Paul Thomas Anderson – Favorite Films

Paul Thomas Anderson: 'As a film-maker, you have to convince people to follow your madness'

Paul Thomas Anderson is, unquestionably, one of the most talented and respected filmmakers working in Hollywood today.  His films, which span several genres – from historical dramas (There Will Be Blood) to neo-noir comedy-dramas (Inherent Vice) – are cited by his contemporaries as masterpieces and personal favorites.  Anderson is currently filming a yet-to-be-titled film starring Daniel Day Lewis.  According to IMDb, the film is “[s]et in the fashion world of 1950s London, a dressmaker is commissioned to design for members of high society and the royal family.”  You can find a comprehensive selection of PTA’s favorite films below.  Feel free to click on the images for more information (via Amazon).


Stray Dog

The Complete Mr. Arkadin


A Prarie Home Companion


Nightmare Alley

North by Northwest

Ordinary People

Out of the Past

The Complete Jacques Tati

Repo Man (1984)

Bad Day at Black Rock

Bad Santa


The Best Years of Our Lives

The Black Stallion

Bob Le Flameur

Breaking Away

Syndromes and a Century

Tropical Malady

You Can Count on Me

White Heat

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Sweet Smell of Success

Secret Honor

Cabin Fever


Dancer in the Dark

The Dark Corner

Dark Star


This Is Spinal Tap


The Silence of the Lambs

The Beatles: Help!

The Lady From Shanghai

The Killing


McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Meet the Parents

Melvin and Howard

Mystic River

Mystic River was adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name – we previously examined Lehane’s favorite novels: Dennis Lehane’s Favorite Books

Destination Tokyo

Dr. Strangelove

Earrings of Madame de…

Sid & Nancy

Almost Famous

East of Eden

Eyes Wide Shut

The Gay Divorcee



*We previously examined the favorite films of director Quentin Tarantino: Quentin Tarantino’s Favorite Films

Pulp Fiction

Raging Bull


The Ballad of Jack and Rose

Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Big Lebowski

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Sweet and Lowdown



I’m Still Here

Lost in Translation


Anderson and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins recently appeared on a episode of the DGA podcast “The Director’s Cut,” where Anderson called Jenkins “the current master of cinematic close-ups…I’m very jealous of your close-ups…There’s a long line of people who have really tried to do Jonathan Demme close-ups and I try all the time, but I have to say, you got it right better than anybody…I’m like how is he doing that? I’ve tried so hard. I suppose it has to do with the right faces, but it has to do a little more than that.”

A Quiet Place

During an interview with the LA Times published on December 10, 2018, Anderson stated the following about John Krasinski’s directorial debut:

“Everybody was completely quiet to the point where you could really hear the silence,” Anderson remembered. “It’s so loud, the silence, and it’s not something you’re used to in movies. Everybody’s talking about movies on TV, but there’s a reason why this was a big movie in theaters. And there was a joy going to see it with an audience. It would not have been the same without a lot of other people around you.”

Sources: (Numerous interviews with Anderson, including IndieWireLA Times)

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We strongly recommend checking out the following films by Anderson, as well as the newly released soundtrack for There Will Be Blood.

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