- This is the year of the record Oscar-winning film, Ben Hur, directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston.

- In Europe, French film director Jean-Luc Godard makes A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) and the Italian Federico Fellini releases La Dolce Vita.

- In the US, John Fitzgerald Kennedy is elected president. The first Catholic president in the country’s history faces ever increasing problems: street protests against racial discrimination spread across the South, provoking conflict and arrests in various cities.  In foreign policy, the new president of Cuba, Fidel Castro, decides to expropriate American property in retaliation for the economic blockade imposed by the U.S.

- At the end of the year, a news item that would forever change sexual (and social) relations in the world: the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) approves the use of the birth control pill, authorized for sale in Brazil in the second half of the following year.