Steadily rising up the ranks of moviemaking stardom to become one of the most popular names in Hollywood, the New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi has become a hot property ever since his first comedy feature film What We Do In The Shadows. Since that moment, Waititi has only grown in contemporary prominence, helming the independent coming of age drama Hunt for the Wilderpeople in 2016 before taking to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) one year later with Thor: Ragnarok.
Whilst it is his Marvel outing that he is most well-known for, Waititi is likely most proud of his 2019 passion project Jojo Rabbit starring Thomasin McKenzie, Roman Griffin Davis and Scarlett Johansson. Winning the filmmaker the award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2020 Academy Awards, Jojo Rabbit exceeded critical expectations to walk away with one of the most significant awards of the night.
Though he has now reached Hollywood acclaim, with his superhero sequel Thor: Love and Thunder set for release later in 2022, his career was born from a unique brand of dry Kiwi comedy. Well established in the circuit of satirical comedy, having worked with Jemaine Clement, James Bobin and recently-minted Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie on multiple projects, Waititi’s films are doused in quirky humour whilst aligning with the visual identity of Wes Anderson.
In a recent conversation with WIRED, the beloved filmmaker revealed some of his all-time favourite films, noting first and foremost that “I like all my films,” from his early romance Eagle vs Shark to his latest Marvel epic.
His first ‘proper’ pick is the classic 1980s sci-fi Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Crispin Glover, a film that would birth a new appreciation for retro fantasy in one of Hollywood’s most commercial decades. Thoroughly entertaining, Robert Zemeckis’ movie is more than a mere sci-fi romp, having since become an icon of late 20th-century pop culture.
Waititi also picks the Oscar-winning 1967 movie The Graduate by director Mike Nichols, a film that tells the story of a disillusioned college graduate who falls in love with a much older woman. An influential ‘60s movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft that was made all the more memorable through a rousing soundtrack from Simon & Garfunkel, the film’s coming of age themes can be seen replicated in Waititi’s work.
Take a look at the full list of Taika Waititi’s three favourite films, below.
Taika Waititi’s favourite films:
- Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
- The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
- Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
The ever-pertinent science-fiction marvel Star Wars bookends Waititi’s trio of picks, presumably making reference to the original 1977 movie that starred Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford as they evade and defeat the Sith in a galaxy far, far away. Such a fan of the franchise that the New Zealand director is due to helm his very own trilogy of films in the near future.