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There's a good reason they're called the "Stormy Sixties."

"Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'."
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The Swingin' Sixties hold a special place in popular culture, mostly because the people who came of age in that decade cannot stop talking about how great it was.

The Theme Park Version of the Swingin' Sixties includes: "free love" and beehive hairdos, hippies and southern sheriffs, Psychedelic Rock and girl groups, marijuana and the pill, sexy male spies in tuxedos and sexy female spies in leather catsuits (or in miniskirts with go-go boots, or in leather miniskirt catsuits), the Charlie Brown Christmas special, Peter Fonda dropping acid in a graveyard, prim newscasters speaking in clipped tones about those wild youngsters having too much fun, and everybody doing "The Twist".

In Britain it includes the rise of Carnaby Street (inevitably accompanied by The Kinks' "Dedicated Follower of Fashion"), Mary Quant (the Mother who Made Miniskirts Mainstream), Harold Wilson, the satire boom, and a bunch of Buccaneer Broadcasters demolishing The BBC's radio monopoly. It was all about the music: Mop-topped mods and cock-walking rockers all the rage, and the British were cool for the first time in recorded history. Except to the British, who were way into India. The Sixties gave us Woodstock, three days of peace and music. And then a little later, Altamont, roughly six hours of skull-cracking brutality set to music.

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Of course, much of this great music was made in the context of political unrest: Escalation of The Vietnam War was met with a powerful protest movement, admired (or vilified, depending on your viewpoint) to this day for stopping the war dead in its tracks just nine years later. President John F. Kennedy narrowly averted an end-of-the-world nuclear showdown, then was shot dead. Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X gave voice to the Civil Rights Movement, and then were shot dead. Robert F. Kennedy renewed the country's spirits with a message of hope and unity, and then was shot dead. Really, the only important political figures who survived the 60s alive were LBJ and Tricky Dick (Ronald Reagan was also on the rise, but he didn't count just yet). And he got shot too. This was the era of COINTELPRO, with Government Agents surveilling, infiltrating and discrediting Anti-War and other groups to the point of sowing distrust and paranoia among these groups to Philip K. Dick levels. This was not limited to the United States. France nearly had a revolution in May of 1968, with West Germany having massive protests as well. Social unrest in Italy balooned into the Years Of Lead in the 1970s, as well as the Red Army Faction in Germany while Canada had Quebec separatist riots and terrorist bombings. Czechoslavakia attempted a Velvet Revolution, but the Soviet Union invaded to suppress the social change in 1968. In China, Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966, and the country soon fell into chaos.

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The Sixties were also the time of The Space Race — Following the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the first manned launches took place in 1961 (First Russian Yuri Gagarin in April, followed closely by Alan Shepard in May.) The idea of people actually entering space for the first time led to a new fascination with Science, and a corresponding boom to Science Fiction. John F. Kennedy ordered the seemingly impossible — putting men on the Moon. After his death, America's resolve was steeled, and the course was set. The route to the Moon was very nearly derailed by the disastrous Apollo 1 fire, claiming the lives of 3 American astronauts in a test. Over a year of unmanned testing went on, trying to repair the mistakes. A return to space flight in late 1968 led to an epic Christmas flyby of the Moon by Apollo 8, one of the most watched television broadcasts in history. Finally, in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the Moon, fulfilling Kennedy's mission and marking the first time a human being had walked on another celestial body.

That's what you learn watching TV and movies about the Sixties. No Sixties Montage is complete without them. If not set to Jimi Hendrix playing "All Along the Watchtower" or "The Star-Spangled Banner", then "Get Together" by the Youngbloods.

