Stanley Kubrick’s Favorite Films

When looking for good 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 will be starting a new 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 the great Stanley Kubrick.

Stanley Kubrick has only one known compiled list of favorites – 10 films he listed for Cinema magazine in 1963:

I Vitelloni (1953) dir. Federico Fellini
Wild Strawberries (1958) dir. Ingmar Bergman
Citizen Kane (1941) dir. Orson Welles
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) dir. John Huston
City Lights (1931) dir. Charles Chaplin
Henry V (1945) dir. Laurence Olivier
La Notte (1961) dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
The Bank Dick (1940) dir. W.C. Fields
Roxie Hart (1942) dir. William Wellman
Hell’s Angels (1930) dir. Howard Hughes

This magazine ceased publication thirteen years later, and it is very probable that Kubrick would have edited this list in the later decades.

After his passing in 1999, a list was posted online by his daughter, Katharina Kubrick-Hobbs. Although she claimed it as “half-remembered”, it is mentioned that she knew that he liked the following films:

Closely Observed Trains (1966) dir. Jirí Menzel
An American Werewolf in London (1981) dir. John Landis
The Fireman’s Ball (1967) dir. Milos Forman
Metropolis (1927) dir. Fritz Lang
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) dir. Víctor Erice
White Men Can’t Jump (1992) dir. Ron Shelton
La Belle et la Bête (1946) dir. Jean Cocteau
The Godfather (1972) dir. Francis Ford Coppola
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) dir. Tobe Hooper
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) dir. Sidney Lumet
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) dir. Milos Forman
Citizen Kane (1941) dir. Orson Welles
Abigail’s Party (1977) dir. Mike Leigh
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) dir. Jonathan Demme

It is worthy of note that Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) is mentioned in both lists. He admired the work of many of his colleagues, and in some instances the names he mentioned were:

Sergei Eisenstein
Vsevolod Pudovkin
G. W. Pabst
Akira Kurosawa
Ingmar Bergman
Federico Fellini
David Lean
David Lynch
Carlos Saura
Luis Buñuel
Orson Welles
François Truffaut
Elia Kazan
Max Ophüls
Vittorio De Sica

In other materials, interviews and information given by him or his close associates, films (besides those listed above) he pointed out to be in his favorite inspirations are:

Eraserhead (1977) dir. David Lynch
Le Plaisir (1952) dir. Max Ophüls
Rashomon (1950) dir. Akira Kurosawa
Battle of Algiers (1966) dir. Gillo Pontecorvo
Peppermint Frappé (1967) dir. Carlos Saura
The Emigrants (1970) dir. Jan Troell
The Terminal Man (1974) dir. Mike Hodges
Heimat (1984) dir. Edgar Reitz
The Vanishing (1988) dir. George Sluizer

He often searched for people from the films that intrigued him for his own projects, as well as called/wrote to congratulate them and ask questions about their work.

This article was compiled in part thanks to Nick Wrigley and his extensive article on the subject for the British Film Institute, made on the occasion of Stanley Kubrick’s 85th birthday, as well as various books and biographies!

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