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10 Filmmakers' Top 10 Films Lists: Scorsese, Kubrick, Allen, Tarantino, Nolan and More

by Beth Hanna
August 1, 2013 1:16 PM
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Kurosawa and Francis Ford Coppola
Kurosawa and Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

The Apartment (Wilder, 1960)

Ashes and Diamonds (Wajda, 1958)

The Bad Sleep Well (Kurosawa, 1960)

The Best Years of Our Lives (Wyler, 1946)

I Vitelloni (Fellini, 1953)

The King of Comedy (Scorsese, 1983)

Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980)

Singin’ in the Rain (Donen/Kelley, 19510)

Sunrise (Murnau, 1927)

Yojimbo (Kurosawa, 1961)

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)

The Bad News Bears (Ritchie, 1976)

Carrie (de Palma, 1976)

Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (Leone, 1966)

The Great Escape (Sturges, 1963)

His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1939)

Jaws (Spielberg, 1975)

Pretty Maids All in a Row (Vadim, 1971)

Rolling Thunder (Flynn, 1977)

Sorcerer (Friedkin, 1977)

Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)

Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright

2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)

An American Werewolf in London (Landis, 1981)

Carrie (de Palma, 1976)

Dames (Enright/Berkeley, 1934)

Don’t Look Now (Roeg, 1973)

Duck Soup (McCarey, 1933)

Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)

Raising Arizona (Coen, 1987)

Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)

The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969)

Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro

8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

La Belle et la Bete (Cocteau, 1946)

Frankenstein (Whale, 1931)

Freaks (Browning, 1932)

Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990)

Greed (von Stroheim, 1925)

Los Olvidados (Bunuel, 1950)

Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936)

Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922)

Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1943)

Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

Fish Tank (Arnold, 2009)

Days of Heaven (Malick, 1978)

Broadcast News (Brooks, 1987)

Weekend (Haigh, 2011)

(tie) La Pointe Coure, Cleo from 5 to 7, Le bonheur, Vagabond (Varda)

(tie) The Marriage of Maria Braun, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir, 1975)

(tie) Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971), Dead Ringers (Cronenberg, 1988)

Through a Glass Darkly (Bergman, 1961)

The War Room (Hegedus/Pennebaker, 1993)

Rian Johnson
Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson

8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

Brazil (Gilliam, 1985)

F for Fake (Welles, 1975)

Amarcord (Fellini, 1972)

Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1982)

M. Hulot’s Holiday (Tati, 1953)

Scenes from a Marriage (Bergman, 1973)

The Third Man (Reed, 1949)

The Bad Sleep Well (Kurosawa, 1960)

Down by Law (Jarmusch, 1986)

Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan

The Hit (Frears, 1984)

Twelve Angry Men (Lumet, 1957)

The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998)

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Lang, 1933)

Bad Timing (Roeg, 1980)

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Oshima, 1983)

For All Mankind (Reinert, 1989)

Koyaanisqatsi (Reggio, 1983)

Mr. Arkadin (Welles, 1955)

Greed (von Stroheim, 1925)


  • Brian | March 21, 2014 1:26 AMReply

    Interesting that Carrie is in QT's top 10 list. I recently watched him at sbbif saying that "blow out" was the best brian de palma film.

  • MAX CADY | August 4, 2013 2:32 AMReply

    thank you tarantino
    i hope his list will inspire people to watch SORCERER
    it is like hurt locker
    so intense it takes your breath away

    imagine chief brody driving a truck with nitro on a bad road

  • Manni | August 3, 2013 6:15 PMReply

    It's "Wajda", not "Wadja" ("Ashes and Diamonds").

  • Sediqua | August 3, 2013 1:44 AMReply

    Who the fuck cares about Lena Dunham?

  • Ari | August 12, 2013 1:21 PM

    Thank you and while we're at, how about tossing out Rian Johnson too!

  • A Jackson | August 2, 2013 10:49 PMReply

    All in all a bit eclectic.
    Except for Scorsese and Allen , who seem to fit the 10 year Sight and Sound consensus , which , except for the strange 2012 poll results seems to average out as the best poll.
    Why Satyajit Ray cannot rise into recognition passes beyond by understanding.

