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Director Stanley Kubrick stands behind a camera.

Stanley Kubrick’s 93 Favorite Films


A roadmap to navigate the world of cinema under the guiding hand of Stanley Kubrick.

Among the decisive directors of the 20th century, Stanley Kubrick has a place that he won with his cinematographic output, and which little by little created a sustained artistic refinement. Kubrick belongs to that select band of film directors that have enriched their work with elements that transcend the audiovisual to, dialectically, discharge it onto the screen as if it were a canvas and a score, a blank page and plastic matter and the surface where the resulting combination is projected.

An artist that, however, does not just emerge from nowhere. And in the same way as with writers where the literature of others is one of the main engines of their exercise, the filmmaker finds in films their inspiration and example, the elements that they will later apply to their own work.

What were the favorite films of Stanley Kubrick? Responding to that question implies observing not only the director’s taste but perhaps something more profound: the itinerary that he followed in that singular process of self discovery that is an artist’s development.

Kubrick’s top 10, that he shared with the magazine Cinema in 1963, included the following films:

  1. I Vitelloni (Fellini, 1953)
  2. Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)
  3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
  4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Huston, 1948)
  5. City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)
  6. Henry V (Olivier, 1944)
  7. La Notte (Antonioni, 1961)
  8. The Bank Dick (Cline, 1940)
  9. Roxie Hart (Wellman, 1942)
  10. Hell’s Angels (Hughes, 1930)

And on other occasions, Kubrick added to that list to reach 93 films. Dispersed in the magazines Cahiers du Cinéma (1975), again in Cinema (1963) and with the help of his collaborator Nick Wrigley, it was possible to compile this list that goes beyond the indisputable and preferred (Bergman, Chaplin and Fellini) and includes other films that broaden the idea that one might have of Kubrick.

Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

Husbands and Wives (Woody Allen, 1992)

Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979)

Radio Days (Woody Allen, 1987)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)

If… (Lindsay Anderson, 1968)

Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1998)

La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961)

Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)

Pelle the Conqueror (Bille August, 1987)

Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987)

Casque d’Or (Jacques Becker, 1952)

Édouard et Caroline (Jacques Becker, 1951)

Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman, 1972)

Smiles of a Summer Night (Ingmar Bergman, 1955)

Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1972)

Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

Henry V (Kenneth Branagh, 1989)

Modern Romance (Albert Brooks, 1981)

Children of Paradise (Marcel Carné, 1945)

City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)

The Bank Dick (Edward Cline, 1940)

Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946)

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991)

Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Eisenstein, 1938)

The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erice, 1973)

La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954)

I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini, 1953)

La Kermesse Héroïque (Jacques Feyder, 1935)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (Richard Fleischer, 1970)

The Fireman’s Ball (Miloš Forman, 1967)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)

Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972)

The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

Get Carter (Mike Hodges, 1971)

The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

Hell’s Angels (Howard Hughes, 1930)

The Treasure of Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1947)

Dekalog (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1990)

Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)

Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)

Abigail’s Party (Mike Leigh, 1977)

La Bonne Année (Claude Lelouch, 1973)

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett, 1961)

American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)

Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975)

Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1976)

House of Games (David Mamet, 1987)

The Red Squirrel (Julio Medem, 1993)

Bob le Flambeur (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1956)

Closely Watched Trains (Jiří Menzel, 1966)

Pacific 231 (Jean Mitry, 1949)

Roger & Me (Michael Moore, 1989)

Henry V (Laurence Olivier, 1944)

The Earrings of Madame de… (Max Ophüls, 1953)

Le Plaisir (Max Ophüls, 1951)

La Ronde (Max Ophüls, 1950)

Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)

Heimat (Edgar Reitz, 1984)

Blood Wedding (Carlos Saura, 1981)

Cría cuervos (Carlos Saura, 1975)

Peppermint Frappé (Carlos Saura, 1967)

Alien (Ridley Scott, 1977)

The Anderson Platoon (Pierre Schoendoerffer, 1967)

White Men Can’t Jump (Ron Shelton, 1992)

Miss Julie (Alf Sjöberg, 1951)

The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjöström, 1921)

The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)

Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)

Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986)

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

The Sacrifice (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986)

Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)

The Emigrants (Jan Troell, 1970)

The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930)

Danton (Andrzej Wajda, 1984)

Girlfriends (Claudia Weill, 1978)

The Cars that Ate Paris (Peter Weir, 1974)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

Roxie Hart (William Wellman, 1942)

Ådalen 31 (Bo Widerberg, 1969)

The Siege of Manchester (Herbert Wise, 1965)

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