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Stimulate Your Surreal Mind with Luis Buñuel’s 10 Favorite Films


Luis Buñuel takes us through his cinematic preferences that formed part of his imagination.

In surrealism sometimes the name of Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel is forgotten, and who, before finding fame for the films he made in Mexico, became friends with artists such as Salvador Dalí and André Breton and, during his years of exile in the US, with Sergei Eisenstein, Josef Von Sternberg, Charles Chaplin and other like minded contemporaries. His films, such as L’Age d’Or (1930), Los olvidados (1950) or The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) are still considered masterpieces in all cinematographic senses, as examples of expert technique, as documents of social criticism and also as artistic works that move us to reflection and even to action.

But where did all that come from? The answer is not an easy one, but in the case of artists an interesting method for understanding their genius is to research the influences that affected them. In Buñuel’s case, it is worth taking a look at the selection of his ten favorite films, a list the director drew up in the 1950s. The list highlights Buñuel’s taste for films of Hollywood’s golden age, at a time when the war had caused the expatriation of a large number of talented people. But beyond those circumstantial details, as in other cases with lists like these – more stimulating than many circulating on the Internet – it can be taken as an invitation to reconsider in our own perspective fundamental films in the history of cinema and, at the same time consider, perhaps as a surrealist would, what thoughts would emerge if we were to submit ourselves to the automatism that his doctrine suggested.


  1. Underworld, Josef von Sternberg (1927)
  2. The Gold Rush, Charles Chaplin (1925)
  3. The Bicycle Thief, Vittorio De Sica (1947)
  4. Battleship Potemkin, Sergei Eisenstein (1925)
  5. Portrait of Jennie, William Dieterle (1948)
  6. Cavalcade, Frank Lloyd (1933)
  7. White Shadows in the South Seas, W.S. Van Dyle and Robert Flaherty (1928)
  8. Dead of Night, Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Deardon and Robert Hamer (1945)
  9. L’Age d’Or, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí (1930)
  10. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Mervyn LeRoy (1932)

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