The Films That Inspired Filmmakers to Become Filmmakers

In our editorial arm, we love to ask filmmakers—from directors, to writers, to actors—which films inspired them to make the celluloid craft their living. This list is a running tally of their choices so far. See notes for the filmmaker with a link to their interview.

Films are listed in alphabetical order. One film per filmmaker if they gave us more than one choice, depending on which made a greater impact in the context of their answer.

Interviewees that did not nominate feature films as their answer:

• A, My Name is Alex (1987): Lil Rel Howery, star of Brittany Runs a Marathon.
• Jackass (2000—2007): Daniel Scheinert, director of The Death of Dick Long.
• The Storyteller (1987—1989): Shannon Murphy, director of Babyteeth.

Read notes
  • Aliens
  • All That Jazz
  • Almost Famous
  • American Beauty
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Back to the Future
  • Boogie Nights
  • Clue
  • Das Boot
  • First Blood
  • Forever Young, Forever Free
  • Friday Night
  • The Graduate
  • In the Mood for Love
  • Jurassic Park
  • Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance
  • La Strada
  • The Lord of the Rings Collection
  • Memento
  • Minority Report
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Opening Night
  • The Piano
  • Point of Order!
  • Pulp Fiction
  • The Rolling Stones: Cocksucker Blues
  • Seance on a Wet Afternoon
  • The Secret of NIMH
  • The Shining
  • Some Kind of Wonderful
  • The Sound of Music
  • Star Wars
  • Stranger Than Paradise
  • Taxi Driver
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • The Thin Blue Line
  • The Truman Show
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Welcome to the Dollhouse