From Stanley Kubrick to Quentin Tarantino: Paul Thomas Anderson’s 65 favourite films
“I have a feeling, one of those gut feelings, that I’ll make pretty good movies the rest of my life.” – Paul Thomas Anderson
American director Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time, with eight Oscar nominations to his name and a glittering feature film CV. The fact that he has not claimed Academy Award victory yet matters little when we bear witness to the brilliance of each of the eight works in his short but powerful filmography.
Anderson, who has been involved in making films from a very young age, created his first effort when he was just eight-years-old and he never looked back. Always confident in his ability as a director, Paul Thomas Anderson never really had a back-up plan in case his career as a director did not pan out. His instructor at NYU film school had told his class, “If anyone is here to write Terminator 2, get out,” and, when he heard that, Anderson thought: “What if I do want to write Terminator 2? Terminator 2‘s a pretty awesome movie.”
He made his directorial debut in 1996 with Hard Eight when he was just 26-years-old and, being the great iconoclast that he is, he attended film school for only two days, preferring instead to learn the craft by watching the works of filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick, Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles among others. In an interview, he said, “My filmmaking education consisted of finding out what filmmakers I liked were watching, then seeing those films.”
Adding, “I learned the technical stuff from books and magazines, and with the new technology you can watch entire movies accompanied by audio commentary from the director. You can learn more from John Sturges’ audio track on the Bad Day at Black Rock laserdisc than you can in 20 years of film school.”