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Quentin Tarantino on his seven favourite filmmakers of all time


Fully immersing himself within the realm of world cinema from a young age, the American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is known for having an encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema, from the prominent western filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick to foreign masters like Akira Kurosawa.

Preferring to simply watch and learn from cinema instead of attending film school, Tarantino became a student of cinema in every sense of the word, building a love for every genre as he learnt from the masters of the art form. Speaking to The Talks about his ability to retain such knowledge, he comments, “[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behaviour, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it”.

Holding a great adoration for several filmmakers, Tarantino revealed seven of his utmost favourites in an old interview, choosing filmmakers from across the world to be a part of his elite list.

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Tarantino’s first choice is the Rio Bravo director Howard Hawks, calling the influential American creative, “the single greatest storyteller in the history of cinema and probably the single most entertaining filmmaker in the history of cinema”. Having also directed the original Scarface in 1932 as well as Bringing Up Baby in 1938, Tarantino gushes over the quality of the filmmaker, praising even the later films of Hawks’ career which were widely seen as inferior to his early works. 

Also included on the list of Tarantino’s favourites is the director of the war movie The Big Red One, Samuel Fuller, who the Pulp Fiction filmmaker calls “one of the greatest wild men of cinema”. Praising the director for his ability to make war movies, Tarantino points to his “crazy style” as being a massive influence on him as a filmmaker, no doubt reflected in his 2009 movie Inglourious Basterds.

Brian De Palma has long been a significant influence for Tarantino too, with the filmmaker also appearing on his favourites list. Calling him “probably the greatest satirist of the last 20 years in cinema,” he highlights the inherent “black comedy” in his movies, even though much of his filmography seems to focus on dark crime. Claiming to “obsess” over the filmmaker, Tarantino describes how he would go and see a new De Palma film several times at the cinema.

Whilst there are few contemporary filmmakers on his list, Tarantino does take the time out to show some love for his fellow cinematic innovator Martin Scorsese, with the two directors being influenced by each other’s work throughout the years. Calling him a “big influence,” Tarantino praises the Goodfellas and Taxi Driver director for his “daring” approach to cinema that still exists to this very day.

Having long been a fan of westerns, Sergio Leone is included on Tarantino’s list, with the latter often pointing to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly as one of his favourite films of all time. A major influence on the Django Unchained director, Tarantino comments: “These films are so stylised they are so directed, you can even watch the whole filmmaking process. If you’re thinking along those lines, if you’re just trying to watch an entertaining story it’s there”.

Another “major influence” was the French-Swiss film director Jean-Luc Godard, a filmmaker who had a significant hand in transforming European cinema in the 1960s. A lover of his “inventiveness…breaking the rules,” Tarantino also bathed in Godard’s self-referential elements that highlighted the filmmaking process, making his movies as entertaining as they were essential for Tarantino’s own craft. 

The final filmmaker on his list of seven is the French director Jean-Pierre Melville, the man behind such films as Le Samourai, The Red Circle and Army of Shadows. Carrying a “French Parisian rhythm,” Tarantino also asserts Melville’s similarities to Sergio Leone, highlighting how he would take a genre and “do it with a whole different style and a whole different perspective”.

Take a look at the full list of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite filmmakers, below.

Quentin Tarantino’s all-time favourite filmmakers

  • Brian De Palma
  • Samuel Fuller
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • Howard Hawks
  • Sergio Leone
  • Jean-Pierre Melville 
  • Martin Scorsese

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