As for movies, he may have me beat, but perhaps only because it takes time for films to become "geek classics." I will say that The Matrix blew my mind in middle school, I don't know how many times I watched that one.
Edit: oh, and we thought digital electronics is an essential part of software engineering. So different now.
We have the luxury/advantage of knowing how things work from bottom up, starting from semiconductor physics and logic gates to web server and browser architecture, but an important thing for us, grownups, is to never stop getting excited with new stuff.
The (consumer) Internet came at the absolute perfect time for me.
I had started programming pretty young, dabbled in electronics and other stuff, but had nobody around to share the passion with. So I abandoned computers and went to play the guitar for a couple of years (I sucked).
Then at around 14 the Internet kicked in. I ordered TCP/IP Illustrated Vol. 1 and Practical Unix & Internet Security from Amazon. I started to learn Unix and network programming, made lifelong friends online, and had a magical time learning together and escaping the boredom and banality of high school back in Brazil.
I loved that time. It made a huge difference in my life. As much as I like Star Wars, I'd rather have the Internet in my adolescence.
2009 and Y2K rears its ugly head again.
Pah! anytime in the last 50 or more years is a great time to be born for a geek. It continues to be great.
As far as pop culture goes, the '71 crowd may have been able to see Star Wars in the theater, but I'd rather have a larger selection of movies on tape or DVD than get to see a few movies in the theater at a few particular times. All the SF stuff (books or movies) is still available today, and if a book or movie is really worthwhile it'll still be worthwhile a few decades later. It'll always be the same book or movie, it's not like the difference between seeing a band live in their prime and listening to a CD.
'71 would have allowed me to go to college and still work in a startup throughout the first bubble.
I still feel pretty lucky about my own timing, though.
For outliers, maybe, but for the rest of us, NO!
I was born in 1955, on the same day as James Gosling, inventor of Java.
But I was not an outlier. I was pretty much a regular person from a middle class family who went to public school and aspired to be the first in my family to graduate college. Here's the problem with being born "too soon":
I graduated high school, college, and graduate school without ever having touched a computer. Think about that. Neither of my colleges even had a Comp Sci department. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, far from the leading edges of Boston and California. Nobody, I mean nobody knew anything about computers. They were giant machines that sent your electric bill. Period. Unless you were fortunate to be close to the geek counter culture of Northern California or had parents with millions of dollars, forget it.
I graduated with an MBA and got a job as a restaurant manager (1978 was a lot like 2009). Then I picked up a COBOL book and practically memorized it for a difficult to get programming interview. I got the job and the rest is history.
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had been born 10 or 20 years later. But it's a wasted thought. What if I had been born 10 or 20 years earlier. I'd probably be a retired car dealer now.
The great thing is that now it just doesn't matter. I took a while to get here, but I can't imagine doing anything else. Maybe that's why I'm here so often: making up for lost time.
My memory is as good as it ever was. So is my physical health. (I am extremely grateful for both.) I'm doing my best work ever right now.
To those who suggest you peak earlier in life, all I can say is take care of yourself and you may never peak.
Obviously there's no science in the original post.
Cultural climate changes with time. And it is worth asking whether all of the changes were for the better:
Sometimes "nostalgia" is not an empty illusion, but is instead a longing for the days when actual progress based on original ideas was taking place. This longing can be a productive one, if it motivates you to invent, deviate from prevailing trends, and otherwise fight back against enforced mediocrity.
So, what's my point? Most, if not all, of us were born during the golden era of geekdom (DOB > 1940). Picking the best year is probably a very personal and subjective exercise.