Unedited Vintage Photos Celebrating the 60s, 70s, and 80s
In the modern era, we have tools like Photoshop that allow us to edit images to show ourselves and others as we want them to be. However, back in the day, photos were more “what you see is what you get.”
Moreover, when it comes to some of these iconic old images, we wouldn’t change a thing. The people who came before us were either naturally cool or just so relaxed that they didn’t even know they were cool.
Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic unedited vintage photos of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
1. Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner on Set of “The Magnificent Seven” in 1960
The 1960s hit film The Magnificent Seven was actually a remake of an earlier film by Akira Kurosawa called Seven Samurai. However, The Magnificent Seven stands out as a huge hit in the era of western movies.
Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner play classic cowboy actors in the movie, but McQueen later went on to do more things in his career. On the other hand, Brynner played similar characters in westerns in Italy. Nevertheless, The Magnificent Seven is one of the best westerns ever made.
2. Karen Carpenter Playing Drums in 1972
Long before the angelic voice of Karen Carpenter graced the radio, she was the drummer for her brother’s band. The Carpenters were talented young people and true musicians. In fact, Richard Carpenter wrote most of their songs himself.
In the group’s early live shows, Karen sang and played the drums at the same time. However, eventually, she was moved to the front and Richard had to hire another drummer. The world wanted Karen’s voice, and we’re better off for having enjoyed it.
3. Freddie Mercury and the Love of His Life Mary Austin
Queen frontman Freddie Mercury identified as bisexual, though most people assumed he was gay. The fact is, he never loved anyone as much as he loved his longtime girlfriend (and later BFF) Mary Austin.
When they broke up, Freddie bought Mary a house next door to his home so that he could always keep an eye on her. He wrote the song “Love of My Life” in honor of Mary, and he left her the bulk of his estate when he died.
4. John Travolta Dancing at Studio 54
Although the famous hedonism of Ancient Rome is legendary, it was nearly matched by the hedonism in the 1970s in the United States, particularly in larger cities like New York City.
The Vietnam War continued across the globe, but that didn’t stop celebrities like John Travolta and countless others from heating up the dance floor at Studio 54. In the years from 1977 through 1980, it was one of the hottest spots in the world to be rich, famous, young, and hot.
5. Billy Joel Hanging Out by an “Illegal Drinking” Sign Holding a Beer
In 1974, rocker Billy Joel released his third album, “Streetlife Serenade,” and the followup to his megahit “Piano Man.” That year, Joel was spending a lot of time in Los Angeles, but he started to miss his home in the Bronx.
Billy Joel loved to drink. In a 2013 interview with the New York Times, he explained that he started with Dewars White Label Scotch and then moved to vodka, calling it a “hard-core alky” beverage. However, he later grew to hate even the smell of it.
6. “Jungle Pam” 1970s Drag Race Sweetheart
This iconic young woman was a sidekick to Jungle Jim Lieberman, a madcap drag racing madman. Jungle Pam was out there on the blacktop during a pioneering time in the sport of drag racing. Her real name was Pamela Hardy, and she met Jungle Jim in 1972 while she was still in high school.
She was walking to a town in Pennsylvania called West Chester and Jungle Jim pulled up beside her in his Corvette and introduced himself. They hit the road together and a legendary duo was born.
7. KISS's Paul Stanley Preparing to Perform
In the era of “big hair bands,” few bands fit the ideal better than KISS. With their exotic makeup and unbelievable talent, the members of the band captured the imagination of the entire world.
The guys in the band had personas that were larger than life, and their 1975 album “Alive!” ensured their status as rock icons would remain forever entrenched in American culture. In this photo, Paul Stanley rocks six-inch heels and wears his customary makeup. Gene Simmons was the lead singer, but everyone loved Paul Stanley.
