The Favorite Films of 10 Famous Actors


We’re always keeping track of what our favorite authors, artists, and pop culture heroes are obsessed with at the moment. After exploring the favorite films of famous filmmakers, we wanted to dig into the cerebral movie files of famous actors. Some of these picks are extremely personal for our list of screen stars — and who can explain why better than someone with a camera constantly pointed at them? Skip past the break to check out a few favorites, and then let us know if any surprise you in the comments below.

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman will be reprising his role as Commissioner Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, which opens in theaters next weekend. His favorite films, however, have nothing to do with the world of comics — though some of them are graphic in their violence. Francis Ford Coppola directed Oldman’s core trio of choices. The actor finds the “grandeur” of Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and The Godfather: Part II enthralling, calling each work “masterful.” For Oldman, Terrence Malick’s Badlands has “exquisite” storytelling, while Lynne Ramsay’s debut feature Ratcatcher — set in a housing tenement in 1970’s Glasgow — is “a masterful piece of filmmaking.”

Charlie Chaplin

The Charlie Chaplin Club cites F.W. Murnau’s 1927 romantic drama Sunrise and the movie Battleship Potemkin as two epics the silent film star adored. A late favorite of Chaplin’s was Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, which he apparently saw many times in the theater. Another club member shares that actor Jerry Lewis always kept Chaplin in stitches. We can imagine that, since their comedic timing is similar. “His daughter Geraldine once commented that the last time she saw her father alive, he was watching a Jerry Lewis film and laughing hysterically,” a member writes. “What a comforting thought that must be for her as a final image of her father, to be laughing at a comedy film.”

Gael García Bernal

Leave it to Science of Sleep actor Gael García Bernal to charm us with his list of favorites — including a Disney movie. “It was the first film I saw and through it I discovered cinema. Simple as that,” the actor said of Dumbo. We’d put money on him absolutely loving the psychedelic dream sequence, too. The soon to be Zorro Reborn star also appreciates the intense authenticity of Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas and the “eye-opening” 1968 film Memories of Underdevelopment. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful movie. A philosophical introspection on the nature of revolution and change and deciding to be on one side or the other. ”

Billy Bob Thornton

Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 western High Noon isn’t your typical gun-toting affair. It’s a largely emotional portrait of a marshal (Gary Cooper) who struggles with his sense of duty to his religious wife (Grace Kelly) and to uphold the law. The movie was controversial for some, including John Wayne who called it wholly “un-American.” The film’s atypical approach to the western genre probably explains why the oft-rebellious Billy Bob Thornton calls it his favorite. “To me, High Noon is kind of the perfect movie, because it deals with the real grit of human behavior. Let’s separate the men from the boys,” the star has said.

Lindsay Lohan

Although she’s most famous in recent years for her disastrous run-ins with the law, actress Lindsay Lohan was rumored to be cast in Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis’ LA thriller, The Canyons. When it comes to favorite movies, however, Lohan prefers something more on the “girly” side. She counts Breakfast at Tiffany’s as one of her favorites. We can see a few similarities between Holly Golightly and Lohan when it comes to their impulsivity and naiveté. Hopefully she takes a cue from the character and tries to further avoid letting disappointments and past mistakes overwhelm her completely.

James Franco

New York University students may have watched a few of Professor Franco’s favorite movies that portray varying perspectives on reality and feel effortless, despite being quite complex. Italian Neorealist classic The Bicycle Thief has a “deceivingly, simply constructed narrative” for the filmmaker, and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho seems to be a very personal movie for him. “Even before I started acting, this was a very important film to me. Obviously I was really drawn to the performances and characters, but the whole film just kept bringing it back,” he revealed. The 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter, which chronicles the last weeks of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour, also draws Franco in. “To me it has as much drama and tension as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill – it’s like the Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh all rolled together — but it’s real! I just can’t get enough of it.”

Tilda Swinton

We Need to Talk About Kevin’s Tilda Swinton highly recommends watching a scene from her favorite film of all time, I Know Where I’m Going, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The dream sequence where an English woman travels by train to meet a wealthy industrialist is the actress’ favorite part in the movie, most likely for its surreal and romantic symbolism. Swinton reveals her other favorites — one of them centering on the wild exploits of a gay Austrian fashion journalist — in the video below.

Nicolas Cage

“It’s a completely original experience and it has stood up against the test of time,” Nicolas Cage has said about the 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz. That’s a fitting pick for the Wild at Heart star since the 1990 David Lynch movie featured a brief homage to the classic film.

“Children are still enchanted by it, adults are still enchanted by it, and nobody has ever been able to capture that feeling since; and it’s a musical. Plus, that first introduction to color film, that doorway sequence and going in to Munchkin land — it’s just mind-blowingly beautiful. And her performance, her voice, Judy Garland — you know, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.”

Ernest Borgnine

The late Marty actor loved Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, about a man who tries to help his family cope with their time in a Nazi concentration camp.

“That is such a beautiful picture. I like the acting, I like the premise, I like the genuine honesty about the whole thing. It was one of those joyous things; even when [Roberto Benigni] was riding a bicycle, he was enjoying it, you know? ‘This is life, this is exceptional, this is something good!’ It’s just so beautiful. And it’s from the head and from the heart, and that’s what counts. And to me, Life is Beautiful is a beautiful film.”

Evan Rachel Wood

True Blood star Evan Rachel Wood — who will be appearing alongside Shia LaBeouf in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countrymancalls Arthur Penn’s 1962 emotional biopic The Miracle Worker (originally a stage production) her favorite. We wonder if that’s because the Thirteen actress started her career in theater and performed the play as Helen Keller under her father’s direction, opposite her mother as Keller’s instructor, Annie Sullivan.