Not much was known about the plucky young filmmakers James Gunn and Zack Snyder when their names were both splattered across the credits of the remake of George A. Romero’s satirical horror classic Dawn of the Dead in 2004, yet both creatives remain an indelible part of contemporary pop culture.
Going on to helm the wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy and Justice League series respectively, Gunn and Snyder are pioneers of modern-day commercial filmmaking, stuffing their movies with bombastic violence and smart-aleck comedy. Whilst Gunn largely sticks to his own comfort zone, Zack Snyder is known to be an ambitious filmmaker who has jumped from audacious comic-book adaptations to superhero movies, albeit with the same flashy style of filmmaking.
For both Gunn and Snyder, however, their films are set firmly within the history of cinema, with both playing off the slapstick humour of Sam Raimi as well as the fast-paced trickery of the Wachowski sisters. It’s no wonder that they’re both such purveyors of classic moviemaking, with Snyder’s top five favourite films of all time including some curious choices.
In conversation with Newsweek, Snyder revealed the first pick on his unordered favourite film list is the John Boorman movie Excalibur, starring Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren and Patrick Stewart. “To this day, I think John Boorman’s film is the perfect meeting of movies and mythology,” Snyder told the publication, taking to the film for its fun and frenetic take on medieval history.
Looking past the modern re-imagining of Mad Max: Fury Road, Snyder’s favourite of the franchise, and his pick for number two on his list is the very first Mad Max sequel. The Road Warrior “is violent and sophisticated. It feels uncompromising,” the Dawn of the Dead filmmaker describes, praising the scope and ambition of the movie that inspired George Miller’s modern take on the character.
Stanley Kubrick always manages to make it onto top five lists, seemingly no matter the subject, with Zack Snyder’s list of five favourite movies being no different. The director opts for the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange for number three on his list, calling the controversial movie, “shockingly unapologetic,” in his short but sweet review of the film that forced Kubrick himself to pull from theatres in fear of copycat attacks.
It’s likely that modern American cinema would look very different without the influence of David Lynch, the surreal experimenter who has made such classics as Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet. It’s the latter that Snyder chooses for number three, calling the film a “classic” before adding that it’s “one of those movies that never goes where you expect and conjures a perfectly unique world”.
Take a look at the full list of Zack Snyder’s top five favourite films of all time, below.
Zack Snyder’s five favourite films:
- Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981)
- Max Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981)
- A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)
- Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
- RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987)
Capping off Snyder’s list is the satirical science fiction movie RoboCop, a classic soon to be celebrating its 35-year anniversary. “Both funny and violent, and Paul Verhoeven balanced it with just the right amount of satire,” the filmmaker compliments, with parts of the movie certainly reflected in such Snyder flicks as Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen.