Films I love

If you’re thinking about doing one of my screenwriting courses, it’s probably a good idea for you to see whether I like the sort of films you want to make. Here is a list of films I love. It is by no means exhaustive but it should give you some sense of my sensibility.

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • A Day at the Races
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • After Hours
  • American Beauty
  • Annie Hall
  • An Officer & a Gentleman
  • The Apartment (Billy Wilder’s 1960 version)
  • Arthur
  • As it is in Heaven
  • Bad Boy Bubby
  • Back to the Future
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Being There
  • Belleville Rendezvous (Les triplettes de Belleville)
  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • The Bicycle Thieves
  • The Big Sleep
  • The Birdcage
  • Blood Simple
  • Blues Brothers
  • Body Heat
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Bull Durham
  • Buried
  • Casablanca
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Chinatown
  • Cocoon
  • The Conversation
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Dead Calm
  • Dead Man Walking
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Delicatessan
  • Dial M for Murder
  • Dirty Harry
  • Diva
  • Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder’s original)
  • Duck soup
  • The Elephant Man
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about sex
  • Fargo
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Festen
  • 50/50
  • Flying High! (Airplane!)
  • Four Lions
  • Full Monty
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Funny Bones
  • The Godfather
  • The Godfather Part II
  • The Goodbye Girl
  • The Graduate
  • The Great Escape
  • The Great Santini
  • Goodfellas
  • Grease
  • Grosse Point Blank
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Hangover
  • High Fidelity
  • The Incredibles
  • Il Postino
  • In Bruges
  • It Happened One Night
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Jagged Edge
  • Jaws
  • Juno
  • The King’s Speech
  • Kramer vs Kramer
  • LA Confidential
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • The Last Seduction
  • Les Ripoux
  • Life is Sweet
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Lives of Others
  • Local Hero
  • Looking for Eric
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Manhattan
  • Meet the Parents
  • Metropolitan
  • Midnight Run
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Monsieur Hire
  • Moonstruck
  • My Fair Lady
  • North by Northwest
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • The Others
  • Parenthood
  • Philomena
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Priest
  • Psycho
  • The Prophet
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Quiz Show
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Rear Window
  • Remains of the Day
  • Reuben, Reuben
  • Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
  • Rocky
  • Ruthless People
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Schindler’s List
  • Sea of Love
  • Serpico
  • Shrek
  • Sideways
  • Silent Movie
  • Sleeper
  • The Snapper
  • The Social Network
  • Some like it hot
  • The Sound of Music
  • Stalag 17
  • Stand by me
  • Star Wars
  • Strangers on a Train
  • Strictly Ballroom
  • Superbad
  • The Sweet Hereafter
  • 10 Things I hate about you
  • 13 Days
  • To kill a mockingbird
  • The 39 Steps
  • Tootsie
  • Toy Story
  • Toy Story 3
  • Trading Places
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Up
  • The Verdict
  • Vertigo
  • Waltzing Regitze
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Withnail & I
  • Witness
  • Witness for the Prosecution
  • The Year My Voice Broke
  • You Can Count On Me

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom September 19, 2010 at 3:23 am

I just discovered your site and am really enjoying it. Your post on the midpoint was especially helpful. I am surprised On the Waterfrotn is not on your top list here, it seems a good fit!

Allen Palmer January 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Yeah, sorry, Tom. I saw On the Waterfront a very long time ago and don’t remember much about it. I must take another look at it. Or at least add it to the very long list of films I need to look at.

Sanket February 18, 2011 at 10:09 am

You neither have ‘Raging Bull’ nor ‘Taxi Driver’ in your list. What’s with that?
I simply abhorred ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

Allen Palmer February 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

Very simple, Sanket. Didn’t love them. Scorsese is a very fine film-maker but he’s not looking to produce in his audience what I seek. I didn’t mind either film, and I can see the art and craft in them, but, no, didn’t love them.

Claire Ewart February 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Fargo! Do I need to give this one another go? Didn’t engage me beyond the first 30 minutes many moons ago. I think I have a phobia with the Coen brothers because I hear people wax lyrical about their films and internally groan. I did try Raising Arizona and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou – arrrgh! These guys are just not on my wavelength, or maybe my wavelength is way off. Am I missing something significant with these guys? Do I need to decode the Coen conundrum to improve and inform my screenwriting?

Helen Connolly March 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Have you considered “Pleasantville” and “Election” with Reece Witherspoon? Quirky, different, engaging?

ImSpartacus March 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I don’t see Amadeus on your list. That’s OK, must be a typo.

andrew April 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Dead Poet Society is terrible. Especially for a screenwriter. The whole story is forced and there isn’t a real character amongst them. Anyone can quote poetry.
And it looks like 99 % of films are american. Fellini? Rossellini? Godard? Truffuat? Renoir? Antonioni?
And how can a screenwriter not feel anything towards Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver and Raging Bull)?
A Serious Man? No Country for Old Men? At least you have Blood Simple.
All of this aside, ur sites pretty cool.

Rae E May 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Hi Allen
I’m not a writer but I am a lover of great stories. No amount of special effects is going to keep me entertained. Big ticks above for Eternal Sunshine and The Last Seduction but Juno?? I know I’m in the minority as it was a huge hit but I actually felt like throwing a brick at the screen.
I’m a teenager, I’m pregnant, just chill, I’ll just give it to this nice pretty lady….yeah like soooo cooool…AGGGHHHH!!

Daniel Smith October 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Wow! Love the list. Love the site even more!

Have you seen the 80s classic Mr. Destiny with James Belushi? Patrick Swayze in Ghost? Clue? Funny Farm with Chevy Chase? Man’s Favorite Sport starring Rock Hudson?

These are some of my favorites. I see many other favorites in your list – particularly Groundhog Day.

Matt Hobson November 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Hi Allen,

Love your website.

What are your thoughts on Fight Club? Aside from the social commentary, dark humour, killer twist and cool direction from Fincher, I think Ed Norton’s character has an interesting inner journey. Although I find that most people who like this film seem to have been predominantly male twenty-somethings like myself in the late nineties.

Rohini December 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Love your site! It really helps to get my creative juices flowing :)
I see you have “It Happened One Night” and many, many other of my favorite movies on your list. I noticed though that you didn’t have “Roman Holiday” or “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” on your list and was very curious as to why…

Chris Jacobs February 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Sunset Boulevard! C’mon now! Thanks so much for your website, it’s very very helpful! I love it :D

info March 15, 2014 at 12:58 am

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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