Richard Linklater has carved out a unique space for himself in the landscape of American cinema, known for his experiments with time and the human condition. From rambling, high-concept philosophical explorations to moving portrayals of real human drama, Linklater’s brand of cinema has resonated with fans worldwide.
Born and raised in Texas, Linklater has maintained a close relationship with the cinematic medium from an early age. He was one of the founding members of the Austin Film Society and organised foreign film screenings on multiple occasions, spreading his enthusiasm about the cinema of visionaries such as Robert Bresson.
In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Linklater was asked to name five of his favourite films of all time. On previous occasions, the American auteur had singled out the works of pioneers like Andrei Tarkovsky, Yasujirō Ozu, Carl Theodor Dreyer and Ingmar Bergman. However, his selection was completely different this time around.
While praising Robert Altman’s seminal film Nashville, Linklater said: “It’s the ultimate, sprawling ensemble Altman film — the way each character has their own story to such a degree, and he pulls it all together. It has these thrilling moments, these funny moments. The music is both very moving and satirical, funny and beautiful too.”
He also included Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and described it as the greatest comedy of all time: “The human dynamics of it are very true to life. I mean, it’s a comedy, and it’s all pitched at that point, but Preston Sturges was such the master of dialogue and delivery that the whole tone and pitch of it is totally unique.”
Check out the list below.
Richard Linklater’s favourite films:
- Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1959)
- If… (Lindsay Anderson, 1968)
- The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)
- Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
- Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)
From American classics to French New Wave gems, Linklater’s list is the perfect proof of his eclectic tastes. The director cited François Truffaut’s vastly influential work The 400 Blows, which kickstarted the New Wave, as his favourite coming-of-age film.
Linklater added: “Truffaut, of all the great directors, I think, had the most sensitivity toward children ultimately. He made this film, which is widely considered to be the best film about a kid, and went on to do The Wild Child and Small Change.”