Essential List of Films for Filmmakers



SPIKE LEE: This is Spike Lee. I’m in Los Angeles, the city of angels. For the past 15 years I’ve been a professor at NYU Film School. The Graduate Film School.  I’m also the Artistic Director of the school. And on the very first day of class I give out a list. This is the list, on this list is what I consider the greatest films ever made and stuff that’s essential if you want to be a filmmaker, you should see these films and it’s been amazing to me how a lot of young filmmakers, not just students, have not seen work from earlier years. So, we’re going to post this, post my list on my Kickstarter page. But also, if I left out any films you think should be on this list I want you to send them in. Because of course there will be stuff that I left out. Here’s some of the films we have. We have three films by Akira Kurosawa – Rashomon, Yojimbo, Ran. Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest. Bonnie and Clyde directed by Arthur Pen. The Conformist, Great film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Two of my favorites by Billy Wilder – Ace in the Hole, Some Like It Hot. Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett, great Black Independent Film. This is a film I saw in NYU Film School while I was a student. Night of the Hunter starring Robert Mitchell, Shelly Winters directed by Charles Laughton, that’s where we got the whole Love-Hate thing. If you saw Do the Right Thing, where Radio Raheem do Love-Hate, that came from Night of the Hunter written by James Agee. From David Lean Lawrence of Arabia. The great Elia Kazan - On the Waterfront and  A Face in the Crowd. Three by, my three favorites by Federico Fellini - La Strada, La Dolce Vita, 8 ½. Of course Francis Ford Coppola, my main man - Godfather One and Two. Fracois Truffaut - two films - Day for Night, 400 Blows. Three by John Huston - The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Fat City. My main, main, main man Martin Scorsese - Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Goodfellas. So I don’t want to name them all, but please see how many of these films you have seen. In my opinion it’s all essential viewing, as I’ve said before lets make this list longer, so send me films you think should be on my list. My NYU Class Film List. Again, I give this out the first day of every class. Thank you.


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