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Benedict Cumberbatch's three favourite films

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Celebrated as one of the finest actors of modern cinema, Benedict Cumberbatch has been a presence in the industry since the early noughties, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Starring in the likes of Starter for 10, Atonement and Four Lions, it wasn’t until the release of the internationally beloved TV series Sherlock that the actor would achieve his potential.

Starring as the titular character in the BBC drama, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is featured alongside Martin Freeman as John Watson and Andrew Scott as the antagonist, Professor Moriarty in a modern-day adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle novel. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor revealed his astonishment at the show’s success, noting: “I am very, very proud of the success of this program”.

Continuing, he added, “For all of us, the heavy lifting is really done by two extraordinary fanboys. … And it’s just very fun to play fast and loose with the traditional and just do your job as an actor”. 

Since the release of the programme in 2010 and its subsequent three series, Cumberbatch has moved on to bigger and better things, starring as Julian Assange in the drama The Fifth Estate as well being nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. More recently, the actor has helped drive the modern era of the Marvel cinematic universe, appearing as Doctor Strange in blockbuster extravaganza Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home alongside the likes of Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jamie Foxx and more.

Having studied drama in his youth to an extraordinarily high level of understanding, the actor has a passionate love for the history of performance, with such an appreciation being self-evident in his shortlist of his favourite films of all time. In conversation with The Golden Globes, the British actor revealed the three films that have helped to sculpt his life, including the director’s Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson and David Lynch. 

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Starting with Spielberg, the actor’s first choice is the action, adventure classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and Alfred Molina, a film that Cumberbatch calls “my childhood favourite”. His love of the classic blockbuster may just explain why the actor chose to step into the Marvel franchise, hoping to recapture the big-budget charm of spectacular cinema. 

Calling his second film compelling and “strong”, Cumberbatch goes for The Elephant Man by David Lynch, a film that follows a disfigured man rescued from mistreatment by a Victorian surgeon. Starring the excellent Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt, The Elephant Man is certainly one of Lynch’s most accessible works, as well as one of his most celebrated, creating an emotionally stirring drama that speaks to a deep moral concern for humanity. 

Benedict Cumberbatch’s most recent pick is The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson, a vibrant family drama following the eccentric Tenenbaum family played by the likes of Ben Stiller, Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson. Calling the film “so clever”, Cumberbatch points to Wes Anderson’s boundless creativity and appreciation for the history of world cinema as to why he adores the film so much.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s favourite films:

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
  • The Elephant Man (David Lynch,  1980)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)

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