Essential Films for Filmmakers: Spike Lee Shares the List He Hands out on the First Day of Class
Spike Lee has been the talk of the town recently after the launch of his Kickstarter campaign. However, I thought we should take a moment to look into the mind of the great filmmaker and find out what films he considers to be essential viewing. What movies and directors moved and shaped him into the filmmaker that told some of the greatest stories and created many imaginative filmmaking techniques. Hit the jump to view the list.
Apart from making films, Lee has been a professor at NYU graduate film school for the last 15 years. (Successful writer/director/film professor? Spike has my dream career.) He says that on the first day of class he hands out a list – his list of what he considers the greatest films ever made — films that are must-sees if you want to become a filmmaker. And now, you don’t have to be an NYU grad student to see it, because Lee has shared it with everyone.
Check out the video below to hear the list of films from Lee himself:
The list looks like a history of my Netflix Instant Queue from the past 4 years, meaning that a lot of what you’ll see are standard required films for film school students. You’ve got your Kurosawa, Fellini, Hitchcock, De Sica, Kubrick, Truffaut, Coppola, and Scorsese films in there, as well as classics like Casablanca, Some Like It Hot, Breathless, The Red Shoes, and Badlands.
But Lee also throws a few curve balls in there as well. For instance, his inclusion of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto was at first really surprising to me (maybe just my knee jerk reaction?) But he also includes District 9 and Kung Fu Hustle – District 9 I’m only surprised by because it’s so contemporary, but Kung Fu Hustle? I’m not one to judge a movie by its cover art, but if I hadn’t looked up the film’s fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I would’ve thought that Spike was starting to get dull.
What do you think does/doesn’t deserve to be on Spike Lee’s list? Which films would you add? Let us know in the comments, and if you have some to add to Spike’s list, you can do it here.
- Spike Lee's Kickstarter Calls Out the Hollywood Studio System
- Watch Spike Lee's Behind the Scenes Footage for 'Do the Right Thing'
- Martin Scorsese Takes Us to School: Why Old Movies Are Essential Viewing