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The '60s

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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'."

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 and bouffant 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. At the same time, there's the Harlem Cultural Festival, which is the cultural high point of black pride and the Civil Rights movement concentrated in six weeks of music. And then a little later, Altamont, roughly six hours of skull-cracking brutality set to music.


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 ballooned 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.


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 three 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, Yves Saint Laurent, Underground Comics... the list goes on. Their continued popularity ensures the Sixties will be around for a long time.

Politically speaking, it began on August 28, 1963 with the March on Washington and the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 and ended with the kidnapping of Patty Hearst on February 4, 1974, President Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974 and the Fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975.note  Scientifically speaking, it begins with the launching of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957 and ending with the last Moon landing by Apollo 17 on December 14, 1972. Culturally speaking, it began with the release of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho on September 8, 1960 and the US debut of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, and ended with the Tate-LaBianca murders on August 8 and 9, 1969, the disastrous Altamont Free Concert on December 6, 1969, and the breakup of The Beatles on April 10, 1970.

Economically, the Sixties 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, The New '10s, and The New '20s.

Popular tropes from this time period are:

  • '60s Hair: Aside from the beehive, we have the bouffants, moptops, and geometric bangs that came and were popularized from this decade.
  • All Bikers Are Hell's Angels: While the Hells Angels already existed since 1947 they become more recognizable and feared during the 1960s.
  • Beehive Hairdo: A popular haircut for women.
  • British Rock Star: A creation of this decade, with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger as the main examples. David Bowie also got his start in this decade (his first international hit was "Space Oddity" in 1969) but really hit it big in the next decade.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: Many illegal radio stations popped up that operated on boats just outside the coastlines, particularly in the U.K., where they couldn't get prosecuted. They owed their popularity to the fact that they played rock in a time when most mainstream radio stations didn't.
  • Commune: Hippies form them.
  • Conscription: Many men were drafted in the USA and sent off to Vietnam. To an extent: most American servicemen in Vietnam were enlisted. Even at the height of the war, most Americans who were drafted were sent to bases in Europe, East Asia, or stateside. And even then, only a small minority of those eligible for the draft were ever called up. However, the memory of World War II and The Korean War (which had seen much larger numbers of men drafted) colored people's fear of being conscripted.
  • Cool Car: After the Ford Mustang was unleashed in 1965, the muscle car movement in America kicked off before stalling briefly from the oil crisis of The '70s.
  • Dance Sensation: The first half of the decade was prominent with new dance crazes, particularly with partnerless dances, such as the Twist, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Pony, the Loco-Motion the Jerk, and many more.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to The '50s. War, the Civil Rights Movement, many protests, the president was assassinated, hippies, need we say more? 1968 stands out as being one of the most Grimdark years in recent American history: MLK Jr. and RFK were both gunned down, riots in more than 100 cities, anti-war protests, a flu pandemic, Vietnam was at its lowest point, and the chaos at the Democratic National Convention.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish:
    • In a Bookend of sorts, California was the place to go. Starting off with beach parties and surfing at the beginning of the decade, and ending with flower power and the Summer of Love at the end.
    • In the middle of the decade following The British Invasion, the young people would look upon England, with stuff like mods, James Bond, Monty Python, Twiggy, and The Beatles coming from places such as Carnaby Street, Kings Road, and Abbey Road in London, and northern cities like Liverpool and Manchester. Its high point came with England winning The World Cup in 1966. On a lesser note, the famous "Flying Scotsman" locomotive visited the United States in 1969.
    • From 1965 on, South Asian music, philosophy and religion became increasingly popular in the West. Ravi Shankar played at rock festivals and gurus like the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Hara Krishna movement gained a huge following. As Salman Rushdie described it: "Being Indian made you extremely sexy in the 1960s." Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen and the I-Ching also gained popularity.
    • In the late 1960s, there was a brief wave of Japanophilia in the United States, owing to the popularity of Kaiju films at the time.
  • The Generation Gap: Already prominent in the 1950s, but became more noticeable during the 1960s, when parents' and adults' old-fashioned values contrasted heavily with those of the young people who were in favor of social change.
  • Granola Girl: Your standard hippie chick.
  • Greaser Delinquents: Very common in Real Life and to a much lesser extent, pop culture, although nowhere near as common as they were in The '50s, in both the real 1960s and portrayals of it in later fiction.
  • High-Class Gloves: This was the last decade that gloves were a ubiquitous high fashion accessory (save for the most formal events).
  • Hippie Van: A popular vehicle for hippies travelling to California or Katmandu.
  • Hollywood Thin: The buxom, curvaceous bombshell look of the ‘50s was phased out for the waifish, wispy, bug-eyed crane-legged look.
  • Limited Animation: Animation became less and less sophisticated due to budget restraints.
  • Messy Hair: The Beatles haircut and longer hair styles became popular and raised concern, not to mention fear, among many adults. Long hair on men was associated with homosexuality like Oscar Wilde, besides the Biblical prohibitionnote  so many adults couldn't understand why a straight boy would want to wear his hair long. It was also a symbol of the anti-war movement and thus, to many adults, Communism.
  • Music of the 1960s: Since the widespread popularity of rock music around the world, and with America's losing interest with classic Rock & Roll, newer musicians stepped up to the scene to kick it with a new flavor. Rock subgenres and other genres include:
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The age of the hippie culture.

Works made during this time period include:

  • Cosmopolitan. Originally started in 1886, entered its current form in 1965.


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.
  • Fantastic Four: Life Story: The 2021 mini-series began in 1961 (the same year the original comics was published).
  • JFK Secret Ops is set in an Alternate History where Kennedy survived his assassination. Part of the comic is set in 1965.
  • The Lost Boy: Set in the early 60s, as evident when someone says John F. Kennedy's president.
  • 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.
  • Secret Path (2016) is mainly set during 1966, when Chanie Wenjack is walking along the train tracks trying to get home.
  • The 2019 mini-series Spider-Man: Life Story starts off in 1966, four years into Peter Parker's superhero career and at the height of The Vietnam War.
  • 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 


    Live-Action TV 

  • Quadrophenia
  • Sugarland: The music video for their 2018 single "Babe" is inspired by Mad Men and is set in this decade. It tells the story of a woman (lead singer Jennifer Nettles) whose husband (Brandon Routh) is having an affair with his secretary (Taylor Swift).

  • 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.
  • The Beatles is very specifically themed after the Beatles' visit to America in 1964, along with the Beatlemania that followed.
  • The opening shot of Godzilla (Stern) proclaims that it takes place on December 19th, 1965. (This is a reference to the date Invasion of Astro-Monster, the film the game's antagonists come from, was released in Japan.)

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Though the graphic novel When Heaven Spits You Out is set primarily in the seventies, there are instances where the series flashes back to the early childhood of main character Ryan Hanson, who was born in 1960.

    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 

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

    Music Genres That Started in the Sixties 


    Professional Wrestling 

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



Works made, but not set, during the sixties

    Anime and Manga 


    Comic Books 

    Eastern Animation 


    Rides and Attractions 

    Video Games 


     Theme Parks 

    Western Animation 

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

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

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

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


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Swinging Sixties


Destroy All Humans! 2

Set 10 years after the events of the first game in The '60s, the Soviet KGB have discovered that the President of United States is the Furon invader Cryptosporidium-138 and had destroyed the Mothership with Orthopox 13 along with it. After Pox manages to upload his mind into a holographic projector, Crypto must find the Russian Insurgence that threatens his mission. Alog the way he procures various human allies â including the beautiful Russia spy Natasha â and stop the KGB before they Destroy. All, Humans!

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