Okay, let’s get this out of the way up front. I have to disclose the shameful truth that, at one point, I myself was a film school student. And even worse, at one point I was even a first-year film school student. I was in that exact, awful first class that every film school student had to sit through.

The one where all your bright-eyed peers are lined up in desks and the professor makes you introduce yourself one by one. Each of us is supposed to say who we are, where we’re from and…what our favorite movies and directors are. 

It’s an odd experience. Because it quickly morphs from an innocent way to share something about yourself and your passions into a contest to see who can name drop the socially correct film knowledge. It also showcases film students at their worst. Because pretty much every answer will always be the same.

So, for those who didn’t have to endure the responses in real life (or for those sadists who want to sit through them again), we have the 7 greatest movies in the great history of film cinema…according to first-year film school students. 

1) Wes Anderson’s Royal Tenenbaums

This was answer number one. Across the board it seemed. I went to film school in Texas (Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers’ home state, so there were a few cinephiles who knew of Bottle Rocket), but almost like it was the correct answer to the goddamn test it was nearly a unanimous selection.

royal tennebaums

2) Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas

Probably the second most popular choice after Wes Anderson was anything by Martin Scorsese. Goodfellas would be tops for most guys who seemed to think of it more as an aspirational documentary than an actual mafia crime tragedy.

3) Boondock Saints (director unknown)

Was mentioned more than a few times, but unfortunately, writer and director Troy Duffy’s name seemed to be mostly unknown, and largely unimportant to how “classic” of a film it was.

4) Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings

Even though The Return of the King had only come out a few years prior, apparently the buzz on it was still riding high off of its Oscar’s success.

lord of the rings

5) Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane

These kids were suckups.

6) Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides

I don’t know for sure how diverse the gender equality is at other film schools, but for some reasons the one I attend definitely skewed predominantly male. The Virgin Suicides was a top pick for many of the women, and to further spite the Goodfellas guys, we ended up being assigned to watch and write a paper on it in the first week.

7) Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

point break

This was my answer ten years ago and I still stick by it today. I don't care how embarrassing or ridiculous it might seem, but when in retrospect when to the rest of the top film picks from my classmates, I actually feel pretty good about it. 

What was your pick for favorite cinema classic when you were just starting off as a bright-eyed freshman? Is it embarrassing to admit now, or does it show how woke of an 18-year-old you were? Let us know in the comments below!