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Top 10 films of 1968, according to then-LA Times critic Charles Champlin

A space Odyssey

A space Odyssey

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On Jan. 5, 1969, then-Times film critic Charles Champlin chose these as the best films of 1968, in alphabetical order.

“The Battle of Algiers.” “A powerful and disturbing masterpiece of documentary reenactment, an illumination of the struggle for Algerian independence done with newsreel fidelity but … no newsreel footage.”

“Faces.” John Cassavetes’ “stunning, honest and superbly acted look at affluence, marriage, relationships and dissatisfactions,” … a “depiction of the Age of Anxiety becoming the Age of Unfulfillment.”

“Funny Girl.” Starring Barbra Streisand. “There is still nothing like a star in a star vehicle made for her. … All the brash and vivid dash Hollywood musicals ought to have.”

“The Lion in Winter.” “A sparkling and notably literate historical invention” that “imagines Peter O’Toole as Henry II [and] Katharine Hepburn as his Eleanor of Aquitaine. … Tour de force.”

“The Odd Couple.” Breaks no new cinematic ground … but … taking Neil Simon’s foolproof foolishness to the screen with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon … provides more solid laughs … than any other comedy in what was a very good year for comedy.”

“Oliver!” “A big, beautiful, damn-the-torpedos musical” with “swirling, sterling choreography.” … .”And Lionel Bart’s score sounds better than ever.”

“Petulia.” Richard Lester’s “dazzling deployment of the new (or newly used) language of film to tell a very mod but basically sentimental story involving Julie Christie, George C. Scott, Richard Chamberlain … plus San Francisco.”

“Romeo and Juliet.” “Franco Zeffirelli’s choice of a pair of unknown London teenagers … infuses Shakespeare’s classic with new life and new magic.”

“2001: A Space Odyssey.” Stanley Kubrick’s “landmark in the creative and forward-thrusting use of the screen’s technical capabilities, awe-inspiring in its simulations of deep space travel and in its evocation of the mysticism of space.”

“Yellow Submarine.” “A milestone … of animation … as far beyond ‘Fantasia’ as ‘Fantasia’ was beyond ‘Steamboat Willie.’ Its central figures are the Beatles … but its hero is its designer Heinz Edelman.”


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Top 10 films of 1968, according to then-LA Times critic Charles Champlin