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


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16 thoughts on “1961 Top Box Office Movies

  1. These are the 127 1961 films I have seen from December 1992 when I saw film 8000 for me to end of December 2017. I saw West Side Story back in 1972 when it debuted on network television. Best movie from that year is El Cid.

    Key – film, studio, stars (until 2012 when I stopped listing them), date seen and source (DVD, TV channel or tape); XX for a film’s stars meant they did not make Quinlan’s book of stars.

    ALL HANDS ON DECK 1961 FOX PAT BOONE 5/26 2001 FXM
    ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO 1961 UNITEL XXX XXX 12/26 2009 DVD
    ANGEL BABY 1961 AA GEORGE HAMILTON MERCEDES MCCAMBRIDGE 3/8 2012 TCM
    ARMORED COMMAND 1961 AA HOWARD KEEL TINA LOUISE 3/12 2001 ACTN
    ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE (IT.) 1961 AIP ARCHIE SAVAGE RIK VON NUTTER 5/31 2012 DVD
    ATLAS AGAINST THE CYCLOPS (IT.) 1961 MEDALLION MITCHELL GORDON CHELA ALONSO 3/12 2009 DVD
    ATTEMPT TO KILL (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED DEREK FARR 1/18 2016 DVD
    BATTLE AT BLOODY BEACH 1961 FOX AUDIE MURPHY 2/11 1997 TMC
    BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS 1961 XXX XXX 1/23 1995 COM
    BEST OF ENEMIES (IT-U.K.) 1961 COL DAVID NIVEN 9/22 1993 TNT
    BIG SHOW 1961 FOX ESTHER WILLIAMS CLIFF ROBERTSON 4/26 1996 TMC
    BLAST OF SILENCE 1961 UNI ALLEN BARON MOLLY MCCARTHY 5/23 2009 TCM
    BLOODLUST 1961 CROWN INTL. XXX XXX 5/24 1995 COM
    BOY WHO CAUGHT A CROOK 1961 UA WANDA HENDRIX 11/5 2000 TCM
    BRIDGE TO THE SUN 1961 MGM CARROLL BAKER 5/27 1993 TNT
    CAT BURGLAR 1961 UA XXX XXX 9/15 2007 TCM
    CHOPPERS, THE 1961 FAIRWAY INTL ARCH HALL JR. MARIANNE GABA 4/6 2013 DVD
    CLEOPATAR’S DAUGHTER (IT.) 1961 MEDALLION DEBRA PAGET ROBERT ALDA 4/14 2008 DVD
    CLUE OF THE NEW PIN (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED PAUL DANEMAN 1/14 2016 DVD
    CLUE OF THE SILVER KEY (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED BERNARD LEE 1/17 2016 DVD
    CRY FOR HAPPY 1961 CO L GLENN FORD DONALD O’CONNOR 7/10 2008 TCM
    CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (U.K.) 1961 UNI OLIVER REED 10/11 1995 SCI
    DAY THE SKY EXPLODED (IT-FR.) 1961 EXCELSIOR 7/26 2017 DVD
    DEADLY COMPANIONS 1961 PATHE AMERICA MAUREEN O’HARA BRIAN KEITH 3/22 2013 DVD
    DEVIL’S MESSENGER 1961 HERTS-LION LON CHANEY KAREN KADLER 5/3 2013 DVD
    DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (IT-SP) 1961 MEDALLION ALAN LADD FRANCO BETTAJA 5/12 2008 DVD
    DUEL OF THE TITANS (IT.) 1961 PAR STEVE REEVES GORDON SCOTT 2/21 1993 TNT
    EVERYTHING’S DUCKY 1961 COL MICKEY ROONEY BUDDY HACKETT 7/14 2008 TCM
    EXILES, THE 1961 PATHE CONT. XXX XXX 9/20 2010 TCM
    EXPLOSIVE GENERATION 1961 UA WILLIAM SHATNER 9/5 1993 TNT
    FEVER IN THE BLOOD 1961 WB EFREM ZIMBALIST JR. ANGIE DICKENSON 7/12 2012 TCM
    FIVE GUNS TO TOMBSTONE 1961 UA XXX XXX 6/16 2008 WEST
    FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE 1961 SUTTON DONALD WOODS 4/10 2010 TCM
    FLIGHT THAT DISAPPEARED 1961 UA PAULA RAYMOND 6/22 1995 TNT
    FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE 1961 MGM GLENN FORD INGRID THULIN 6/26 1999 TCM
