Paul Thomas Anderson’s films ranked from 'great' to 'greatest'
(Credit: ©A.M.P.A.S))

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.”

Here, completing a comprehensive list for Fav Favorites, Paul Thomas Anderson has collected his biggest influences, cinematic masterpieces that have influenced his own works over the years.

See the complete list below:

Paul Thomas Anderson’s favourite films:

  • Stray Dog (Akira Kurosawa – 1949)
  • The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles – 1955)
  • Popeye (Robert Altman – 1980)
  • A Prarie Home Companion (Robert Altman – 2006)
  • Network (Sidney Lumet – 1976)
  • Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding – 1947)
  • North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock – 1959)
  • Ordinary People (Robert Redford – 1980)
  • Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur – 1947)
  • The Complete Jacques Tati
  • Repo Man (Alex Cox – 1984)
  • Bad Day at Black Rock (John Sturges – 1955)
  • Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff – 2003)
  • Baraka (Ron Fricke – 1993)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler – 1946)
  • The Black Stallion (Carroll Ballard – 1979)
  • Bob Le Flameur (Jean-Pierre Melville – 1982)
  • Breaking Away (Peter Yates – 1979)
  • Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul – 2006)
  • Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul – 2004)
  • You Can Count on Me (Kenneth Lonergan – 2000)
  • White Heat (Raoul Walsh – 1949)
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul – 2010)
  • Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick – 1957)
  • Secret Honor (Robert Altman – 1984)
  • Cabin Fever (Eli Roth – 2003)
  • Carefree (Mark Sandrich – 1938)
  • Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier – 2000)
  • The Dark Corner (Henry Hathaway – 1946)
  • Dark Star (John Carpenter – 1974)
  • Nashville (Robert Altman – 1975)
  • This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner – 1984)
  • Homicide (David Mamet – 1991)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme – 1991)
  • The Beatles: Help! (Richard Lester – 1965)
  • The Lady From Shanghai (Orson Welles – 1948)
  • The Killing (Stanley Kubrick – 1956)
  • Spartacus (Stanley Kubrick – 1960)
  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman – 1971)
  • Meet the Parents (Jay Roach – 2000)
  • Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme – 1980)
  • Mystic River (Clint Eastwood – 2003)
  • Destination Tokyo (Delmer Daves – 1943)
  • Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick – 1964)
  • The Earrings of Madame de… (Max Ophüls – 1953)
  • Sid & Nancy (Alex Cox – 1986)
  • Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe – 2000)
  • East of Eden (Elia Kazan – 1955)
  • Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick – 1999)
  • The Gay Divorcee (Mark Sandrich – 1934)
  • Giant (George Stevens – 1956)
  • Grindhouse (Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez – 2007)
  • Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino – 1994)
  • Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese – 1980)
  • Ted (Seth MacFarlane – 2012)
  • The Ballad of Jack and Rose (Rebecca Miller – 2005)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin – 2012)
  • The Big Lebowski (The Coen Brothers – 1998)
  • Sweet and Lowdown (Woody Allen – 1999)
  • Speed (Jan de Bont – 1994)
  • GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese – 1990)
  • I’m Still Here (Casey Affleck – 2010)
  • Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola – 2003)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins – 2016)
  • A Quiet Place (John Krasinski – 2018)
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