Francois Truffuat: The 400 Blows
My favorite film. This goes straight to my heart and stays there. I absolutely love this movie.
If I could ever make a film as simple and poetic as this, I would consider my efforts done and spend the rest of my days drinking wine and playing petanque.
Blake Edwards: Breakfast at Tiffany's
Yeah, I know... but I'm a sucker for a good love story, cuz that's what it's all about, after all. And this is the best love story I know (with another Audrey movie Roman Holiday, coming in a close second).
Vittorio de Sica: The Bicycle Thief
The story of mankind's eternal struggle told through the tale of a man's bicycle being stolen.
This was one of the first Italian Neo-Realist films and the only professional actor was the fella who played the character of The Thief.
Carl Dreyer: The Passion of Joan of Arc
Pauline Kael, one of the most famous and respected film critics, hailed the performance of Maria Falconetti's in this film as the greatest to ever appear on the silver screen.
Not to be a film snob, or nothing, but this is the movie that serparates the boys from the men.
It's hard to sit through. However, with this flick, you'll earn your chops.
Charlie Chaplin: City Lights
The perfect blending of humor and pathos. Chaplin's greatest film with the single most beautiful ending in the history of cinema.
Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali
This film is black and white with subtitles and the entire thing takes place in a little Indian village. It moves very, very slowly and the first time I saw it I couldn't wait for it to end. Yet, afterwards, I was unable to shake the movie from my mind. For weeks it sat around in my head, poking at me.
It's films like this that make me feel like I have no idea what I'm doing as a filmmaker. It's difficult to grasp the subtle, yet extremely powerful methods at work here.
Sergio Leone: Once Upon a Time in the West
The western to end all westerns. The baddest bad guys, the most mysterious strangers, and the epic scope and theme of the wild west.
Be dedicated when you watch this, for it moves slowly. But most definitely watch it.
Kevin Costner: Dances with Wolves
A great example of how good Hollywood can be.
This film is not just a great film about America, or the West, or a new attitude towards Native Americans. On a much deeper level, it's about man's attempt to truly be free.
Throughout the film, the main character slowly frees himself from the bonds of his Western/American society. But he doesn't just replace one set of rules with another, moving from being a White man to that of an Indian. Instead he frees himself altogether, and, along with his woman, enters the wild.
The final scene of him on his horse is one of the truly liberating scenes in cinema.
Richard Linklater: Before Sunrise
My favorite current director and the best depiction of our generation, as well as a keen observation on the differences between Americans and Europeans.
Federico Fellini: La Strada
I don't really remember why I liked this film, but I know that as soon as it was done I turned to Erika and said "That was a great movie".
That's significant to me because people usually complain that I never have anything good to say about movies... that I'm jaded. That idea was actually bugging me around the time I saw this.
So, afterwards, when I realized that I totally dug this flick, it became clear to me that I'm not jaded after all... it's just that most movies suck.
Stephen Daldry: The Hours
I don't think I have ever been as emotionally affected by a film as I was by this one. When it was finally over, I actually had trouble breathing, and couldn't talk to anyone for several minutes.
Since then, it has deeply impacted by life and my worldview.
I don't expect it will effect everyone nearly the same, but for me, it hit just the right button at just the right time.
William Wyler: Roman Holiday
This is the other great Audrey Hepburn love-story. I defy anyone to see this movie and not be sad as heck at the end. If you aren't, you're a cold, heartless Republican.
- Tom Cohen: Family Business
Hands down, this is the best documentary I've ever seen.
It's the story of some guy and his family in middle America somewhere trying to make a living by running their Shakey's pizza restuarant.
It is so intimate that years later you'll swear you experienced these events yourself.
In the end, it's as good a portrait of the American Dream as you will ever see and it's a magnificient testament to the ability of art to say so much with so very little.
Chris Horvath: Leisure
A fine, fine film. Great characters.