    FOURTH SQUARE (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED CONRAD PHILLIPS 2/12 2016 DVD
    FURY RIVER 1961 MGM KEITH LARSEN BUDDY EBSEN 4/3 2010 TCM
    GENTLE TERROR (U.K.) 1961 UA XXX XXX 7/12 1997 TMC
    GEORGE RAFT STORY 1961 AA RAY DANTON JAYNE MANSFIELD 5/18 2013 TCM
    GIANTS OF THESSALY (IT.) 1961 MEDALLION ROLAND CAREY XXX 4/20 2008 DVD
    GIDGET GOES HAWAIIAN 1961 COL XXX XXX 4/7 1996 FAM
    GOLD OF THE SEVEN SAINTS 1961 WB CLINT WALKER ROGER MOORE 10/8 2001 WEST
    GREEN HELMET (U.K.) 1961 MGM BILL TRAVERS 12/15 2004 TCM
    GUN STREET 1961 UA XXX XXX 2/4 2008 WEST
    HEAD, THE (W.GER) 1961 TRANS-LUX 7/18 2012 DVD
    HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (IT-FR.) 1961 WOOLNER BROS. XXX XXX 5/14 1994 COM
    HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (IT.) 1961 WOOLNER BROS. CHRISTOPHER LEE 4/30 1994 TAPE
    INVASION QUARTET (U.K.) 1961 MGM BILL TRAVERS SPIKE MILLIGAN 1/20 2001 TCM
    JUNGLE FIGHTERS (U.K.) 1961 CONTINENTAL RICHARD TODD LAURENCE HARVEY 8/20 2001 AMC
    KING OF THE ROARING 20’S: THE STORY OF ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN 1961 AA DAVID JANSSEN DIANNE FOSTER 8/14 1993 TNT
    KONGA 1961 AIP XXX XXX 10/6 1993 TBS
    LADIES MAN 1961 PAR JERRY LEWIS 2/12 1996 AMC
    LAST OF THE VIKINGS (IT.) 1961 MEDALLION CAMERON MITCHELL EDMUND PURDOM 4/9 2008 DVD
    LITTLE SHEPHERD OF KINGDOM COME 1961 FOX JIMMIE RODGERS CHILL WILLS 6/18 2008 FXM
    LONG ROPE 1961 FOX 10/31 2015 WEST
    LOOK IN ANY WINDOW 1961 AA PAUL ANKA RUTH ROMAN 6/29 2012 TCM
    LOSS OF INNOCENCE (U.K.) 1961 COL KENNETH MORE DANIELLE DARRIEUX 4/9 2008 TCM
    MAD DOG COLL 1961 COL XXX XXX 3/26 1993 TNT
    MAN AT THE CARLETON TOWER (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED MAXINE AUDLEY 1/16 2016 DVD
    MAN DETAINED (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED BERNARD ARCHARD 1/20 2016 DVD
    MARINES LET’S GO 1961 FOX TOM TRYON 6/10 1998 AMC
    MARK, THE (U.K.) 1961 FOX STUART WHITMAN MARIA SCHELL 2/21 2014 TCM
    MARY HAD A LITTLE… (U.K.) 1961 UA 12/16 2013 TCM
    MASK, THE 1961 WB XXX XXX 12/14 1996 AMC
    MISTY 1961 FOX XXX XXX 9/1 1995 DIS
    MOLE MEN AGAINST THE SONS OF HERCULES (IT.) 1961 EMB MARK FORREST MAIRA ORFEI 12/7 2008 DVD
    MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE 1961 COL RON RANDELL DEBRA PAGET 9/26 1993 TNT
    MR. SARDONICUS 1961 COL GUY ROLFE RONALD LEWIS 10/27 1993 TNT
    MURDER SHE SAID (U.K.) 1961 MGM MARGARET RUTHERFORD ARTHUR KENNEDY 4/14 1996 21
    NAKED EDGE 1961 UA GARY COOPER DEBORAH KERR 11/8 1993 7
    NEVER BACK LOSERS (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED JACK HEDLEY 1/21 2016 DVD
    NEVER TAKE SWEETS FROM A STRANGER (U.K.) 1961 ASTOR 6/18 2014 TCM
    NIGHT TIDE 1961 AIP DENNIS HOPPER LINDA LAWSON 12/30 2009 DVD
    NIKKI, WILD DOG OF THE NORTH 1961 BV XXX XXX 11/6 1995 DIS
    OPERATION BOTTLENECK 1961 UA XXX XXX 1/19 2000 TCM
    OPERATION EICHMANN 1961 AA XXX XXX 2/3 1993 TNT
    PARTNERS IN CRIME (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED BERNARD LEE 1/12 2016 DVD
    POSSE FROM HELL 1961 UNI AUDIE MURPHY JOHN SAXON 11/18 1995 AMC
    POSTMAN’S KNOCK (U.K.) 1961 MGM SPIKE MILLIGAN BARBARA SHELLEY 1/20 2001 TCM
