Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest directors of all time. So what are some movies that put him in the mood to create?
While Paul Thomas Anderson preps his work on an upcoming high school movie, we thought it would be great to look back on the movies that he's talked about that inspired him along the way.
IndieWire assembled a list of PTA's favorite films and even cited where he talked about them. It's an eclectic mix that definitely belongs in the Netflix queue. Let's look at the list and talk after.
44 Movies Paul Thomas Anderson Wants You to See
- Big Daddy (1999)
- Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
- The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
- The Big Sleep (1946)
- The Birdcage (1996)
- Blue Velvet (1986)
- Call Me By Your Name (2017)
- City of Ghosts (2017)
- Dogville (2003)
- Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, Full Metal Jacket, and The Shining
- Dunkirk (2017)
- The Earrings of Madame de… (1953)
- Gaslight (1944)
- Girls Trip (2017)
- Get Out (2017)
- Gunda (2019)
- House of Games (1987)
- I Am Cuba (1964)
- I Know Where I’m Going (1945)
- Jaws (1975)
- The Post (2017)
- Jackie Brown (1997)
- Lady Bird (2017)
- Nashville (1975)
- The Passionate Friends (1949)
- A Quiet Place (2018)
- Rain Main (1988)
- Rear Window (1954)
- Repo Man (1984)
- The Shape of Water (2017)
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
- Moonlight (2016) and If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
- Mission: Impossible Franchise
- The Master (2012)
Let's Talk About the List!
I think there's a lot of recency bias on the list, which is actually great. Knowing what PTA has watched in recent years gives us a better understanding of the kinds of things he does to jumpstart his ideation. While The Master is on here, I think it's fair to chalk that up as PTA saying it's his favorite one of his own works, which I think counts to the whole.
PTA called the 4 Kubrick films the Kubrick Quartet. And I love that.
I'm glad to report on PTA's love of Girl's Trip as well, and his love for Tiffany Haddish and her performance, "I dare anybody to try and do what Tiffany Haddish did in [Girls Trip]. That’s like a fucking magic trip how good she is in that, and I dare anybody to try and go take after take—or do one take as good as she does. She is a fucking force. She’s such a great performer.”
There are also lesser-known films like I Know Where I'm Going, about which Anderson told Film Inquiry. “It’s fantastic. It’s got a great female lead, and she’s kind of off, she’s off up north out of London and it’s just a great film. It’s a Powell–Pressburger movie. Where it falls in their scheme of things, I’m not really quite sure, but they shot a lot of it as the war was going on like in 1941 and 1942. And it’s not to be missed.”
Of course, he praises contemporary, Tarantino, for Jackie Brown. “It’s a film so cool and so breezy about middle-aged people that feel the clock ticking,” Anderson said of the film. “It reduces me to tears. I consider Quentin a peer, but Jackie Brown is a watermark for how to shoot and film a scene with delicacy and compassion. A beautiful film, beautifully done.”
What movie surprised you on this list?
Which one is your favorite?
What's next? What are Bong Joon-Ho's favorite films?
After making a movie as good as Parasite, it's no surprise that Bong Joon-ho's taste in movies is equally as sublime.