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Couch Comfort: 13 1960s movies for the whole family

Dick Van Dyke (left) is airborne during

 Dick Van Dyke (left) is airborne during a dance with Julie Andrews in "Mary Poppins."   Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Don Brinn

The definitive movie of the 1960s may have been “Easy Rider,” but the decade wasn’t all hippies, bikers and acid trips. Hollywood was still turning out comedies, musicals, science-fiction films and crime-capers — many suitable for tweens and kids. For families in need of home entertainment during the shutdown, we’ve chosen a few titles from the turbulent ‘60s that should offer relatively smooth sailing.

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1964) You don’t need to be a Beatles fan to enjoy their film debut, but you might be one when it’s over. Intended as a quick cash-in, the movie turned into something magical under the direction of Richard Lester (later of “Superman II”), who perfectly captured the Fab Four’s giddy energy and cheeky humor. The climactic concert, before a crowd of weeping teenagers, is a rapturous moment. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

CHARADE (1963) Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in a romantic-screwball-comedy-thriller — what more do you want? The two stars flirt delightfully in a movie that zigs and zags through hotel rooms and several secret identities, though plot is clearly secondary to chemistry. Director Stanley Donen, in a Hitchcockian mood, whips the whole thing into a candy-colored confection, perfect for a homebound Friday night. (Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966) To save the life of an important scientist, a team of specialists are shrunk to microscopic size and injected into his bloodstream. What follows is a mix of Cold War anxiety, Jules Verne-style adventure (look out for that arteriovenous fistula!) and psychedelic color-palettes. With Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch and Edmond O’Brien. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963) A dying man’s story of buried cash sets off a scramble among several strangers. Stanley Kramer’s epic-length farce (the “restored cut” runs more than three hours) features just about every comedian of the day, including Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters and Buddy Hackett, while the great Spencer Tracy plays a cop who gets in the middle of it all. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

MARY POPPINS (1964) Disney’s classic about a practically perfect nanny (Julie Andrews) who takes charge of a troubled English family is always worth a revisit. Avoid the oddly sexualized sequel, “Mary Poppins Returns,” but make some time for the 2013 behind-the-scenes drama “Saving Mr. Banks,” starring Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

OLIVER! (1968) Carol Reed’s somewhat overlooked entry (the last G-rated film to win a Best Picture Oscar) in the musical genre, an adaptation of Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” features a fine British cast led by Oliver Reed as the villain Bill Sikes. Few of the faces will be familiar to Americans, but the songs will: “Food, Glorious Food,” “Consider Yourself” and others. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

PLAYTIME (1967) To capture the essence of life in a city, filmmaker Jacques Tati employed 100 construction workers to build one from scratch, then filmed there for three years. The result is this one-of-a-kind symphony of sight gags, optical illusions, visual beauty and plain old slapstick — a treat for cineastes and kids alike. (Amazon, iTunes, Google Play)

THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) Older kids should enjoy this World War II thriller starring a supercool Steve McQueen as an Air Force Captain determined to break out of a Nazi POW camp. The action and suspense are top-notch, and so is the cast, which includes James Garner, Charles Bronson, Richard Attenborough and James Coburn. Get comfy and make plenty of popcorn: It runs 172 minutes. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

THE ITALIAN JOB (1969) Michael Caine brings London cool to romantic Italy in this swingin’ crime caper. With an eclectic cast (Noel Coward, Benny Hill) and cinematic style to burn, it’s the predecessor to the “Ocean’s 11” series and most Guy Ritchie films. The movie has some explosive action and racy talk, but the MPAA gave it a G rating. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu)

THE LOVE BUG (1968) Leave it to Disney to turn a counterculture icon — the Volkswagen Beetle — into a cuddly little car named Herbie. The four-wheeled star shares the screen with Buddy Hackett, Dean Jones and David Tomlinson (of “Mary Poppins”). The film, one of Walt Disney’s last before his death, was the third-biggest hit of the year, just behind “Funny Girl.” (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963) Fans of Jerry Lewis and his detractors can agree: This is his masterpiece, a vibrantly colored comedy about a nerdy prof who transforms himself into a womanizing lounge lizard. Note to kids: Student-teacher dating is now frowned upon. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) Julie Andrews won the Oscar for “Mary Poppins,” but her finest performance is arguably as Maria, the young nun who joins the singing Von Trapp family just before the Nazis take over Austria. It’s the movie with everything: romance, drama, thrills and an unstoppable musical score from Rodgers and Hammerstein. (YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu)

VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964) Elvis Presley meets his match in Ann-Margret in this hip-shaking musical. The chemistry between the high-energy stars is undeniable — they reportedly had an affair during filming — and the whole movie is wholesome, cornball fun. Look for a young Teri Garr among the dancers. (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu)

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