Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Spike Lee's Essential Film List (VIDEO)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 29, 2013 at 4:10PM

My fellow NYU alumnus Spike Lee, now a grad school professor, has posted on Kickstarter the list of films that he considers to be essential viewing for any aspiring filmmaker. He gives it out to his students on the first day of class. It's a fabulous list! He's right. Any proper cinephile should have seen all these films.
8
Spike Lee

My fellow NYU alumnus Spike Lee, now a grad school professor, has posted on Kickstarter the list of films that he considers to be essential viewing for any aspiring filmmaker. He gives it out to his students on the first day of class. It's a fabulous list! He's right. Any proper cinephile should have seen all these films. Have you? (Remember, I'm the one who called my college boyfriend a "movie moron" for not having seen "2001: A Space Odyssey"--which isn't on Lee's list.) Your Netflix queue awaits. True confession: I am ordering up "Cooley High," "Dead End," "Kung Fu Hustle," "I Am Cuba," "Miracle in Milan" and "Paisan."

Lee's list includes three films each by masters Akira Kurosawa (the filmmaker at the top of my personal pantheon of directors), Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Huston, and Federico Fellini. He also includes Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde," Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Conformist," Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole" and "Some Like It Hot," Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep," Charles Laughton and James Agee's "The Night of the Hunter" (which influenced Lee's "Do the Right Thing"), David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" (number one on my top 20 on Flickchart), Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" and "Face in the Crowd," Francis Coppola's "The Godfather" I and II, Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets" and "Raging Bull," and Francois Truffaut's "Day for Night" and "The 400 Blows."

"The Seven Samurai"
"The Seven Samurai"

The full alphabetical list by director's first name is posted below the jump. Lee wants us to give him any films he missed: "Send me films you think should be on my list." He's got the right directors on the list, including Mel Gibson ("Apocalypto") but predictably not John Ford and Quentin Tarantino (with whom he has issues), Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah (he may not be a western fan) and John Lasseter and Hayao Miyazaki (no animation) as well as Kathryn Bigelow (the list has no women). Lee also leaves off Frank Capra, Ang Lee, F.W. Murnau, Mike Nichols, Joseph Mankiewicz ("All About Eve"), Preston Sturges ("The Lady Eve"), Howard Hawks, Ingmar Bergman, Jean Renoir and silent masters Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.



This article is related to: Spike Lee


E-Mail Updates