Films That Made Me Become a Filmmaker

by jorellis | created - 09 Apr 2014 | updated - 18 May 2014 | Public

From the birth of cinema to today's contemporary film has inspired numerous filmmakers across the globe. These are the films that show/express potential, philosophy, beauty, meaning, imagination, study, entertainment, etc.

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1. Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

180 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis.

Director: Ray Müller | Stars: Leni Riefenstahl, Marlene Dietrich, Walter Frentz, Joseph Goebbels

Votes: 1,345 | Gross: $0.45M

2. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)

Not Rated | 100 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Siegfried, son of King Sigmund, hears of the beautiful sister of Gunter, King of Worms, Kriemhild. On his way to Worms, he kills a dragon and finds a treasure, the Hort. He helps Gunther to... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Paul Richter, Margarete Schön, Theodor Loos, Gertrud Arnold

Votes: 4,311

3. Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge (1924)

Not Rated | 129 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

After Siegfried's dead, Kriemhild marries Etzel, the King of the Huns. She gives birth to a child, and invites her brothers for a party. She tries to persuade Etzel and the other Huns, that... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Margarete Schön, Gertrud Arnold, Theodor Loos, Hans Carl Mueller

Votes: 3,257

4. The Master (2012)

R | 138 min | Drama

86 Metascore

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons

Votes: 121,476 | Gross: $16.38M

5. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

R | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

67 Metascore

A year after their father's funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan

Votes: 155,313 | Gross: $11.90M

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

R | 99 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

88 Metascore

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody

Votes: 583,722 | Gross: $59.10M

7. Lake of Fire (2006)

Unrated | 152 min | Documentary

83 Metascore

A graphic documentary on both sides of the abortion debate.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Noam Chomsky, Bill Baird, Flip Benham, Dallas Blanchard

Votes: 2,286 | Gross: $0.02M

8. Princes and Princesses (2000)

70 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Six old-style funny silhouetted fairy tales for not so-old-style people.

Director: Michel Ocelot | Stars: Arlette Mirapeu, Philippe Cheytion, Yves Barsacq, François Voisin

Votes: 1,725

9. Gimme Shelter (1970)

GP | 91 min | Documentary, Music, Thriller

80 Metascore

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts

Votes: 9,238 | Gross: $0.25M

10. La Haine (1995)

Not Rated | 98 min | Crime, Drama

24 hours in the lives of three young men in the French suburbs the day after a violent riot.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz | Stars: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui, Abdel Ahmed Ghili

Votes: 123,514 | Gross: $0.31M

11. Dogville (2003)

R | 178 min | Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits the town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Harriet Andersson

Votes: 119,155 | Gross: $1.53M

12. Nebraska (2013)

R | 115 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

86 Metascore

An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk

Votes: 100,881 | Gross: $17.65M

13. Pas de deux (1968)

G | 13 min | Animation, Short, Musical

Two ballet dancers perform a dance enhanced with surreal multi and after-image effect visuals.

Director: Norman McLaren | Stars: Margaret Mercier, Vincent Warren

Votes: 1,176

14. Begone Dull Care (1949)

Not Rated | 8 min | Animation, Short, Music

Abstract images drawn directly onto the film are accompanied by three pieces of jazz performed by the Oscar Peterson trio.

Directors: Evelyn Lambart, Norman McLaren

Votes: 1,205

15. Neighbours (1952)

Not Rated | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A surreal story of two neighbours' destructive feud over a flower.

Director: Norman McLaren | Stars: Grant Munro, Jean Paul Ladouceur

Votes: 2,474

16. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (1997)

Not Rated | 90 min | Animation, Action, Drama

Concurrent theatrical ending of the TV series "Shin Seiki Evangelion" (1995).

Directors: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki | Stars: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yûko Miyamura, Kotono Mitsuishi

Votes: 23,388

17. Taste of Cherry (1997)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari, Safar Ali Moradi

Votes: 17,414 | Gross: $0.31M

18. Lines: Horizontal (1962)

6 min | Animation, Short

Lines: Horizontal is a movie made by etching lines directly onto film, like its sister Lines: Vertical. The entire movie consists of horizontal lines dancing in various mathematical patterns to beautiful music.

Directors: Evelyn Lambart, Norman McLaren

Votes: 368

19. Legend of the Forest (1987 Video)

30 min | Animation, Short

A tranquil forest and all of its residents must face the destruction of man. A squirrel, born and raised in the forrest, fights to defend his home and faces trials and adversities along the... See full summary »

Director: Osamu Tezuka

Votes: 235

20. Synchromy (1971)

7 min | Short, Animation

The film's soundtrack is an original musical composition produced with synthetic sound - through photographing unusual geometric shapes and running them through an optical sound head. The ... See full summary »

Director: Norman McLaren

Votes: 406

21. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 29,968 | Gross: $1.72M

22. The House Is Black (1963)

20 min | Documentary, Short

Set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes "ugliness", of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude.

