Stanley Kubrick Lists His Top 10 Films

In 1963 Stanley Kubrick made his first and only list of favorite movies

Stanley Kubrick lists his top ten films“The first and only (as far as we know) Top 10 list Kubrick submitted to anyone was in 1963 to a fledgling American magazine named Cinema (which had been founded the previous year and ceased publication in 1976),” says the BFI’s Nick Wrigley.


Just a Daughter and her Father: Photographs of Vivian Kubrick's life with Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick with his daughter Vivian

The list:

1. I Vitelloni (Fellini, 1953)
2. Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Huston, 1948)
5. City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)
6. Henry V (Olivier, 1944)
7. La notte (Antonioni, 1961)
8. The Bank Dick (Fields, 1940—above)
9. Roxie Hart (Wellman, 1942)
10. Hell’s Angels (Hughes, 1930)


Cinema Magazine Kubrick

Published between 1963 and 1976, Cinema was the slightly more glamorous Tinseltown cousin to Jonas Mekas’ “Film Culture” that was likewise devoted to critical insight of contemporary world cinema as well as its historical precedents. During its decade and a half run, the “Cinema” editorial staff included noted art director, illustrator, and screenwriter Jim Silke, directors Curtis Lee Hanson and Paul Schrader, and a stellar roster of contributors coupled with a notable penchant for photographing the most alluring actresses of the day. The latter was likely due to the influence of longtime publisher Jack Martin Hanson, who along with his wife Sally owned JAX – Beverly Hills’ hippest women’s clothing boutique – and “The Daisy” – the members-only discotheque of choice for Hollywood’s beautiful people and power brokers alike. – Arcana Books


Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) didn’t stop watching films in 1963. Wrigley notes Kubrick confidant Jan Harlan, who said:  “Stanley would have seriously revised this 1963 list in later years, though Wild StrawberriesCitizen Kane and City Lights would remain, but he liked Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V much better than the old and old-fashioned Olivier version.”


Stanley Kubrick on the set of Spartacus - 1960

Stanley Kubrick on the set of Spartacus – 1960


And whose work did he like? in later years, Kubrick called Max Ophuls (6 May 1902 – 26 March 1957) the “highest of all” and “possessed of every possible quality”, adding that Elia Kazan (September 7, 1909 – September 28, 2003) was “without question the best director we have in America”, and praising David Lean (25 March 1908 – 16 April 1991), Vittorio de Sica (7 July 1901 – 13 November 1974), and François Truffaut (6 February 1932 – 21 October 1984).



“My sort of fantasy image of movies was created in the Museum of Modern Art, when I looked at Stroheim and D.W. Griffith and Eisenstein. I was starstruck by these fantastic movies. I was never starstruck in the sense of saying, ‘Gee, I’m going to go to Hollywood and make $5,000 a week and live in a great place and have a sports car’. I really was in love with movies. I used to see everything at the RKO in Loew’s circuit, but I remember thinking at the time that I didn’t know anything about movies, but I’d seen so many movies that were bad, I thought, ‘Even though I don’t know anything, I can’t believe I can’t make a movie at least as good as this’. And that’s why I started, why I tried.”

— Stanley Kubrick Interviewed by Lloyd Grove, Washington Post, June 28th 1987



Katharina Kubrick (l) And Tina Broccoli (film Producer) (r) Daughters Of Film Director Stanley Kubrick And Film Producer Cubby Broccoli. Box 698 813071665 A.jpg. 3 Dec 1976

Katharina Kubrick (l) And Tina Broccoli (film Producer) (r) Daughters Of Film Director Stanley Kubrick And Film Producer Cubby Broccoli. 3 Dec 1976


Wrigley continues:

The only other authoritative list of films Kubrick admired appeared in September 1999 on the alt.movies.kubrick Usenet newsgroup courtesy of his daughter Katharina Kubrick-Hobbs, introduced with her premonitory words:

“There does seem to be a weird desire from people to ‘list’ things. The best, the worst, greatest, most boring, etc. etc… Don’t go analysing yourself to death over this half-remembered list. He liked movies on their own terms… For the record, I happen to know that he liked:

and I know that he hated The Wizard of Oz. Ha Ha!”


Via: BFI, Open Culture

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