    PURPLE HILLS 1961 FOX GENE NELSON JOANNA BARNES 8/12 2014 FXM
    RAISIN IN THE SUN 1961 COL SIDNEY POITIER 4/8 1996 7
    REPTILICUS 1961 AIP XXX XXX 2/19 1997 TMC
    REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (IT-SP-W. GER) 1961 UA RHONDA FLEMING 12/17 1995 TNT
    RIGHT APPROACH 1961 FOX FRANKIE VAUGHAN MARTHA HYER 5/4 2000 FXM
    ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (IT-FR-YUGO) 1961 ROGER MOORE MYLENE DEMONGEOT 1/15 2009 DVD
    RUNAWAY, THE 1961 CESAR ROMERO 3/8 2009 TCM
    SAMSON AND THE SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (IT-FR) 1961 AIP GORDON SCOTT YOKO TANI 9/15 2008 DVD
    SAMSON VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMAN (MEX.) 1961 AZTECA XXX XXX 3/27 1995 COM
    SANCTUARY 1961 FOX LEE REMICK YVES MONTAND 1/13 2002 FXM
    SCREAM OF FEAR (U.K.) 1961 COL SUSAN STRASBERG RONALD LEWIS 7/7 2003 MYST
    SHADOWS 1961 LION INTL. XXX XXX 2/11 1995 BRAVO
    SILENT CALL 1961 FOX GAIL RUSSELL 12/11 2010 TCM
    SILENT PARTNER (U.K.) 1961 MGM ? ? 4/1 2004 TCM
    SINISTER MAN (U.K.) 1961 ANGLO AMALGAMATED JOHN BENTLEY 1/23 2016 DVD
    SINS OF RACHEL CADE 1961 WB ANGIE DICKINSON PETER FINCH 6/23 1996 AMC
    SNAKE WOMAN (U.K.) 1961 UA 10/13 2017 TCM
    SNIPER’S RIDGE 1961 FOX XXX XXX 9/30 2001 AMC
    SODOM AND GOMORRAH 1961 FOX STEWART GRANGER PIER ANGELI 12/15 1993 AMC
    STEEL CLAW 1961 WB 11/29 2012 DVD
    STOP ME BEFORE I KILL (U.K. – FR,) 1961 COL 10/27 2013 TCM
    TERROR OF THE TONGS (U.K.) 1961 COL CHRISTOPHER LEE 9/25 2002 MYST
    THE CANADIANS 1961 FOX ROBERT RYAN 8/8 1996 TMC
    THE INNOCENTS (U.K.) 1961 FOX DEBORAH KERR 8/10 2003 FXM
    THE MINOTAUR (IT.) 1961 UA XXX XXX 12/26 1994 TNT
    THE MONGOLS (IT-FR.) 1961 COLORAMA JACK PALANCE ANITA EKBERG 7/17 2000 TAPE
    THE TARTARS (IT-YUGO.) 1961 MGM VICTOR MATURE ORSONE WELLES 10/17 1998 TCM
    THEN THERE WERE THREE 1961 PARADE REL. 10/22 2012 DVD
    THREE SPARE WIVES (U.K.) 1961 UA XXX XXX 3/5 1996 TMC
    TRIUMPH OF THE SON OF HERCULES (IT-FR.) 1961 EMB XXX XXX 7/7 2009 DVD
    TWENTY PLUS TWO 1961 AA DAVID JANSSEN JEANNE CRAIN 9/18 2001 MYST
    TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK 1961 COL XXX XXX 4/11 1995 55
    TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL (U.K.) 1961 AIP 10/12 2013 TCM
    TWO LITTLE BEARS 1961 FOX EDDIE ALBERT 3/6 1997 TMC
    TWO LOVES 1961 MGM SHIRLEY MACLAINE LAURENCE HARVEY 12/11 2000 TCM
    TWO WOMEN (IT.) 1961 EMB SOPHIA LOREN 9/21 2006 TCM
    ULYSSES AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (IT.) 1961 EMB XXX XXX 10/17 2008 DVD
    UNDERWORLD USA 1961 COL CLIFF ROBERTSON 8/5 1999 IFC
    URSUS IN THE VALLEY OF THE LIONS (IT.) 1961 GOLDEN ERA XXX XXX 10/26 2008 DVD
    URSUS, SON OF HERCULES 1961 UA XXX XXX 5/9 1994 55
    VENGEANCE OF URSUS 1961 MEDALLION XXX XXX 1/18 2009 DVD
    VICTIM (U.K.) 1961 PATHE AMERICA DIRK BOGARDE SYLVIA SIMS 6/11 1994 BRAVO
    VULCAN, SON OF JUPITER (IT.) 1961 EMB XXX XXX 9/7 2009 DVD
    WARRIOR EMPRESS (T-FR.) 1961 COL TINA LOUISE 12/20 1992 TNT
    WATCH IT, SAILOR (U.K.) 1961 COL DENNIS PRICE 5/5 2009 TCM
    WEEKEND WITH LULU (U.K.) 1961 COL LESLIE PHILLIPS 4/29 2007 TCM
    WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES 1961 UA MERRY ANDERS 1/25 2000 TCM
    YOU HAVE TO RUN FAST 1961 UA XXX XXX 1/25 2000 TCM

