1961 Top Box Office Movies

Finding box office information for movies made before 1980 is not an easy task.   For somebody looking for box office information on 1961 it is very very frustrating.  Over the years, we have researched and collected information on over 30,000 movies.  So we figured we would show all the 1961 movies in our database.

To make this list a movie had to be made in 1961.  This page will looks at 106 1961 Top Box Office Movies.  The movies are listed in a massive table that lets you rank the movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information.    This only represents about 25% of the movies made in 1961….but should cover the top box office movies.

1961’s West Side Story

1961 Top Box Office Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort 1961 Top Box Office Movies by movie titles and movie trailers
  • Sort 1961 Top Box Office Movies by the stars or in some cases the director of the movie.
  • Sort 1961 Top Box Office Movies by stars of the movie
  • Sort 1961 Top Box Office Movies by domestic adjusted box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort 1961 Top Box Office Movies how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations each 1961 Top Box Office Movies received and how many Oscar® wins each 1961 Top Box Office Movies received.
  • Sort 1961 Top Box Office Movies by Ultimate Movie Ranking Score (UMR).  Our UMR score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.

1961’s El Cid

 Top earners in 1961 for Adjusted USA Box Office:

My Main Sources

Source 1: Variety – January 10th, 1962 Pages 13 & 58

Source 2: Twentieth Century-Fox A Corporate and Financial History by Aubrey Solomon

Source 3:  Wikipedia

Source 4:  IMDb.com

Source 5:  BoxOfficeMojo.com

Academy Award® and Oscar® are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences.

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16 thoughts on “1961 Top Box Office Movies

  1. 1 BRUCE By 1961 I was becoming more interested in the A list pictures at the top of your chart such as The Duke’s The Alamo and my Greg’s Guns of Navarone rather than the B actioners that had hitherto been my main preoccupation. My Doris’ Lover Come Back naturally interested me very much as well as her movies had always appealed to me but my fave movie of that year was undoubtedly the lovely Breakfast at Tiffany’s though One Eyed Jacks was also well up on my list.

    2 However there were still some low budget/low grossing pictures that I enjoyed immensely and probably the best of those was The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr [budget just 450,000 English pounds at that time] way down your 1961 chart in terms of earnings. It was one of the scariest ghost stories that I have ever seen on screen.

    3 One of the ghosts in The Innocents was the evil Peter Quint played by Peter Wyngarde. ENTER DAN! Quint was subsequently played in life, before he became a ghost, by Brando in 1971’s The Nightcomers, a “prequel” to The Innocents. Your own charts faithfully reflect the contrast in quality between the two movies as you have given the Kerr flick a high 83% review rating and the Brando movie a mere 50%. Even Joel could not have drawn a more accurate distinction!

    4 Anyway with two 1960s reviews within a week you are fairly powering your way into that decade and indeed film historians seem to regard 1962 as the end of Hollywood’s classic era/beginning of the modern era so if they are correct and when you have reviewed 1962 you will have covered the classic era from the early talkies in 1935 [so far] right thru until the onset of the modern era. A considerable achievement and a very useful one from my viewpoint.

    1. Hey Bob
      1. Thanks for checking out our 1961 movie page.
      2. The Alamo earned a lot of money….but cost a lot of money…..so it has gone down in the history books as a flop….but i remember watching it on primetime tv in the 1970s…and it seemed like a major movie.
      3. Glad your Brando had a highly ranked movie on this chart…..just recently re-watched One Eyed Jacks….I enjoyed it more on the second viewing.
      4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my mom’s favorite too….though I think she likes the music more than the movie.
      5. I liked The Innocents…..I knew about it’s connection to the Brando movie.
      6. Our yearly reviews are now from 1935 to 1961…..hopefully we will have both decades done in a few months.
      7. It is strange….I am now thinking the 1960s and 1970s are going to be the more difficult decades to research…..as we really only have Variety….and books (which are horrible sources for box office grosses).
      8. It was all downhill for Hitch after Psycho……but we still have The Birds and Marnie to go…let’s not mention Topaz (my least favorite Hitch movie)
      Good feedback as always.

      1. HI BRUCE
        1 I enjoyed your interesting feedback here.

        2 Michael Winner directed The Nightcomers and I told you before that he claims that that was the only film in which he addressed his star as “Sir”. However Winner was considered such an eccentric by professional observers that some of them voiced surprise that a major Hollywood star of even Brando’s [pre Godpop] reduced status wanted to work with him. However maybe it was the “Sir” that did the trick!

        3 Your correction button is a godsend and I’ve manage to catch in good time quite a few minor irritating mistakes since it came on the scene. Just a pity as I’ve said that it doesn’t allow me to have a go at Joel’s stuff but congratulations and thanks to you and W o C for providing the facility

        1. Hey Bob
          1. I like the story about Winner and Brando……I can easily see Winner doing that.
          2. Glad you like the correction button….we have been doing a ton of small website changes lately….good to know that was a favorable one.
          3. I keep forgetting to look up Dorothy Malone in Joel’s book….not sure she made the book….but if she did….I am sure you are more than anxious to read his thoughts on her….lol.
          4. WoC is the bomb. Despite her business schedule she did some work on the website….all were huge improvements.
          Good stuff.

  2. In 1961, one can already notice the steep decline in box office attendance that we discussed on the 1960 page. For instance, only 25 movies on your list cracked the $100 million adjusted box office threshold, as compared to 35 movies in 1960. Still, some great movies were released that year. Judgment at Nuremberg and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are among my all time favorites and my top picks from 1961, followed by The Guns of Navarone, El Cid, A Raisin in the Sun, The Children’s Hour, and Kuroswa’s Yojimb. Also enjoyed The Innocents, The Hustler, the largely forgotten Hoodlum’s Priest (thanks for including it, though I notice it is still missing a critical rating), West Side Story and Splendor in the Grass. While these last two are not among my favorites, I loved Natalie Wood in them. She shot to top stardom with these films and I think 1961 was her year more than any-one other actor or actress.
    I won’t be able to comment over the next few days, but will be monitoring any new annual page from the 1960s closely 🙂

    1. Hey PhilHOF17
      1. From 35 to 25 $100 million movies is a huge dip for sure.
      2. Judgement at Tiffany’s is a good one, two punch.
      3. I have seen all the movies you mentioned with the exception of The Children’s Hour (which I want to see) and Hoodlum’s Priest.
      4. I would say Guns of Navarone, El Cid, Splendor In The Grass and Yojimbo would make my Top 10 as well…..though Splendor In The Grass is not a movie I plan on seeing again…anytime soon.
      5. As for Hoodlum’s Priest……the critic rating is now there……as we work through our communications issues here at UMR.
      6. Not sure if I am going to keep moving towards the 1960s or the 1930s…..leaning towards 1935 to be the next yearly review.
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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