Movies That Defined Boomers' Social Change


With the baby boomer generation came cinematic gems from the mid-1960s to the 1980s and a new wave of directors, coinciding with the New Hollywood. Themes reflected the darker parts of humanity and society more openly and grittier and touched on rebellious youth.

They tackled topics like race, sex, gender, and LGBTQ in different ways than they had done before. These movies are all streaming these days, and whether you’re nostalgic or seeing them for the first time, you can watch them now.

It was based on The Story of the Trapp Family by Maria Trapp, set in Salzburg, Austria. Maria (Julie Andrews) shares her experiences as a governess to seven children, her eventual marriage to Captain Georg Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), and their escape during the Anschluss in 1938.

The Sound of Music (1965)

This romantic comedy-drama, directed by Mike Nichols, is about young boomers rejecting their parents’ world.  The story centers on 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate who returns home to a graduation party.

The Graduate 1967

Produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, this romantic comedy-drama broke new ground as one of few films to positively depict an interracial marriage as the Supreme Court was about to strike down anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia, allowing mixed-race marriages in 1967.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 1967

This epic sci-fi film, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, was inspired by author Arthur C. Clarke’s short stories. The film stars Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood and follows a voyage by astronauts, scientists, and sentient supercomputer HAL to Jupiter to investigate an alien monolith.

2001: A Space Odyssey 1968

Married couple Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes) move into a large building in NYC despite knowing the previous one, who recently died, had displayed bizarre behaviors like moving heavy furniture around.

Rosemary’s Baby 1968

Midnight Cowboy, set in NYC, is a drama film directed by John Schlesinger and a powerful cast headed by Dustin Hoffman as an ailing con man Rico Rizzo (“Ratso”) and Jon Voight as Joe Buck, a young Texan.

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

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