Director: Forugh Farrokhzad | Stars: Forugh Farrokhzad, Ebrahim Golestan, Hossein Mansouri

Votes: 3,222

23. The Blue Umbrella (2013)

G | 7 min | Animation, Short, Family

Amidst the rain in a singing city, two umbrellas- one blue, one not- fall eternally in love.

Director: Saschka Unseld | Star: Sarah Jaffe

Votes: 6,795

24. The 400 Blows (1959)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier, Guy Decomble

Votes: 85,269

25. Cries & Whispers (1972)

R | 91 min | Drama

When a woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden is visited by her two sisters, long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin

Votes: 23,252

26. Tanin no kao (1966)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Mikijirô Hira, Kyôko Kishida, Miki Irie

Votes: 5,414

27. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 499,218 | Gross: $56.95M

28. Funny Games (1997)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

Two violent young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering

Votes: 51,684

29. Amour (2012)

PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Romance

94 Metascore

Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud

Votes: 80,116 | Gross: $6.74M

30. Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror

While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg

Votes: 14,264

31. Persona (1966)

Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Thriller

A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personas are melding together.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand

Votes: 78,192

32. There Will Be Blood (2007)

R | 158 min | Drama

93 Metascore

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds, Martin Stringer

Votes: 433,699 | Gross: $40.22M

Oil just leaves destruction and the greed of human nature. There Will Be Blood is the key definition of these tendencies. A masterpiece unfolded in this blend of the upbringing of oil in early American history. Daniel-Day Lewis performs a remarkable character that personifies the greed of the oil industry, also characterized as a misanthropic soul. Paul Dano is essential playing the role of the hypocritical saint.

33. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama

67 Metascore

An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman

Votes: 76,538 | Gross: $3.31M

34. Down by Law (1986)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

Votes: 40,855 | Gross: $1.44M

35. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

86 Metascore

A New Yorker's life is thrown into a tailspin when his younger cousin surprise visits him, starting a strange, unpredictable adventure.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark

Votes: 28,825 | Gross: $2.44M

36. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

100 Metascore

The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge, Jean-Claude Guilbert

Votes: 13,867 | Gross: $0.04M

37. Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki (2012)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Drama, Family

71 Metascore

After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young woman must find ways to raise the werewolf son and daughter that she had with him while keeping their traits hidden from society.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Ohsawa, Haru Kuroki, Yukito Nishii

Votes: 26,685

38. Alice in the Cities (1974)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

A German journalist is saddled with a nine-year-old girl after encountering her mother at a New York airport.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Yella Rottländer, Rüdiger Vogler, Lisa Kreuzer, Edda Köchl

Votes: 7,599

39. Kings of the Road (1976)

Not Rated | 175 min | Drama

A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Rüdiger Vogler, Hanns Zischler, Lisa Kreuzer, Rudolf Schündler

Votes: 3,889

With its influence of America culture as well as a tribute for cinema Wenders displays nothing conventional, instead he is able to express a meaningful way of what friendship is, developed between two alienated characters who are traveling through that infamous road of life as well as experiencing things people miss out on, seeing life in a tender way in a B&W world. In someway Wenders puts himself in the film.

40. Most (2003)

29 min | Short, Drama

A poetic and powerful story of a father forced to choose between love and duty.

Director: Bobby Garabedian | Stars: Vladimír Javorský, Linda Rybová, Ladislav Ondrej, Ester Geislerová

Votes: 1,319

41. Wings of Desire (1987)

PG-13 | 128 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

79 Metascore

An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois

Votes: 53,572 | Gross: $3.21M

42. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, War

96 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 390,916 | Gross: $0.28M

43. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,329,744 | Gross: $134.97M

44. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

R | 202 min | Crime, Drama

85 Metascore

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton

Votes: 919,529 | Gross: $57.30M

45. Spirited Away (2001)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

96 Metascore

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Directors: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise | Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi

Votes: 505,902 | Gross: $10.06M

46. Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 123,214

True is subjective in this Kurosawa's masterpiece. Involving the unique perspectives of eye witnesses account of rape and murder, though each story different from the next. "It is the art of art" as Robert Altman once said. Rashomon is a film that challenges your intellect and mind and expressing your own thoughts. No doubt, this is a question of what is truth?

47. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 263,889 | Gross: $0.27M

I consider Seven Samurai to be a western in Medieval Japan. More importantly we see the similarities between the samurai and the cowboy. Though separate countries, both follow a code of honor. It is also the structure of morality as well. It's lesson to be learn, about how to stand up for your fears and how to reform a person’s delayed bravery, so as a loosely based western it also becomes a lifelong lesson.

48. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

96 Metascore

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 92,377 | Gross: $3.52M

49. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 36,798