I have to acknowledge up front that the highest-grossing film of the year was also the Academy Award winner: Lawrence of Arabia. A British film. But the Yanks had a memorable year as well, in fact we produced some terrific films in 1962. To wit:
The Longest Day — John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, and a huge international cast storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
To Kill a Mockingbird — Gregory Peck wins Best Actor portraying Atticus Finch in the classic film version of Harper Lee’s novel.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane — A horror film with an elderly Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. That’s scary.
The Music Man — When musicals still could draw crowds, this faithful version of the Meredith Wilson show starred Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.
Mutiny on the Bounty — Neither the first nor the last time this story has been brought to the screen, but with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard, probably the best.
Gypsy — Another great musical. With lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne, how could it be less than a hit?
The Miracle Worker — It started on television in the anthology series Playhouse 90, then went to Broadway, and Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke reprised their stage roles in the film. Bancroft received Best Actress and Duke earned Best Supporting Actress.
Advise and Consent — Otto Preminger brought this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the big screen with Henry Fonda in the lead.
Birdman of Alcatraz — Burt Lancaster in the story of the prisoner who actually spent most of his time at Leavenworth. Go figure.
Cape Fear — Robert Mitchum terrorizes Gregory Peck’s family.
Dr. No — Sean Connery makes an international splash in the very first James Bond movie. If I remember correctly, a few more have been made since.
How the West Was Won — More remarkable now as one of the last of the epic movies with a huge all-star cast.
Lolita — This story scandalized the public in 1962. One of Stanley Kubrick’s first movies, with James Mason and Sue Lyon.
The Manchurian Candidate — Frank Sinatra proves he really could act in this Cold War thriller.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance — One of the great John Ford’s last Westerns, starring Jimmy Stewart.
That Touch of Mink — Not particularly memorable, but it starred Cary Grant and Doris Day in a romantic comedy, and that’s enough.