8. “Planet of the Apes” Gorilla Costume and Makeup Test
On April 12, 1967, the creators of the movie Planet of the Apes did a costume and makeup test with an actor. The makeup was the creation of makeup artist John Chambers, who enjoyed a $1 million budget.
With that money, Chambers had to get 200 actors looking like apes, and it took a full three hours for every actor. The makeup was so realistic that Chambers ended up taking home an honorary Academy Award 10 years before the award even existed.
9. Random Couple Photographed at Woodstock
During the week of August 15-18, 1969, a bunch of young people took over a Bethel, New York dairy farm for a music festival. The events that happened that week have gone down in history and the festival was called Woodstock.
Woodstock was known as “an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music” and it captured the imagination of people for decades. The event attracted more than 400,000 people and defined the counterculture generation of that era. This photo went viral and the style lives on.
10. Bettie Page Posing with Zebras in 1954 Wearing an Animal-Print Bathing Suit
In the early 1950s, a pinup girl named Bettie Page captured the imagination of the entire world. She was already a famous model in New York before this film shoot that took place in Boca Raton, Florida. However, being photographed at a wildlife park by photographer Bunny Yeager made her even more well-known.
This group of photos was called “Jungle Bettie” and featured the star wearing leopard print lingerie that she actually sewed herself. When Hugh Hefner saw the photos, he made her January 1955’s Playmate of the Month.
11. Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young in 1976 on the Set of “Rocky”
Stallone’s rise to success is the stuff of legends, but the fact is that he was a struggling character actor in 1975. In fact, he claims that he only had about a hundred bucks in the bank when he saw a boxing match between Chuck Wepner and Muhammad Ali.
An idea was born, and Stallone got busy writing the script for Rocky. It only took him three and a half days. After rewriting and editing, along with deal-making, Stallone started filming the movie in January 1976.
12. 1977 Meant Barbara Bach and “The Spy Who Loved Me”
Native New Yorker Barbara Bach was a beauty who got her start as a model for magazines like Vogue and Seventeen. However, acting was her destiny and she got her start when she played in an Italian version of The Odyssey.
In the film, she played Nausicaa and from there, she became a legendary Bond Girl, Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me. Even more famous than her acting career is her marriage. Bach married Ringo Starr, the beloved Beatles drummer, and they’re still married today.
13. Johnny Cash in L.A. in 1962
In 1962, “The Man in Black” Johnny Cash was at the peak of his fame, even though he had a problem with prescription medication. It was that year that he released three albums, including “All Aboard the Blue Train,” “The Sound of Johnny Cash,” and “Hymns from the Heart.”
Cash finished 1962 as strong as he started, delivering a Los Angeles New Year’s Eve show to a huge crowd, after touring small towns and big cities for the entire year. The man was a hard worker.
14. Joey Heatherton and Bob Hope Entertain Troops in Vietnam in 1966
Even as early as 1962, legendary entertainer Bob Hope tried to visit the troops in Vietnam, but the conditions were unsafe. Finally, he got to the country in 1964, when he did his first USO show in December.
That first show was only for local troops, but the following shows were filmed and later aired as Bob Hope holiday specials. For every show, Hope brought in special performers such as Joey Heatherton, who starred in My Blood Runs Cold. She sometimes danced with the soldiers, much to their delight.
15. Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger had some cute boyish looks in the 1960s, but that all changed when a new decade came around. In the 1970s, Jagger even started to look like a bit of a biker with a beard.
However, Jagger has always loved beautiful women and there has been no shortage of them in his career. His long-time love was supermodel Jerry Hall, with whom he has four children. In her memoir, Hall said that they struggled through Jagger’s heroin addiction.
16. Donna Mills and Clint Eastwood in 1971 in “Play Misty for Me”
While “Play Misty for Me” may sound like it’s a sweet romance drama, it was actually a very intense psychological thriller. The movie was the first film directed by Clint Eastwood, and it premiered in 1971.
