“Nature’s imagination is so boundless compared to our own meager human imagination”—James Cameron.
James Cameron, the acclaimed Canadian filmmaker who is synonymous with the science-fiction genre, has created a list of his favourite films of all time.
Cameron first found major success in the creation of iconic 1984 action film The Terminator, a film which set the solid foundations of a career which would dominate science fiction for years to come. Off the back of The Terminator, Cameron went on a prolific run of Aliens in 1986, The Abyss in 1989 and Terminator 2: Judgment Day in the early ’90s.
While it was the release of Titanic which propelled Cameron to the next level of Hollywood legend status in 1997, it was his return to sci-fi with 2009 effort Avatar which compelled his dominance of the genre. With six Academy Awards to his name, Cameron has earned an emphatic reputation among the greatest names in Hollywood.
“He really does want us to risk our lives and limbs for the shot, but he doesn’t mind risking his own,” Sigourney Weaver once said of Cameron’s commitment to a project. Weaver’s sentiment was echoed by Michael Biehn, an actor who has worked with Cameron on a number of his major projects: “Jim is a really passionate person. He cares more about his movies than other directors care about their movies,” he said.
Weaver continued: “There are very few geniuses in the world, let alone in our business, and he’s certainly one of them. He’s misunderstood in the industry, somewhat. He is so generous to actors.”
While his directing style has influenced many in cinema, Cameron has never been shy to hold back his admiration for those that have contributed to some of the greatest films in the history of the industry. Sitting down with Fandor, Cameron named five films which have had a lasting impression on his view of film.
With two inclusions of Stanley Kubrick’s films, Cameron once said: “I remember going with a great sense of anticipation to each new Stanley Kubrick film and thinking: ‘Can he pull it off and amaze me again?’ And he always did.
“The lesson I learned from Kubrick was, never do the same thing twice,” he added.
James Cameron’s five favourite films:
- The Wizard of Oz – Victor Fleming, 1939.
- Dr. Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick, 1964.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick, 1968.
- The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola, 1972.
- Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese, 1976.
Given his history in cinema and some of the choices he has selected as his favourite films, it should come as little surprise that Cameron has explored escapist film experiences. “I had read tons of science fiction,” the director once explained. “I was fascinated by other worlds, other environments. For me, it was fantasy, but it was not fantasy in the sense of pure escapism.”
He added: “So much of literary sci-fi is about creating worlds that are rich and detailed and make sense at a social level. We’ll create a world for people and then later present a narrative in that world.
“Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you’re a director. Everything after that you’re just negotiating your budget and your fee.”