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Director’s Choice:19 Great Directors’ Top 10 Favorite Films

24 February 2012 | Film Lists | by David Zou


Film directors are also film buffs as we are, do you want to know the personal choices of top 10 favorite films by masters like Luis Buñuel, Vittorio De Sica, Stanley Kubrick…? You will be satisfied here.

These lists are all real. They come from reliable sources and have circulated widely over the years. Directors have always been asked to name their favorite films. However, lists of favorites frequently change over time, so these might not be the ultimate top 10 lists of these directors.

Anyway, we got a hell of a collection of great films here, just have fun.

Steven Spielberg:
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – D: David Lean
Fantasia (1940) – D: Walt Disney
Citizen Kane (1941) – D: Orson Welles
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – D: Frank Capra
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – D: Stanley Kubrick
A Guy Named Joe (1947) – D: Victor Fleming
War of the Worlds (1953) – D: Byron Haskin and George Pal
Psycho (1960) – D: Alfred Hitchcock
Day For Night (1973) – D: François Truffaut
The Godfather (1972) – D: Francis Ford Coppola

Bernardo Bertolucci:
1.La Règle du Jeu (Renoir, 1939)
2.Sansho Dayu (Mizoguchi, 1954)
3.Germany, Year Zero (Rossellini, 1947)
4.A Bout de Souffle (Godard, 1959)
5.Stagecoach (Ford, 1939)
6.Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986)
7.City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)
8.Marnie (Hitchcock, 1964)
9.Accattone (Pasolini, 1961)
10.Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)

Luis Buñuel:
1.Underworld (Sternberg)
2.The Gold Rush (Chaplin)
3.The Bicycle Thief (De Sica)
4.Potemkin (Eisenstein)
5.Portrait of Jennie (Dieterle)
6.Cavalcade (Lloyd)
7.White Shadows in the South Seas (Van Dyke)
8.Dead of Night (Cavalcantin, etc.)
9.L’Age d’Or (Buñuel)
10.I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Le Roy)

Vittorio De Sica:
1.Man of Aran (Flaherty)
2.The Kid (Chaplin)
3.La Chienne (Renoir)
4.Le Million (Clair)
5.L’Atalante (Vigo)
6.Kameradschadt (Pabst)
7.Storm Over Asia (Pudovkin)
8.Potemkin (Eisenstein)
9.Hallelujah! (Vidor)
10.La Kermesse Heroique (Feyder)

Carl Dreyer:
1.Birth of a Nation(Griffith)
2.Arne’s Treasure (Stiller)
3.Potemkin (Eisenstein)
4.The Gold Rush (Chaplin)
5.Sous les Toits de Paris (Clair)
6.Quai des Brumes (Carne)
7.Brief Encounter (Lean)
8.Henry V (Olivier)
9.The Petrified Forest (Mayo)
10.Open City (Rossellini)

Milos Forman:
Amarcord (Fellini)
American Graffiti (Lucas)
Citizen Kane (Welles)
City Lights (Chaplin)
The Deer Hunter (Cimino)
Les Enfants du paradis (Carn?/a>
Giant (Stevens)
The Godfather (Coppola)
Miracle in Milan (De Sica)
Raging Bull (Scorsese)

Martin Scorcese’s Favorite Color Films:
1.Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975)
2.Duel in the Sun (Vidor, 1946)
3.Invaders from Mars (Menzies, 1953)
4.Leave Her to Heaven (Stahl, 1946)
5.Moby Dick (Huston, 1956)
6.Phantom of the Opera (Lubin, 1943)
7.The Red Shoes (Powell, 1948)
8.The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
9.Singin’ in the Rain (Donen, 1952)
10.Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

1.Contempt (Godard, 1963)
2.Cries and Whispers (Bergman, 1972)
3.Gate of Hell (Kinugasa, 1953)
4.In The Mood For Love (Wong, 2000)
5.The Last Emperor (Betolucci, 1987)
6.Red Desert (Antonioni, 1964)
7.The River (Renoir, 1951)
8.Satyricon (Fellini, 1969)
9.Senso (Visconti, 1954)
10.Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Paradjanov, 1964)

Elia Kazan:
1.Potemkin (Eisenstein)
2.Aerograd (Dovzhenko)
3.The Gold Rush (Chaplin)
4.Flesh and the Devil (Brown)
5.Open City (Rossellini)
6.The Bicycle Thief (De Sica)
7.Shoulder Arms (Chaplin)
8.Target for Tonight (Watt)
9.La Femme du Boulanger (Pagnol)
10.Marius, Fanny, Cesar (Pagnol)

Stanley Kubrick:
1.Vitelloni, I (1953) (aka Vitelloni) – D: Federico Fellini
2.Smultronstället (1957) (aka Wild Strawberries) – D: Ingmar Bergman
3.Citizen Kane (1941) – D: Orson Welles
4.The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) – D: John Huston
5.City Lights (1931) – D: Charles Chaplin
6.Henry V (1944) – D: Laurence Olivier
7.La Notte (1960) (aka The Night) – D: Michelangelo Antonioni
8.The Bank Dick (1940) – D: Edward F. Cline
9.Roxie Hart (1942) – D: William A. Wellman
10.Hell’s Angels (1930) – D: Howard Hughes

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  • Jon Hillman via Facebook

    Luis Bunuel included one of his own films in his list. Now that’s confidence.

  • Jason Brown via Facebook

    I would question the validity of alot of these. I can’t really see Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, etc. forming top ten lists. Plus, it’s always said that Le Plaisir or Lola Montes was Kubrick’s favorite film… It was fun to look at, but just sayin…

    • michaelgsmith

      These lists are all real. They come from reliable sources and have circulated widely over the years. Directors have always been asked to name their favorite films. Even Tarkovsky and Bresson did it and they were not cinephiles at all in comparison to Welles and Kubrick. As someone else pointed out, lists of favorites frequently change over time, which is probably why there are no Ophuls titles on the Kubrick list that David posted here.

  • Bennett Testa via Facebook

    Love this! Thanks for sharing.

  • Arthur Mhoyan via Facebook

    Tarantino constantly mentioned that “Blow Out” was one of his top 5 favorite films of all time, and it’s strangely not mentioned here.

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  • Shane Burzynski via Facebook

    Tarantinos list changed in he last few years is why. Ive seen him mention these in one of his interviews before, pretty sure its on youtube.

  • michaelgsmith

    Robert Bresson once created a top ten list that looked like this:

    1. City Lights
    2. City Lights
    3. The Gold Rush

    • David Zou

      On these lists,Chaplin beats Keaton by a mile,lol

  • Bonjour Tristesse

    Thanks for sharing this. There are a lot of interesting picks here, and it will take me some time to digest it all.

    • David Zou

      YES,knowing my idols’ fav films is fun itself,and some of their picks did surprise me.

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  • kuldeep


    • David Zou

      Hey,Kuldeep,welcome to my blog,I hope you enjoy it!

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  • Sara Davar

    I wish Woody Allen’s choice would be here… and it was so cool thanx.