Andrei Tarkovsky’s Favorite Films

When looking for great movie suggestions, an excellent resource (besides this website and our Facebook page!) can be the eclectic taste of our favorite filmmakers. In the spirit of our Daily Movie Recommendations, Must See Cinema presents this series of articles, chronicling the “Top Favorite” lists of many of our beloved directors and cinematographers – artists who have give cinephiles like us lifetimes of enjoyment, people who will live forever through their work and contribution to this art! Today’s list will include some of the favorite films of cinema’s poet, Andrei Tarkovsky:

Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is one of the most respected and reputable masters of cinema. His deep and poetic films, characterized by spiritual and metaphysical themes are widely influential and an important part of cinema history. Long takes, remarkable and thoughtful cinematography, unique structure and a new language in the art – a few of the many qualities of Tarkovsky‘s body of work and cinematic philosophy.

In April of 1972, after giving it much thought, Tarkovsky gave film critic Leonid Kozlov a list of his favorites films and most respected directors. Among his favorite directors, the Soviet Russian master included the names of:

Luis Buñuel
Kenji Mizoguchi
Ingmar Bergman
Robert Bresson,
Akira Kurosawa
Michelangelo Antonioni
Jean Vigo
Carl Theodor Dreyer

Tarkovsky ListHis list of films included the following:

1. Le Journal d’un curé de campagne (1951), dir. Robert Bresson
2. Winter Light (1963), dir. Ingmar Bergman
3. Nazarin (1959) dir. Luis Buñuel
4. Wild Strawberries (1957), dir. Ingmar Bergman
5. City Lights (1931), dir. Charlie Chaplin
6. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953), dir. Kenji Mizoguchi
7. Seven Samurai (1954), dir Akira Kurosawa
8. Persona (1966), dir. Ingmar Bergman
9. Mouchette (1967), dir. Robert Bresson
10. Woman of the Dunes (1964), dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara

You may notice the lack of any films from the Silent Era (with the exception of Chaplin’s City Lights). Tarkovsky considered the early periods in cinema (the first 50 years) as a prelude to it becoming a true art form. He was, however also fond of:

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer

Un Chien Andalou (1929), dir. Luis Buñuel

Another interesting note is his appreciation for the work of Ingmar Bergman (which went both ways, as Bergman is quoted as referring to Tarkovsky as “the greatest director”). He also purposefully did not mention any of his fellow Soviet directors. However, among those that he regarded highly are:

Boris Barnet (notably his 1936 film, By the Bluest of Seas)

Sergei Parajanov (notably Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965))

Alexander Dovzhenko

Other favorite titles, mentioned in his book, Sculpting In Time include:

Through a Glass Darkly (1961), dir. Ingmar Bergman
Cries & Whispers (1972), dir. Ingmar Bergman
The Virgin Spring (1960), dir. Ingmar Bergman
Throne of Blood (1957), dir. Akira Kurosawa
Ivan the Terrible (Parts I & II) (1944/1958) dir. Sergei Eisenstein
L’avventura (1960) dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
La Notte (1961) dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
L’eclisse (1962) dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
Ashes and Diamonds (1958), dir. Andrzej Wajda
The Lower Depths (1936), dir. Jean Renoir
Mouchette (1967), dir. Robert Bresson
Shadows (1959), dir. John Cassavetes
Chronicle of a Summer (1961), dir. Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch
The Ascent (1977), dir. Larisa Shepitko
Ordet (1955), dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer
The Lonely Voice of Man (filmed in 1978 and released in 1987 due to censorship), dir. Alexander Sokurov –
dedicated to Tarkovsky

Zoya (1945), dir. Lev Arnshtam
Giorgobistve (1966), dir. Otar Iosseliani
Citizen Kane (1941), dir. Orson Welles

Although not fond of commercial and Hollywood cinema, Tarkovsky mentoned James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984) for it’s “vision of the future and the relation between man and its destiny is pushing the frontier of cinema as an art”, though being put off by it’s “bad acting” and “horrible violence”.

Stay tuned for more “Director’s Favorites Lists” on and don’t forget to comment below with your favorites or suggestions!