The plot involves Eastwood playing a radio DJ who experiences stalking from a crazed fan. Eastwood had been acting since 1955 when he starred in the dubiously named Revenge of the Creature, but he has come into his own as an Academy Award-winning director.
17. Dodge Challenger Ad in 1972
In 1972, the Dodge automobile company released a muscle car that would become a legend. The Dodge Challenger had sleek curves and a hot hood that made drivers feel like they were driving a retro-futuristic spaceship.
The first generation of these iconic cars was genuinely a work of art, and it’s easy to picture a dude behind the wheel with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeves. Meanwhile, Aerosmith would be blasting from the car’s radio. These classic cars are still popular today.
18. Robert Plant Enjoying a Delicious Ice Cream Cone in Chicago in 1977
In 1977, the epic rock band Led Zeppelin embarked on their last U.S. tour. Before leaving for the U.S., Robert Plant came down with laryngitis, so the tour was pushed back for a full month. However, the instruments had already been shipped to the States, so the band members couldn’t even rehearse.
Plant was nervous about going a month without practice, but that didn’t slow down record sales. The sales were off the charts and the concerts had high attendance. Maybe the ice cream soothed Plant’s sore throat.
19. Raquel Welch's Appearance on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972
Talk show host Dick Cavett was supposedly exhausted from doing his show by 1972. He had been interviewing celebrities for five nights a week for several years by that time. However, one of his last interviews was with the beautiful actress and sex symbol Raquel Welch.
Welch had been a regular guest on the show and was reportedly one of Cavett’s favorites, but even she wasn’t enough to keep him excited about his show. In a later interview, he said that he was no longer “interested.”
20. Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles in the 1960s
At one point, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix ended the “Experience.” Then he added drummer Buddy Miles and bass guitar player Billy Cox to create a different kind of sound. The band made a live album titled “Band of Gypsies,” and recorded it live at New York City’s famous Fillmore East.
Over two nights and four shows, the group recorded a total of 47 songs and played lots of new material, including “Voodoo Child” and “Purple Haze.” This work proved that Hendrix could roll with whatever changes he wanted to.
21. Stanley Kubrick Behind the Scenes Making “A Clockwork Orange”
If you’ve never seen A Clockwork Orange, you’re missing out. Some people say that it’s absolute insanity. It’s also probably one of the closest things to a musical that director Stanley Kubrick ever directed.
However, some critics argue that the violent imagery and sexuality in the film are just too much. Kubrick thought that was ridiculous, and even suggested that people are just as likely to be corrupted by watching Richard III. In his opinion, the film is a work of art.
22. Autumn Leaves and Ann-Margret
By the time 1965 rolled around, the Swedish actress Ann-Margret was a bona fide star. She appeared with Elvis Presley in “Viva Las Vegas,” but she had also been nominated for some pretty big awards, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
She even won a Golden Globe, and though she wasn’t the classic “blonde bombshell,” Ann wasn’t just a fly-by-night celebrity. In this photo, she was taking a break from acting to star in some successful Las Vegas shows.
23. Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate”
It seems like there was no one Anne Bancroft couldn’t seduce. She had gorgeous smokey eyes, a sultry mouth, and a husky voice that apparently ignited fires in the loins of most young men who watched the hit movie The Graduate.
Some people believe it was Bancroft’s role as “Mrs. Robinson” that made older women sexier in the eyes of younger men all over the world. As it turns out, however, Bancroft wasn’t the first choice for the role. Nevertheless, she ended up getting it and the world is grateful.
24. An Amazing Gibson Guitar Ad from 1953
The world has had solid-body electric guitars since the 1930s, but none have ever matched the coolness factor of the Gibson Les Paul guitar. It was introduced in 1952, and the earlier models featured “soap bar” pickups and a bridge in trapeze style that required that the strings were placed underneath the bridge instead of the way they were placed in later models (over the bridge).
The bodies of some of the earlier gold tops had a signature gold color, but some models somehow came out with their entire guitar in gold.