But if you watch TV and movies from the Sixties, it's as if half of that stuff never happened. Some of the decade's landmark events, such as the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that kicked off the gay rights movement, were barely acknowledged until the 1990s. Our cultural memory has selected The Grateful Dead and Aretha Franklin from a musical landscape that had a lot more Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass than seems sonically possible; and the squares of the first half of the decade actually dressed a lot cooler than the hippies of the latter half, who frankly come off as a little grimy. A standout example of this is The Andy Griffith Show, whose title actor portrays a Southern sheriff and in which not a whisper of the civil rights movement is mentioned.

Nonetheless, the sheer volume of memorable songs, shows, books, and movies from the Sixties is testament to the creativity of its artists. The decade did give us Star Trek: The Original Series, Doctor Who, James Bond (the films, anyway), Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Woody Allen, The Graduate, The Prisoner, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, James Brown, Motown, Underground Comics... the list goes on. Their continued popularity ensures the Sixties will be around for a long time.

Politically speaking, it started with the Civil Rights Movement at the beginning of the decade and the escalation of the Vietnam War in the middle of the decade and ended in the mid-'70s with both President Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974 and the the Fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975. Culturally speaking, it started with the release of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho in 1960 (though some argued it was with John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 that triggered the "Swinging Sixties" part) and ended with the Altamont Free Concert in 1969 (or the breakup of The Beatles in early 1970). The Manson Family's murderous activities in this time frame didn't help much, either.

Economically, The '60s, was considered by economists, the end of the post-war Golden Age for the Western World and also for a lot of the East, especially in the Iron Curtain. note  note  As much as everyone associates The '50s with post-war stability and prosperity, The '60s was actually the truly flush era. Some critics blame the decade and the youth for ending the good times, while supporters insist people chose Liberty Over Prosperity. note 

See Also: The Roaring '20s, The Great Depression, The '40s, The '50s, The '70s, The '80s, The '90s, Turn of the Millennium and The New '10s.


Popular tropes from this time period are:


Works made during this time period include:

Works set (but not made) during this time period include:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes Sabrina the Teenage Witch back to being in the sixties, more specifically 1968.
  • March, a comic about the life of African-American US Congressman John Lewis and his participation in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s (though the 50s are prominently featured too).
  • Marvel Comics: While it's true that the company that would later be known as Marvel (Atlas) existed before then, the Marvel universe proper didn't exist until 1961. And once it did, Marvel would prove to be one of the most well-known, influential, and (at the time) ground-breaking comic companies not just of that era, but decades later. Even today, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Marvel.
  • Stuck Rubber Baby, a 1995 graphic novel set during the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Superboy thanks to DC's sliding timeline was moved up to this decade with his 1980 title relaunch. Various references to 1960s popular culture were made, including: Clark and Lana going to a concert featuring a long-haired rock group; the Kents watching an Apollo moonshot on TV; and Superboy (in flashbacks to earlier in the decade) meeting President Kennedy.
  • Zot!! is set in a world where the year is always 1965.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 

    Pinball 
  • Austin Powers: Despite its Time Travel aspects, it is predominantly set in the Sixties, with a playfield decorated in rainbow colors, bright flowers, and groovy lettering.

    Theater 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Camp Lazlo appears to be set in this decade due to the technology and vintage style of the camps shown.

Works set and made during this time period (at least mostly, as some say The Sixties lasted until the early '70s):

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Eastern Animation 

    Magazines 
  • Creepy Magazine. First published in 1964.
  • Penthouse, First published in 1965.
  • Reason, First published in 1968.

    Music Genres That Started in the Sixties 

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
The Supermarionation series of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson began in this decade.

    Radio 

    Theatre 

Works made, but not set, during the sixties

    Anime and Manga 

    Comedy 

    Comic Books 

    Music 

    Rides and Attractions 

    Video Games 

     Theatre 

     Theme Parks 

    Western Animation 

If you can remember the 60s, you didn't live in them.

If you don't remember the 60's, you lived in them.

If you didn't live in the 60's, you remember them.

Therefore, only people who weren't alive in the 60's can remember the 60's.


Alternative Title(s): The Swinging Sixties

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