Paul Thomas Anderson's Favorite Films


Created 07/13/13

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"My filmmaking education consisted of finding out what filmmakers I liked were watching, then seeing those films."These are Paul's favorite films that are part of the Criterion family and they were taken from various interviews that are available to read at: Cigarettes & Red Vines: The Definitive Paul Thomas Anderson Resource.

  • "I came across it at a video store when I was 15. Robert Downey Sr. seemed interesting to me because I'd just seen Robert Downey Jr. in some little movie. I was also interested in having a 'black culture' phase in my life, and this seemed like a cool movie. When I watched it, I realized that you could be really punk rock in a movie. You could do anything: it didn't have to make sense. As long as it was funny, or funny to the guy who was making it, it would come across as exciting. At the time, Downey Sr. was considered very odd and avant-garde."

  • Welles is an idol of his

  • "I love Godard in a very film school way. I cant say that I've ever been emotionally attacked by him. Where I have been emotionally attacked by Truffaut."

  • "This is what I call a 'pop song' movie. It's so simple. You can say it in one sentence: a
    rookie cop loses his gun. It's unbelievable. And this movie opens with a bang, which I
    love. The first shot is a close-up of a guy saying, 'I lost my gun.' It's funny: Truffaut's in
    France, ripping off American gangster movies, Kurosawa's over in Japan doing the
    same. They sit there going, 'We love Howard Hawks, we love Raoul Walsh,' and then
    they take them home, mix it up and take it to another level. And the violence isn't
    gratuitous - it fucking hurts. It's, like, Fuck! Ow! Dead! Blood everywhere!"

  • Paul's debut ("Hard Eight" or "Sydney" if your a true fan) owes a lot to Melville's masterpiece

  • Paul did say he was trying to make a Jacques Tati film when he was making Punch Drunk Love.

  • Think Paul or Scorsese are the masters of the tracking shot? Listen to his introduction to this gem of a film and then you tell me.

  • "I always loved gangster movies, but if you've seen a hundred of them you've seen two
    hundred of them, right? But in this, Truffaut took the American gangster movies that I
    knew and loved as a kid all that Humphrey Bogart stuff - and took it somewhere brand
    new and postmodern: our hero could be a little skinnier and not so tough. This films
    also taught me how to dress - I wanted to wear those suits! I wanted to be in that
    movie! The people in the film weren't typically handsome, but they were so sexy and

  • A film he wishes he would have written.

  • "As far as I'm concerned, he's under appreciated," Anderson said of the British cult filmmaker."I was 13 or 14 years old and I recognized the world [of ‘Repo Man']. There such abandon in this movie – it's focused, it's funny, it's outlandish. It's talky in a way that never feels like a stage play 'cause it's always moving. Quentin [Tarantino] I'm sure loved this movie, we've never talked about it, but there's Quentin fingerprints all over the way these characters talk to each other."

  • “If people want to call me Little Bobbie Altman, then I have no problem with that at all.”

  • Paul obsession with this mockumentary inspired him to make his own doc: The Dirk Diggler Story, the basis for Boogie Nights.

  • "Did you consciously train your ear to be sensitive to how people talk?"

    "I probably did when I was eighteen and was just starting as a writer. Actually my mission then was to rip off David Mamet, because I foolishly believed Mamet's dialogue was how people really talked. It took me a while to realize that Mamet had developed a wonderfully stylized way of highlighting the way humans speak. People immediately think of dialogue when they hear Mamet's name, but I think the strength of his writing is his storytelling - he uses very solid, old fashioned techniques in setting up his stories. House of Games, for instance, is one the best scripts ever written, and it's the story structure that makes it so brilliant."

  • "We're all children of Kubrick, aren't we? Is there anything you can do that he hasn't done?"

  • "Which three directors influenced you the most?” “Jonathan Demme, Jonathan Demme, and Jonathan Demme.”


  • By Hugo A.
    December 30, 2013
    03:00 AM

  • By Tyler Pollitt
    February 05, 2014
    02:08 PM

    Love PTA! He's the greatest contemporary filmmaker working today! Most notably, you can see the influence of Altman and Scorsese, especially in Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Though, with The Master and There will be Blood, I see Kubrick and lots of him, the final shot of There will be Blood?? I thought Kubrick had returned from the dead to film it!!
      September 07, 2014
      01:19 PM

      I LOVED The Master!
    • By un_samourai
      April 18, 2015
      01:33 AM

      I got that too from the end of "...Blood", very Kubrickian in the best possible way.
  • By sailoroftheseas
    August 08, 2014
    02:26 PM

    this is great
    August 25, 2014
    11:06 AM

    My favourite director. Punch drunk love is such a masterpiece.
      September 07, 2014
      01:19 PM

      Such a great romance film.
    • By dbro7
      August 28, 2015
      08:41 PM

      It really is, my second PTA film. Paul won the best director award at Cannes for it beating out --- get this: Roman Polanski
  • By Mark Alfred Elliott
    October 11, 2015
    10:37 AM

    "May be" rather than "maybe".
  • By Mark Alfred Elliott
    October 11, 2015
    10:42 AM

    " Casting Julian Moore (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) and Philip Baker Hall (Sydney,Boogie Nights, Magnolia) were based on they're performances in those excellent Altman films." "Julian" = Julianne, "were" = was, "they're" = their It's not about getting it right the first time. It's about proofreading before you post.
    • By 27Bstroke6
      October 11, 2015
      12:09 PM

      Hey, Noah Webster... relax and the corrections already!
      October 11, 2015
      05:00 PM

      Thank you for correcting me.
  • By Milton F.
    October 11, 2015
    10:58 AM

    When you guys gonna bring out "Punch Drunk Love" on blu-ray?
  • By John Burt
    October 11, 2015
    02:11 PM

    Not sure A Woman is A Woman influenced Sandler's blue suit. I'm pretty certain that would be The Long Goodbye (Altman). That being said, I have no doubt Godard's movie did have some influence.
    • By Nick D
      April 29, 2017
      02:54 AM

      I think "Somthing Wild" inspired the blue suit
  • By JulesAteJim
    October 11, 2015
    03:22 PM

    Criterion really need to release Boogie Nights. And Sydney. And Magnolia. And Punch-Drunk Love. And There Will Be Blood. And The Master. And Inherent Vice.
  • By impossiblefunky
    October 14, 2015
    11:13 AM

    I don't want to come off as a dick so I'll just ask... Are you ESL?
      November 18, 2015
      06:08 PM

      I'm allergic to proofreading, sir.