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Film

James McAvoy names his five favourite films of all time

@Russellisation

Wrongfully flying under the radar of the best actors of contemporary cinema, Scottish actor James McAvoy has proven himself across several genres of cinema, from low-key drama to big-budget action blockbusters. 

No doubt, it was McAvoy’s appearance as Professor X in the X-Men prequel film First Class that would launch him into the international mainstream, appearing in the major, pertinent superhero project alongside the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and Zoë Kravitz, with each of whom vying for contemporary popularity. McAvoy stood out as one of the finest actors of the lot, largely thanks to his vast acting experience, starring in various major TV projects as well as The Last King of Scotland and Atonement long before his superhero role.

Today, he is considered by many to be one of the industry’s finest actors, showing his worth in the 2016 M. Night Shyamalan movie Split where he plays a total of 24 different personalities in a truly extraordinary performance. Taking the character to new heights three years later in the unlikely sequel Glass, McAvoy also took to the popular horror movie It: Chapter Two to thrill fans across the world. 

As one of the industry’s finest actors, McAvoy has learned much of his trade from his favourite films of all time, revealing his five picks in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes back in 2010. 

A lover of 1980s nostalgia, McAvoy’s first pick goes to the Richard Donner movie The Goonies, written by Chris Columbus, with a story by Steven Spielberg that follows a group of young misfits who follow a treasure map to uncover a compelling mystery. Starring many names who would later go on to become mainstream stars including Sean Astin, Josh Brolin and Corey Feldman, The Goonies is a popular choice for many. 

Choosing a cinematic classic for his second pick, the actor goes for Brief Encounter by the English filmmaker David Lean, an industry icon who also helmed Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. Telling the story of a woman who is tempted to cheat on her husband after meeting a mysterious stranger at a railway station, Lean’s film is considered one of the greatest movies of the 1940s.

Taking to contemporary cinema and James McAvoy’s only pick from the 21st century, the actor goes for the obscure French romantic comedy My Wife is an Actress by director Yvan Attal. A charming European romance, the 2001 movie tells the story of the jealousy of a man who has to deal with the thought that his actress wife might have a fling with her co-star. Certainly an underrated comedy, the film boasts a stellar cast including the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Terence Stamp, Keith Allen and Ludivine Sagnier.

Two undisputed classics bookend McAvoy’s list, with the first being the iconic war movie The Great Escape, directed by John Sturges, following a group of imprisoned allied soldiers during WWII who hatch a plan to escape the high security facility. Featuring such Hollywood stars as Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and Richard Attenborough, the film is still celebrated to this very day. 

The Robert Zemeckis classic Back to the Future concludes James McAvoy’s list of his top five favourite films of all time, with the undisputed fan favourite becoming an influential franchise of pop culture. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover, Back to the Future became an iconic movie of the 1980s, standing beside the likes of The Terminator and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for its influence.

James McAvoy’s five favourite films:

  •  The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985) 
  •  Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945) 
  •  My Wife is an Actress (Yvan Attal, 2001)
  •  The Great Escape (John Sturges, 1963)
  • Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

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