    I have actually added the leads for a few post 2012 seen films, leads taken from 1979 Broadcasting Yearbook I have that lists every film available to show on television in 1979 ( a lot of B westerns and films shown on TCM were no longer available to TV at that time).

    1. Hey Dan
      1. Your massive number of 1961 movies is tops on our tally contest.
      2. Seems like West Side Story has been in my movie memory for all of my life…..my mom was a huge musical fan…and she liked that movie.
      3. El Cid is your champ for the year….I like that pick….but I have to go for Guns of Navarone……though it is far from a normal Oscar Best Picture winner.
      4. When I see your lists….I keep being amazed….I am having a hard time doing my Letterboxd account….and if I wanted….all I have to do is type in the movie name and date I watched it…yet I always fall behind.
      Good stuff….as always.

  2. Like Flora, I have seen 44 movies listed on this page with “West Side Story” being the highest rank movie I have seen while “Two Loves” is the lowest ranked film I have seen. Highest ranked film I have not seen is “King Of Kings”. My picks for the top ten movies of 1961 are “Judgement At Nuremberg”. “The Innocents”, “101 Dalmatians”, “Lover Come Back”, “One Two Three”, “The Parent Trap”, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”, “The Hustler”, “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea”, and “Paris Blues”. My personal picks for the Oscars in 1961 would have been as follows:

    BEST PICTURE: “Judgment At Nuremberg”

    BEST ACTOR: Spencer Tracy, “Judgment At Nuremberg”

    BEST ACTRESS: Sophia Loren, “Two Women”

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Montgomery Clift, “Judgment At Nuremberg”

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Rita Moreno, “West Side Story”

    BEST DIRECTOR: Stanley Kramer, “Judgment At Nuremberg”

    1. Hey Greg.
      1. 44 ties you with Flora….and bumps Steve and myself out of the medals….as Dan has the most…..tying Flora is pretty impressive in these parts….especially when talking about older movies.
      2. I see West Side Story did not crack your Top 10……..I am right there with you.
      3. Of your favorites…I also enjoyed One Two Three, The Hustler and Judgement.
      4. You must really really like Judgement at Nuremberg…giving it 4 of the major Oscar wins….now that you have the Perry book….I will refrain from sharing that information.
      5. Paris Blues is one Paul Newman movie that I have not watched.
      Good feedback!

