Watch: These Are Kathryn Bigelow's 5 Favorite Films

Director Kathryn Bigelow shares a list of films that inspired her to make her own.

Kathryn Bigelow is one of the few female directors to break into the action genre. Not only did she become the first woman in history to win an Oscar for Best Director for her work in The Hurt Locker, but her action crime thriller Point Break is considered by many to have one of the most technically complex, well-choreographed on-foot chase scenes ever. It makes you wonder what kinds of films inspired Bigelow to make her brand of filmmaking, which has been described as "action movies with heart," and if you want to know the answer, this video from Fandor will give you the lowdown.

Here are some of Bigelow's favorite films:

  • Lawrence of Arabia (dir. David Lean, 1962)
  • The Terminator (dir. James Cameron, 1984)
  • Everything that Alfred Hitchcock made
  • The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
  • Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)

Though not a surprising list, it is incredibly interesting. If you break down the lessons Bigelow learned from each of these iconic directors, you'll start to see where her creative sensibilities and knack for directing action comes from.

Lean knew grandiosity, scale, and scope. Cameron knew how to push the boundaries of film language and grammar. Hitchcock knew how to create tension without using a word. Peckinpah knew storytelling and character building. Scorsese knew irreverence and intensity. All of these qualities of these directors not only inspired Bigelow to pursue a career in filmmaking, but they went on to influence her kinetic, dramatic, and emotional style.

In Jen Yamato's original post for Rotten Tomatoes, Bigelow also mentions the work of cinematic legends Akira Kurosawa, Yasojiro Ozu, G.W. Pabst, and Rainer Fassbinder, specifically his 1978 drama In a Year of 13 Moons. I highly suggest taking a day or two to have a movie marathon packed with as many of these films as you can fit.     

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