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Check Out The Only Top 10 List Stanley Kubrick Ever Made

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by Drew Taylor
July 30, 2013 11:22 AM
4 Comments
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Barry Lyndon Stanley Kubrick

We live in an era where everything must be quantified and catalogued, and part of that is with an endless series of lists (which turns us all into the John Cusack character in "High Fidelity"). It's common these days for filmmakers, especially those as obsessed with movies as most critics, to release lists at the end of the year, or if a new movie is coming out and they want to talk about their influences, to describe the handful of films that might have been most impactful. But someone who seemingly never made a list, despite his obsessively organizational habits, was Stanley Kubrick. On the occasion of what would have been the filmmaker's 85th birthday, Nick Wrigley, with the help of Jan Harlan, Kubrick's producer and brother-in-law, have uncovered the director's list of top 10 films (the first and only list he ever created, seemingly). What did one of the greatest directors of all time think were the greatest films of all time?

Keep in mind that the list was submitted to a fledging movie magazine called Cinema way back in 1963 (the magazine ceased publication in 1976), so it's possible that this list would have been very different decades later. Still, it's a fascinating peek at what Kubrick loved. The list follows:

1.) "I Vitelloni" (Fellini, 1953)

2.) "Wild Strawberries" (Bergman, 1957)

3.) "Citizen Kane" (Welles, 1941)

4.) "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (Huston, 1948)

5.) "City Lights" (Chaplin, 1931)

6.) "Henry V" (Olivier, 1944)

7.) "La Notte" (Antonioni, 1961)

8.) "The Bank Dick" (Fields, 1940)

9.) "Roxie Hart" (Wellman, 1942)

10.) "Hell's Angels" (Hughes, 1930)

And while, in some respects, it's a fairly standard list, without any noticeably oddball choices for a director well-respected for his wide range of taste, it's still the work of a relatively young filmmaker and, again, we would have loved to have seen the same list but twenty years later. It's interesting to note how recently some of these movies had been released—"La Notte," for instance, came out just two years before Kubrick compiled this list. And already it became one of his all time faves. When Kubrick knew, he knew

Of course, Kubrick was always taking notes about what he loved, and Harlan has helped Wrigley make a list of some more of his favorites (which include everything from "Harold and Maude" to "Freebie and the Bean" to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"). Where do your tastes overlap with one of cinema's masters?

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4 Comments

  • joebranca | July 31, 2013 12:47 AMReply

    I'd think Abre Los Ojos would make his list too, since it seemed to be such a strong template for how he filmed EWS.

  • Mr Fist | July 30, 2013 11:37 AMReply

    Had Kubrick made a list just before he died, no doubt Eraserhead would be high on the list.

  • D | July 30, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    There's a website called The Playlist which really is CRAZY about dem lists and top tens (9 out of 10 "what's poppin" entries)...

    And it's amazing how, with the addition of the two minuscule words "so" and "far", you can pop up even more of them!
    The best movies of 2013 so far. Best BO success of the month so far. Best top ten list of the week so far. The best movie of the day so far.

  • Blue | March 7, 2014 2:56 PM

    This post deserves posthumous praise.

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