  • Helluva | August 2, 2013 9:42 AMReply

    I was encouraged that I shared more favorites with Woody Allen than the others (on page 1) 'til I got to QT's list (one of my least favorite filmmakers) and saw that he & I have at least 4 of 10 in common. Interesting...

  • Helluva | August 2, 2013 9:44 AM

    Nice article by the way.

  • JAB | August 1, 2013 9:03 PMReply

    (Ditto on the Dunham inclusion unless toh! is trying to undermine its cred.)
    Even with the "Criterion" qualification, I love Nolan's inclusion of "Koyaanisqatsi". Now if we can get Bigelow, Fincher, Greengrass & Spielberg to weigh in on their favorite 10.

  • Yatagarasu | August 1, 2013 7:57 PMReply

    Why the hell is Dunham included with those great directors? She's only directed one movie and has created a TV show.

    Seriously, what is with the media and their propaganda like worship of Lena Dunham? The constant attempts to put her alongside the greatest filmmakers/TV creators of all time? It's insulting.

  • Incognito | August 2, 2013 4:04 PM

    3 years from now Girls will be off the air and nobody will talk about Dunham, and that is not an actual top ten it's just the list of films she is pretty sure none of her hipster buddy saw yet and she can claim that she saw those first.

  • Justin Chang | August 1, 2013 5:57 PMReply

    Small detail for the record: On "Ugetsu Monogatari," the director's surname is Mizoguchi, not Kenji.

  • Beth Hanna | August 1, 2013 6:28 PM

    @Justin Chang -- Good eye, thanks. It's been fixed.

  • Joseph Angier | August 1, 2013 5:34 PMReply

    Great stuff! As a wise man once said: "When it's on the screen, it makes an evening. When it's on a list, it makes history."

  • tyler4all | August 1, 2013 3:23 PMReply

    Does anyone care what Lena Dunham considers to be a good movie? im not trying to be an ass. I really do wonder. Kubrick? yeah. Coppola? yeah! Tarantino? yeah. Dunham? hmmm...not interested. What were Bergman and Kurosawa and Renoir's influences? THAT i'd wanna read.

  • G12ZZ | August 1, 2013 7:58 PM


  • Thomasi | August 1, 2013 5:29 PM

    I care, just as I'd be curious about what films are held in esteem by any filmmaker of note, even filmmakers I don't particularly like (such as Nolan), if only to put some of their choices and tendencies into a certain context.

  • Byron | August 1, 2013 5:19 PM

    Amen. While she's technically a filmmaker, I mean, come on

  • Michael LoSasso | August 1, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    This list is somewhat misleading, the top ten for Lena Dunham and Christopher Nolan are their top ten favorite films on the Criterion Collection not their top 10 overall.

  • Thomasi | August 1, 2013 5:27 PM

    This is acknowledged in the body of the article preceding the lists.

  • Mike | August 1, 2013 3:08 PM

    That goes for Rian Johnson as well

  • Renee Hirshfield | August 1, 2013 3:04 PMReply

    Let's try this again, without ASCII codes: The eighth film on Rian Johnson€' s list should be "The Third Man (Reed, 1949)"; €"The Thin Man" director and year would be "(Van Dyke, 1934)." Also, all of Johnson's selections are Criterion Collection titles.

  • Renée Hirshfield | August 1, 2013 3:01 PMReply

    The eighth film on Rian Johnson’s list should be “The Third Man (Reed, 1949)”; “The Thin Man” director and year would be “(Van Dyke, 1934).” Also, all of Johnson’s selections are Criterion Collection titles.

  • David | August 1, 2013 2:42 PMReply

    Nolan's "top 10" is his top 10 favorite films available through Criterion.

  • Thomasi | August 1, 2013 5:30 PM

    Guys, seriously. Read the article first.

  • cory everett | August 1, 2013 2:44 PM

    Ditto for Dunham.

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