  3. I have seen 44 films from this 1961 list.

    The highest rated movie I have seen is West Side Story.

    The highest rated film I have NOT seen is El Cid.

    The lowest rated film I have seen is Two Loves.

    My top 10 1961 Favourite Movies are:

    The Guns of Navarone – my favourite movie period of any year
    West Side Story
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    Two Rode Together
    The Misfits
    Pocketful of Miracles
    Lover Come Back
    Two Women
    Blue Hawaii
    The Secret Ways

    1. Hey Flora.
      1. Thanks for the comment, the visit and the tally count.
      2. 44 movies is the current leader….but I have not read Dan’s comment yet.
      3. Flora 44, Steve 28 and me at 21.
      4. You have not seen El Cid? Steve is shaking his head somewhere.
      5. I have seen 7 of your Top 10.
      6. Mmmmm….I wonder why Two Rode Together made the Top 10…..could it be because of Richard Widmark?
      7. Last night….WoC and I saw The Post in theaters….at one point….somebody is watching an old movie on television…..the star of the movie?….Mr. Richard Widmark…..I was not able to figure out what movie it was…..but I thought of you when it popped up on the screen.
      8. I also enjoyed The Guns of Navarone and Blue Hawaii.
      Good stuff as always.

  4. Love these yearly breakdowns. Glad to see them appearing again. Never been a fan of West Side Story. Give me Guns of Navarone, One-Eyed Jacks or El-Cid anyday! Personally looking forward to a breakdown on 1966. Some of my all time favorites are there. The Birds, The Great Escape just to name a few.

    1. Hey Christian…..glad you like these breakdowns….at some point I will return to the 1930s….and eventually have pages for every year from 1930 to 1969. I thought West Side Story was ok…but I am not a musical fan at all. I also enjoyed Guns of Navarone and El-Cid. The newly remastered version of One-Eyed Jacks looks awesome! The Birds and The Great Escape will be in our 1963 page. The Great Escape is one of my all-time favorite movies. Watch it over and over. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

  5. I’ve seen 28 of the 103 films on this chart. hmm I think that’s about the same amount I saw from the 1960 chart.

    Looking at my files I have 51 films from 1961 in my movie collection and I’ve seen 41 of those. Favorites from both charts include – El Cid. King of Kings, Mysterious Island, Blue Hawaii, The Comancheros, Curse of the Werewolf, Day the Earth Caught Fire, Guns of Navarone, The Innocents, 101 Dalmations, Pit and the Pendulum, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, West Side Story, Mothra and Yojimbo.

    Looking at the adjusted domestic chart it’s good to see El Cid, Guns of Navarone and West Side Story were such huge hits. I’m guessing 101 Dalmations box office includes various successful reissues? Disney had an even bigger hit a few years later with The Jungle Book, but I’m thinking the Dalmations reissues helped it top Jungle Book’s grosses over the decades?

    Good stuff as always Bruce. Vote Up!

    1. Hey Steve
      1. Congrats on being the first to comment on our newest page….I imagine with our 1961 page coming so closely behind our 1961 page….that it might not have seen like a new page.
      2. A tally of 28….gotta count….I never count while putting the pages together….I am at….21…maybe 22…..but I barely remember seeing The Honeymoon Machine….so I am not counting that one.
      3. You like El Cid? Shocked…I tell ya SHOCKED!….lol.
      4. As for 101 Dalmations….you are correct that is all the re-releases….as well as the box office mojo number….I have stopped even trying to calculate that number….just check about one a year…and see what they have….and adjust our number…do that with all the Disney CLassics.
      5. I am beginning to think ….1960 and 1970 might be more difficult to find box office numbers….as at least the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s had the ledgers and the Harrison Reports.
      Good feedback as always.

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