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Film

Ewan McGregor names his five favourite films of all time

@Russellisation

Enjoying a career littered with critical and commercial success, the filmography of Ewan McGregor is curious, for its baffling commercial success and intricate critical wins. Working with some of cinema’s most acclaimed directors including Ridley Scott, Roman Polanski, Todd Haynes, Danny Boyle, George Lucas, Baz Luhrmann and Tim Burton, McGregor is an unpredictable actor capable of filling any type of role. 

Appearing as Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy, his role as a smart-talking apprentice-turned-master would inspire the minds of fans and fellow film studios worldwide, highlighting his own natural charm and likeability. It was his performance in the trilogy that would lead Disney to resurrect his character for the recent Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi series where the actor stars alongside Hayden Christensen and Moses Ingram.

Though Star Wars may have tossed him into the mainstream stratosphere, it was the work of British filmmaker Danny Boyle that would initially establish him as the sharp Scottish actor we know today, thanks to performances in the Oscar-nominated Trainspotting as well as Shallow Grave.

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Becoming a beloved icon of contemporary culture, McGregor spoke to Rotten Tomatoes in 2012 and revealed his top five favourite films of all time, to the delight of movie fans worldwide. 

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, McGregor’s first pick is the 1972 thriller Deliverance, a dark tale that tells the story of a group of friends who run into unprecedented danger during a canoeing trip in the American back-country. “I just think it is a really incredibly made film — made by John Boorman, who was an incredible director,” McGregor explained, adding, “I just think it’s a film where you kind of get into the heart and soul of these people and it unsettles you”. 

The classic David Lean war romance, Doctor Zhivago makes the second spot on the actor’s list, recognising the film as a pure “lesson in filmmaking”. Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, the film follows the life of a Russian physician and poet who falls in love with a political activist’s wife. Starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, McGregor exclaims, “It’s like a master class in how to shoot and act and light and it makes me very depressed watching it, because we don’t make films like that any more — and I wish we did”. 

Dennis Hopper’s iconic road movie Easy Rider, revealing the counter-culture gap of the early 1970s, takes the third spot on McGregor’s list, with the actor stating that the movie “symbolises a sort of search for freedom”. Describing the film starring Hopper, Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda as “very cool,” Easy Rider also holds a special place in McGregor’s heart due to his fondness of motorcycles. 

Harvey I’ve always loved because Jimmy Stewart’s one of my all time favourite actors,” McGregor says of his fourth pick, a comedy-drama following a middle-aged man who has a six-foot-tall rabbit for a best friend. Continuing to exclaim his love for the film, he adds, “I think it’s just an incredible performance from him. It’s a very, very moving performance. It’s a really lovely character that he has to play”. 

Take a look at the full list of Ewan McGregor’s all-time favourite films, below. 

Ewan McGregor’s five favourite films of all time

  • Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)
  • Doctor Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)
  • Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
  • Harvey (Henry Koster, 1950)
  • Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

Bookending Ewan McGregor’s list of favourites is the classic Steven Spielberg horror, Jaws, a story about a killer shark and a seaside town that cannot let go of its capitalist roots. “A huge, brilliantly made film with rich characters and huge suspense,” as the actor rightly describes, Jaws is still seen as the greatest shark movie ever made, even almost half a century since its release.

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