25. Patty Provo, the Beautiful Italian Singer
An Italian singer took the world by storm in the 1960s and 1970s, and her name was Patty Provo. She sang iconic songs like “Se C’E’ L’Amore” and “La Bambola” and brought these delightful Italian tunes to a global audience.
The lady was 5’2” and had gorgeous blue eyes. It seemed that everyone fell in love with her, including the poet, Ezra Pound, as well as Pope John XXIII whom she was friends with by the time she turned 15. Later, in 1980, she even posed for Playboy.
26. Brian Jones and Donyale Luna in 1968
By the time 1968 rolled around, musician Brian Jones had played on and written some of the biggest rock and roll songs of the entire decade. He was one of the first members of The Rolling Stones and wrote many of their early hits.
Donyale Luna was the first woman of color who ever appeared on British Vogue’s cover, and she was the first Black supermodel. That these two would meet is not surprising, but there’s no record of them ever being in a romantic relationship.
27. 1955 Found Jayne Mansfield in Ballet Slippers
After Jayne Mansfield starred in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter, she was just becoming famous. At that time, producers were prepared to go all-in with Mansfield and fully invest in her. In fact, she was hired specifically to replace Marilyn Monroe with 20th Century Fox.
Mansfield was huge at the time and later appeared in higher-budget films. However, she was much more than just a pretty face and a blonde bombshell. The actress won a Golden Globe Award as a new star.
28. Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall in “Popeye”
Some people in the industry were surprised when the director of MASH and Nashville decided to direct a screen adaptation of “Popeye,” a 1920-era cartoon. However, when you teamed up Robin Williams with anyone else, magic was bound to happen.
Popeye was one of the roles in which Williams proved that he could play anything or anyone, and he did it beautifully. On the set, there was apparently rampant drug use, and an entire city had to be built in the country of Malta. Good times!
29. Reba McIntire Performing at Gilley's in 1983
Gilley’s is a bar and club in Pasadena, Texas that was made famous by the movie Urban Cowboy. A lot of country music superstars got their starts singing at Gilley’s, and one of them was country sweetheart Reba McIntire.
Gilley’s is a bit of a dingy place, but it sure has turned out some solid musicians. In 1983, Reba was performing and touring with her fifty studio album, “Behind the Scene.” The album wasn’t her top performer, but she lit up the stage at Gilley’s.
30. The Isle of Wight and a Group of Hells Angels in 1969
When a group of the notorious biker group, Hells Angels, arrived at the Isle of Wight in 1969, they weren’t there to tour the small island. Indeed, they showed up for a huge rock and roll festival that attracted more than 600,000 people.
The festival was the final U.K. performance of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and the Hells Angels were the smallest problem at the concert. Apparently, there was a major toilet problem. The cubicles didn’t have doors, and they were suspended over deep trenches.
31. 1985 Sharon Stone
Long before Sharon Stone captivated audiences with movies like Basic Instinct, she was acting in films like Deadly Blessing and King Solomon’s Mines. However, her first role was in a Woody Allen flick called Stardust Memories.
Before all of that, she was a model in New York and Europe, but she knew early on that acting would be her calling. Since those days, she has won a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award. She has also been nominated for an Oscar.
32. Young Faye Dunaway Hanging Out on a Boat
You wouldn’t know it by her striking good looks, but actress Faye Dunaway famously had a nasty temper on set. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop Warren Beatty from casting her as “Bonnie Parker” in his 1967 hit film Bonnie & Clyde.
At first, Beatty was unsure if Dunaway could give him exactly what he wanted for the role of “Bonnie” because she had such an exotic look, but when he saw these photos of her posing on a beach looking like a regular small-town girl, he changed his mind.
33. “The Honeymooners” in 1955-1956
In the late 1950s, one of the most fun ways to spend an evening together as a family was watching the super-popular TV show The Honeymooners. The show itself ran for 39 episodes, but it was equally popular with a new generation who watched the show via reruns.
