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Paul Thomas Anderson's favourite David Lynch movies


Instilling his own stylish take on the cinematic world, director Paul Thomas Anderson has become known as one of the greatest filmmakers of the contemporary movie industry. Gracing audiences with some of the finest modern dramas of the new century including Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood and The Master, Anderson has created a staggering filmography that would even make the likes of Martin Scorsese jealous. 

Coaxing out staggering performances in each and every one of his films, it is the meticulous writing of Anderson that makes him such an adored figure in cinema, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Adam Sandler, Joaquin Phoenix and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman each eagerly working under his guidance. With frenetic creative vision and a bold, complex take on narrative storytelling, there are few modern directors that can match Anderson’s might in the modern movie industry.

Establishing his proficiency in his feature film debut of Hard Eight in 1996, Anderson has more recently been awarded a Best Picture nomination for his LA coming-of-age love story Licorice Pizza starring Alana Haim and son of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Cooper. If the one nomination wasn’t enough, Anderson is also up for a Best Director as well as Best Original Screenplay, an ode to his timelessly charming scripts. 

If there are any filmmakers who can rival the director’s impressive artistic flair and longevity it’s Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese or David Lynch, with each of these icons having long-dominated the world of arthouse cinema. Often supporting each others’ projects, Anderson and Tarantino have been known to spend considerable time together and the Hard Eight director also holds a Twin Peaks creator, Lynch.

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Speaking about the power of Lynch’s filmmaking on a Reddit AMA, Anderson pointed to two films of the director that have been particularly important in his own journey as a creative. Citing Blue Velvet and Lynch’s Palme d’Or-winner Wild at Heart as his all time favourites from the director, Anderson pointed to the ceaseless, surreal creativity of his films as to why he remains such an enduring figure. 

Almost as if a condensed version of the obscure TV series Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet shares the lead castmember of Kyle MacLachlan and tells a similar tale of a surreal murder that reveals a tender underbelly to everyday American society. On the other hand, Wild at Heart is something of a satirical black comedy, probing the fantasy of the Hollywood narrative with a bizarre story that follows two young lovers, played by Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, who are in constant pursuit away from strange assassins hired by one of their parents. 

With both films having a considerable impact on the wider landscape of cinema, there’s no wonder Paul Thomas Anderson chose these films as his favourites of David Lynch’s career. Though the director himself is yet to reflect a similar level of surrealism in his own films, he certainly carries a similar weight of significance, approaching the scope of cinema in a similar way to his artistic peer.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s favourite David Lynch films:

  • Blue Velvet
  • Wild at Heart