Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, more commonly known collectively as the Coen Brothers, are a filmmaking duo whose genre melding style has resulted in numerous critically acclaimed feature films.
Their work, ranging from the likes of Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, True Grit and, most recently, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, has displayed the creative duos ability to play between the lines of different cinematic themes and genres with a seamless fluidity.
“People are always curious about brothers working together,” Ethan Coen once said before adding: “We don’t outline, so we don’t have prospective tasks to divide up. It’s just, we start at the beginning and talk the first scene through, write it up, proceed to the next,” with an air of simplicity which doesn’t match up to the 13 Academy Award nominations the duo have earned.
Joel, more bluntly, is happy to move away from the discussion about how the pair work as a creative entity: “I’d be perfectly happy never to have to answer anything again about how I work with Ethan, or whether we have arguments, or… you know what I mean? I’ve been answering those questions for 20 years. I suppose it’s interesting to people.”
While the tiresome discussions about how Joel and Ethan work together tend to drag on, the brothers have been more thank happy to talk cinema and, more specifically, the types of film that have had a lasting impression on their own vision. Having been raised in a suburb of Minneapolis, Joel saved money from a young age by mowing lawns to buy his first Super 8 camera, from there the Coen Brothers began to remake films around their home.
While the duo remain keen cinephiles, neither Ethan nor Joel has sat down to create a solid list of films which they would consider their ‘all-time favourites’. That said, IMDb has managed to piece together a mountain of interviews conducted by the duo to forge a selection of 30 pictures that the filmmaking duo hold dearly.
Despite Joel Coen once stating: “In regards to whether our background influences our film making … who knows? We don’t think about it … There’s no doubt that our Jewish heritage affects how we see things,” there’s a clear patten that follows.
Enjoy the list, below:
The Coen Brothers’ 30 favourite films
- Dr. Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick, 1964.
- Chinatown – Roman Polanski, 1974.
- Repulsion – Roman Polanski, 1965.
- The Tenant – Roman Polanski, 1976.
- Rosemary’s Baby – Roman Polanski, 1968.
- Knife in the Water – Roman Polanski, 1962.
- The Palm Beach Story – Preston Sturges, 1942.
- High and Low – Akira Kurosawa, 1963.
- The Bad News Bears – Michael Ritchie, 1976.
- Dames – Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley, 1934.
- Where Eagles Dare – Brian G. Hutton, 1968.
- The Fortune – Mike Nichols, 1975.
- Brother’s Keeper – Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, 1992.
- Il Bidone – Federico Fellini, 1955.
- Salesman – Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, 1969.
- Once Upon a Time in the West – Sergio Leone, 1968.
- The Outlaw Josey Wales – Clint Eastwood, 1976.
- Greaser’s Palace – Robert Downey Sr., 1972.
- ‘Doc’ – Frank Perry, 1971.
- The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean – John Huston, 1972.
- The Guns of Navarone – J. Lee Thompson, 1961.
- The American Friend – Wim Wenders, 1977.
- Boeing, Boeing – John Rich, 1965.
- That Touch of Mink – Delbert Mann, 1962.
- A Global Affair – Jack Arnold, 1964.
- Pillow Talk – Michael Gordon, 1959.
- The Chapman Report – George Cukor, 1962.
- Detour – Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945.
- Tarzan’s New York Adventure – Richard Thorpe, 1942.
- Easy Rider – Dennis Hopper, 1969.