The show starred Jackie Gleason as a New York City bus driver named Ralph Kramden. Kramden was in a forever verbal sparring match with Alice, his wife. Their upstairs neighbors, the Nortons, often got involved.
34. Madeline Kahn Stars in “Young Frankenstein” in 1972
Madeline Kahn was a promising young comedian, and she had a habit of stealing the show in whatever project she starred in. However, her best work was in Mel Brooks’ films, and in 1974, she appeared in two of them: Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles.
In her role of Elizabeth Benning in Young Frankenstein, she was particularly excellent opposite Gene Wilder. She lit up the screen and proved her worth in show business. She was the original smart, fast-talking, and sexy young actress.
35. Super Sexy Jayne Mansfield in a Leopard Print Bikini
Considered to be one of the most famous “blonde bombshells” of all time, Jayne Mansfield landed in Hollywood courtesy of the state of Pennsylvania. In February 1956, she starred in a movie called The Girl Can’t Help It with Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Eddie Cochran.
Even through the 1960s, Mansfield’s fame grew, and she took her successful nightclub act out onto the road. She appeared with Bob Hope for USO shows and even hung out with Church of Satan star Anton LeVay.
36. Michael Keaton Getting His Beetlejuice Make-Over
The ever-so popular horror-comedy film, Beetlejuice, hit theaters in 1988. Michael Keaton played the star of the show, a poltergeist spirit who is quite the haunting trickster.
Even though Keaton only appeared in the film for 15 minutes, his role and look quickly became iconic for generations to come. Here we see the movie’s makeup team working on Keaton to transform him into this memorable character.
37. “Romancing the Stone” with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas
The movie Romancing the Stone went down as one of the most fun romantic comedies in history. Women say they loved it because it was funny and sweet, while men love the movie because it’s action-packed.
The movie starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Turner’s character is a romance novelist who ran to Columbia after someone attempted to kill her to get their hands on a treasure map. Douglas was her hero, and he was an exotic bird smuggler. Together, the two were fire on screen.
38. Brigitte Bardot Decked Out in Leather
Some folks have a hard time recalling the names of any of Brigitte Bardot’s movies, but most people recognize the gorgeous French actress and model. She started modeling at the tender age of 15, and three years after that, she appeared in her first film.
Bardot’s big break came when she starred in And God Created Woman in 1956. Bardot is considered to be one of the most beautiful actresses who ever graced the big screen, and she retired to become an activist for animal rights.
39. Dan Aykroyd and Laraine Newman as Coneheads in 1977
If you’ve never seen the “Coneheads,” you’ve missed a strange but awesome part of American TV. The Coneheads were from another planet, but they pretended to be French. Regardless, they were just as quirky as your average next-door neighbor.
The show was all Dan Aykroyd’s idea, which he said was inspired by the heads he saw on Easter Island. However, his buddy Jim Belushi claims he got the idea from nugs of marijuana. Who knows which is true? Maybe both stories.
40. Courteney Cox Modeling in 1989
Known mostly for her role in the hit TV show Friends, Courteney Cox has recently starred in hits like Cougar Town. The lady grew up in Alabama, and first got into the film industry while attending college in Maryland.
It didn’t take Cox long to ditch college altogether once she realized that she could make a lot of money modeling and acting, and it has obviously paid off for her. For two seasons, she also appeared on Family Ties as Michael J. Fox’s girlfriend.
41. Dean Martin and the Gold Diggers
It seems like the iconic entertainer Dean Martin was always surrounded by gorgeous women, and that was definitely true during the run of his popular variety show. One act that he had on his show was a singing and dancing group of women called “The Golddiggers.”
The group was composed of several young women who danced, sang, and performed sketches on the show. They were tremendously popular, so much so that they eventually had their own special, titled “The Golddiggers in London.”