1965 Best Picture Awards):

  1. The Sound of Music
  2. Doctor Zhivago (tied for first)
  3. Darling
  4. Ship of Fools
  5. A Thousand Clowns

Top 10 Films  (1965 Awards Points):

  1. Darling –  1163
  2. Doctor Zhivago –  944
  3. The Sound of Music –  854
  4. Ship of Fools –  651
  5. Cat Ballou –  490
  6. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold –  484
  7. A Patch of Blue –  372
  8. A Thousand Clowns –  351
  9. The Collector –  320
  10. The Ipcress File –  306

Top 5 Films  (Box Office Gross):

  1. The Sound of Music –  $163.21 mil
  2. Doctor Zhivago –  $111.72 mil
  3. Thunderball –  $63.60 mil
  4. Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines –  $31.11 mil
  5. That Darn Cat –  $28.06 mil

The Sound of Music and Doctor Zhivago become only the second and third films to pass the $100 million mark at the box office (the only other one being Gone with the Wind).

AFI Top 100 Films

  • Doctor Zhivago –  #39  (1998)
  • The Sound of Music –  #55  (1998)  /  #40  (2007)

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Maggie Smith as the tragic Desdemona in Othello (1965)


  • Best Picture:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Director:  David Lean  (Doctor Zhivago)
  • Best Actor:  Rod Steiger  (The Pawnbroker)
  • Best Actress:  Julie Christie  (Darling)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Tom Courteney  (Doctor Zhivago)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Maggie Smith  (Othello)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Doctor Zhivago (from the novel)
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Repulsion


  • Best Picture:  The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Best Director:  Jacques Demy  (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)
  • Best Actor:  Jason Robards  (A Thousand Clowns)
  • Best Actress:  Julie Andrews  (The Sound of Music)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Martin Balsam  (A Thousand Clowns)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Ruth Gordon  (Inside Daisy Clover)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  A Thousand Clowns (from the play)
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Director:  David Lean (Doctor Zhivago)
  • Best Actor:  Rod Steiger  (The Pawnbroker)
  • Best Actress:  Julie Christie  (Darling)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Tom Courteney  (Doctor Zhivago)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Maggie Smith  (Othello)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Doctor Zhivago (from the novel)
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Repulsion
  • Best Editing:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Cinematography:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Original Score:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Sound:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Art Direction:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Visual Effects:  Thunderball
  • Best Sound Editing:  Thunderball
  • Best Costume Design:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Makeup:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Original Song:  “Help”  (Help)
  • Best Foreign Film:  Red Beard

Lord Jim: Read the Joseph Conrad novel. Skip the Richard Brooks film.

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  Thunderball
  • Best Scene:  the underwater fight scene in Thunderball
  • Best Ending:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Best Line:  “I didn’t die.  Everything that I loved was taken away from me and I did not die.”  Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker
  • Best Ensemble:  Doctor Zhivago
  • Sexiest Performance:  Julie Christie in Darling
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Best Use of a Song:  “Help” in Help
  • Best Franchise Film:  Thunderball
  • Worst Film:  Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
  • Read the Book, Skip the Film:  Lord Jim
  • Watch the Film, Skip the Book:  King Rat

Ebert Great Films:

  • Woman in the Dunes

Film History: The Pawnbroker is released with a nude scene intact, a further sign of the irrelevance of the Production Code.  The MPAA reaches an out-of-court settlement with 12 blacklisted people but without admitting there was ever a blacklist.  The Legion of Decency changes its name to the National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures.  George Stevens and Otto Preminger bring studios to court over the commercial interruptions in their films being broadcast on television.  David O. Selznick dies of his fifth heart attack on 22 June.  Walt Disney announced plans for a new entertainment park in Florida.  The Sound of Music is released and goes on to become the second biggest box office hit of all-time.  Roman Polanski makes his first English-language film, Repulsion.  Francois Truffaut travels to Hollywood to interview Alfred Hitchcock for his book.  The critical backlash against David Lean begins as Doctor Zhivago is released.  It becomes his biggest money-maker ever (outgrossing all of his previous films combined), but is attacked for being “photographed rather than directed.”

Academy Awards: The Sound of Music becomes yet another film to win Best Picture without winning an Oscar for writing.  However, it does, surprisingly, become the only Best Picture winner between 1948 and 1997 to not get nominated for writing.  It also becomes the first film to win Best Picture without a single critics award since Gigi.  In the meantime, Woman in the Dunes becomes the first film since 1958 to get nominated for Best Director and receive no other nominations.  While Woman in the Dunes and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg get nominations the year after being nominated for Best Foreign Film, for the only time in history a film is nominated for Best Foreign Film the year after it receives another nomination – Marriage, Italian Style, nominated the year after it was nominated for Best Actress.  Thunderball becomes the final James Bond film to win an Oscar.  William Wyler receives his 12th and final Best Director nomination.  For the first time as a competitive award, Best Foreign Film doesn’t go to France, Italy or Sweden.  Czechoslovakia wins Best Foreign Film in its first of four consecutive nominations.

The Sound of Music manages to best Doctor Zhivago in spite of lacking a writing nomination.  Zhivago manages to win 5 Oscars, including Best Adapted Screenplay, but can’t manage to take him Picture and Director.  The Academy goes for the shallow seriousness of Ship of Fools while ignoring the much deeper, better film, The PawnbrokerThe Collector manages nominations for Actress, Director and Adapted Screenplay, but somehow is passed over for Best Picture in favor of A Thousand Clowns.  Foreign films (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Casanova 70, Woman in the Dunes), British films (Darling, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold) and more mindless entertainment (Flight of the Phoenix, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Great Race) all earn Oscar nominations but Repulsion doesn’t.  None of the songs from Help even manage to make the Academy longlist.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Song for “The Shadow of Your Smile”  (The Sandpiper)
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium for Ship of Fools
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Song for “Help”  (Help)
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  The Greatest Story Ever Told
  • Best Eligible Film with No Nominations:  Repulsion
  • Best Foreign Film Submitted but Not Nominated:  Gertrud
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Editing
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Supporting Actress
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Color), Best Music Score – Substantially Original, Best Art Direction (Color), Best Special Visual Effects, Best Costume Design (Color), Best Costume Design (Black-and-White)

Golden Globes: In the first year the Globes award Best Screenplay since 1950, it goes to Doctor Zhivago, along with everything else.  Zhivago wins Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor – Drama and Best Score.  With 5 Globes, Zhivago sets a record for most awards that has been tied four times but never beaten.  The Sound of Music wins the Comedy or Musical awards for Best Picture and Best Actress along with a Best Director nomination.  The Collector and A Patch of Blue both earn Picture, Director and Screenplay nominations.  A Patch of Blue becomes the first film nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay at the Globes to not earn Oscar nominations in any of those three categories, something that will not happen again until 1972 and has only happened 11 times overall.

Films That Have Been Nominated For Picture, Director and Screenplay at the Globes but none of those at the Oscars:

  • A Patch of Blue (1965)  –  4 Oscar nominations
  • Avanti (1972)  –  0 Oscar nominations
  • Frenzy (1972)  –  0 Oscar nominations
  • Day of the Jackal (1973)  –  1 Oscar nomination
  • Being There (1979)  –  2 Oscar nominations
  • A Cry in the Dark (1988)  –  1 Oscar nomination
  • Glory (1989)  –  5 Oscar nominations
  • The American President (1995)  –  1 Oscar nomination
  • About Schmidt (2002)  –  2 Oscar nominations
  • Cold Mountain (2003)  –  7 Oscar nominations
  • Closer (2004)  –  2 Oscar nominations

Awards: Darling is the big film with the critics, taking home Best Actress and Best Director from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics, while also taking home Best Picture from the NYFC.  In a surprise result, The Eleanor Roosevelt Story, a documentary, wins Best Picture at the NBR.  Ship of Fools manages to take home Best Actor from both groups, but for different actors (Oskar Werner from NYFC, Lee Marvin from the NBR, also winning for Cat Ballou).  The NBR continues to be a terrible Oscar predictor for the supporting performers, as neither winner (Harry Andrews and Joan Blondell – her for The Cincinnati Kid) manages to even get nominated by the Academy.  Federico Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits takes home Best Foreign Film from both groups, the second time Fellini manages to do it (he did it in 1963 with 8 1/2) and the fourth time (after La Strada and La Dolce Vita) that Fellini wins the NYFC award for Best Foreign Film.

The Sound of Music becomes the first film to sweep the major guilds, winning at the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild and the Editors Guild (ACE).  The other two WGA awards go to The Pawnbroker (Drama) and A Thousand Clowns (Comedy).  The guilds are terrible predictors this year as only two of the DGA nominees get Best Director nominations (Sound of Music and Darling) and two of the WGA winners fail to even get nominated (The Pawnbroker becomes the first Drama winner to fail to earn an Oscar nomination since 1959).  The other three DGA nominees have to settle for Best Actor (Cat Ballou) a Best Actor nomination (The Pawnbroker) and no Oscar nominations (The Ipcress File).  The Sound Editors do better as their two winners, The Great Race and Von Ryan’s Express, become the two Oscar nominees.

For the first time since 1961 the BAFTAs split the winners of Best Picture and Best British Picture.  My Fair Lady earns the former (a year after its Oscar win) while The Ipcress File (which earned no Oscar nominations at all) took home the latter.  The BAFTAs do something they would do a lot in later years – give a Best Picture nomination and Best British Picture nomination to a film (The Hill and The Knack and How to Get It) that would lose both (in fact the two films would only manage to one 1 of their 11 combined nominations – Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) for The Hill), while the Best British Film would fail to earn a Best Picture nomination.  The two films nominated for Best British Picture, but not Best Picture are the biggest winners – The Ipcress File, which takes aside from British Picture also wins Cinematography and Art Direction, while Darling would win Best British Actor, Best British Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Art Direction (Black-and-White).

Best Actor: “Lee Marvin and Michelle Triola were seated two rows ahead of Rod Steiger.  Marvin turned around and said to Steiger before the show began, ‘You know why they put me ahead of you?  Because when they call your name I am going to stick my big foot out and you are going to fall on your ass!’ ”  Inside Oscar, p. 386.

I’ve long believed Rod Steiger’s Oscar in 1967 was a Makeup Oscar.  This was for two reasons.  First of all, not only did I not think that Rod Steiger was the Best Actor of 1967, but he wasn’t even the best in his own film (that would be Sidney Poitier).  The other was that everything I had read, beginning with Inside Oscar, was adamant that he should have won the Oscar in 1965 for The Pawnbroker and that it was expected that he would win.  Well, I still personally feel that Steiger was a bit over-rated in In the Heat of the Night (he was very good – but Poitier was better) and he absolutely should have won for The Pawnbroker.  But why did other people think that?  Was it because he was so good?  Because certainly there were no other signs.

After all, Oskar Werner won the New York Film Critics.  Lee Marvin won the National Board of Review.  At the Globes, Marvin managed to repeat his win, but Werner and Steiger, while both nominated, lost to Omar Sharif (who wasn’t nominated for anything else).  So, then came the Oscars.  And Marvin was so convinced that Steiger would win – when he hadn’t won anything yet.  Should people have really been that surprised when Marvin won?  Was it just because Marvin was in a comedy?  And in 1967, Steiger won both the New York Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics, before going on to win the Golden Globe and the Oscar.  The only award Steiger actually won for The Pawnbroker (other than the Nighthawk Award) was the BAFTA and he won that over a year after the Oscars (The Pawnbroker wasn’t eligible until 1966).  Sure, he had won Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival in 1964, but Marvin had won the same thing in 1965.  Let’s get this straight – I fully agree with those who thought Steiger absolutely should have won.  I’m just no longer so sure his actual Oscar counts as a Makeup Oscar.

The Pawnbroker (1965): easily the best performance of Rod Steiger's career

Under-rated Film of 1965:

The Pawnbroker (dir. Sidney Lumet)

How can I say it’s under-rated?  Just look at this.  In 1965, the same year that awards were being heaped upon The Sound of Music (10 of them between the Oscars, Globes and Guilds) and nominations upon Ship of Fools (17 of them between the Oscars, Critics, Guilds, BAFTAs and Globes), The Pawnbroker received 5 nominations with 2 wins.  Rod Steiger was nominated for the Oscar, the Globe, the BAFTA (which he won) and the film was nominated by the DGA and won the Writers Guild.  It is the second best film of 1965 and yet the Oscars thought it inferior to Ship and A Thousand Clowns while the Globes thought A Patch of Blue and Flight of the Phoenix were better.  Look at its reputation even today.  Roger Ebert hasn’t bothered to include it as a Great Film, AFI didn’t think it worthy of the list of 400 initial films for either of their Top 100 lists (though Cat Ballou was on the initial list both times) and it hasn’t made the Top 1000 in any of the four years it has been done (at least the National Film Registry has it right as they finally added it in 2008).

It belongs in the Top 1000 all-time.  Even without ranking my list, I can tell you it is in my top 300 of all-time, my top 30 of the 60’s and my #2 of 1965.  While most awards groups were content to notice Steiger, among the Nighthawk Awards it gets nominated for Best Picture (it is an all around moving and harrowing film – the dark story of a man who survives the Holocaust and ends up a pawnbroker in New York), Best Supporting Actress (Geraldine Fitzgerald in a moving portrayal of a social worker who tries to help him), Best Director (among the best work of Sidney Lumet – moving and dark but never stooping to cheap theatrics to achieve emotional effect), Best Adapted Screenplay (it is expertly adapted from the novel – just look at the line “I didn’t die.  Everything that I loved was taken away from me and I did not die.”), Best Editing (an incredible job of moving back and forth between the present and the past – the scene where a young desperate woman bares her breasts to try to win his sympathy which reminds him of his wife whom he lost in the Holocaust was so emotionally powerful that it received Production Code approval – the first film to ever manage that with nudity), Best Cinematography (just look at the still on the left, the magnificent way in which he is framed behind the cage, much in the same way he was barred in the cages of the concentration camps), Best Original Score (possibly the best work ever done by Quincy Jones) and Best Art Direction (not only the magnificent sets of the pawnshop itself, but also his apartment and the camps).  Steiger easily wins Best Actor with one of the single best performances of the decade – a man who is numbed by what he has gone through and isolates himself as if the cage wasn’t even there.  That Steiger, such an overly emotional actor, could so perfectly bottle himself up like this is even more amazing.  Were it not for Doctor Zhivago, The Pawnbroker would actually win Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing and Art Direction.

This film is not for everyone, of course.  It is the kind of the film that film ratings are made for.  This is why the Production Code had to cease.  Because you can produce an adult film like this, one that masterfully shows the ways in which man destroys each other, then destroys himself, with nudity and violence, with the weight of horrible history, but, yet, children should not see it.  This is a film for thinking people, to realize what has passed and how much it is not past.  See this film not because it’s entertaining or because it will be a good time, but because there are films that simply should be seen, that are so powerful, so moving, so haunting, you must see them at least once.