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Stars and directors like Nolan, Whedon, Wright, Carell and Ford on the movies that inspire them

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JOSS WHEDON ON
THE MATRIX
Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon "The Matrix is my number one. It was a movie that made me want to put down my pen and say, 'Oh, so that's how you tell a story. I'll be over here weeping.' I thought there were two things I was put on this Earth to do and in the same year I saw The Matrix and read Harry Potter and thought, 'Well, apparently someone's done them for me. I therefore have been put on this Earth for no reason and will just have to wait until I go away, like a boil.' It was very depressing for me. Initially I just thought, 'Well, the trailer looks good. Science fiction film, so I must go.' I managed not to have seen anything, so when Keanu Reeves found out what the real world was like, my jaw was on the goddamn floor. And then it just kept paying off and paying off and paying off and the structure just got tighter and tighter and tighter. And it works on so many philosophical levels. It's much more than a yarn, it is an intense philosophical or religious or psychological piece. It works on whatever level you want to bring to it."


Brad Bird BRAD BIRD ON
TOY STORY
"I've known John Lasseter a long time, and when I saw Toy Story I called him up and just fell all over myself with praise for it because I felt it was just the finest animated movie that had been done since Walt Disney died. I just thought the characters were so original and fresh, and yet there was a real heart to it. And it was visually inventive and kind of bold but sweet. Here I am again, falling all over myself. I think it is just a fantastic film. See, I'm embarrassing myself now, aren't I?"


Rob Reiner ROB REINER ON
CITIZEN KANE
"Of course, this is everyone's favourite film. You always hear it talked about for its technical brilliance, but I love it for its emotional brilliance too. It combines everything. It's a great character piece, it's a great commentary on American industry and politics, it's technically brilliant and it's a great story. It's probably the most perfectly put together film ever because it combines all these things so masterfully: great photography, great acting, great screenwriting. The theme is incredible and it's a great story. It's no wonder it comes up on so many lists."


Simon Pegg
SIMON PEGG ON
PULP FICTION
"This is a brilliant film and a real distillation of Tarantino's interests, his style and his influences. It's just enormous. Me and Nick Frost went to see it in 1994 and Nick bought me a Pulp Fiction T-shirt for that Christmas. It was a long-sleeved one with John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson on the front. As a postmodern film director, as someone who had been inspired by directors, I think he was the vanguard of that chapter of cinema, of self-reflexivity and being able to embrace pulp literature and the 'B' aspect of cinema, which has gone, really. I remember seeing it and loving the way he played with the narrative, like seeing Vincent Vega after he gets killed. The dramatic irony of that was very powerful."

Sam Mendes SAM MENDES ON
THE GODFATHER
"I think in the future, when people want to know what it was like to be alive in the first half of the 20th century in America, during a period of the greatest upheaval, I think that the first two Godfather will be what they watch; they've already stood the test of time. I really don't know how Francis Ford Coppola did it. But you only have to watch Godfather Part III to see how difficult it is..."


Paddy Considine PADDY CONSIDINE ON
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
"Fellowship, to me, was it. I was a fan of Peter Jackson, having seen all his early work, but to me Lord Of The Rings was a total geekfest. My mate Richard used to, as a teenager, paint little fucking goblins and that. He was proper into Rings and I went with him and my wife, expecting to fall asleep. But I was genuinely enchanted by it - as I was driving home in the car, I couldn't stop thinking about that fucking black thing on the horse! There were all these names, 'Bogwat' and fucking 'Dickwad' and all that, but I was captivated and the next day I went out and bought all three books and read them, and became an absolute geek for Lord Of The Rings overnight. And this is the best bit: I started painting little fucking Games Workshop models!"


BRYAN SINGER ON
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Bryan Singer
Bryan Singer "What Empire did was, it didn't try to be Star Wars. It actually took the story in a natural progression - which didn't leave it on a particularly happy note. It set up a larger picture: Luke discovers this terrible secret, there's hidden mystery regarding Leia, Luke's hand gets chopped off, everyone is spun off to the four corners of the galaxy, Han Solo is frozen in carbonite. It's a classic cliffhanger, yet in the form of a major motion picture so there wouldn't be a follow-up for a long period of time, and Lucas wasn't afraid of that. He wasn't afraid to leave you cinematically satisfied but at the same time leaving you wondering what was going to happen next, and that's important."


Will Smith WILL SMITH ON
STAR WARS
"Star Wars was really the first time that I just had my mind blown by a movie. It was the film that had the greatest impact on my desire to make action films. You had to love the comedy duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO. When you look back at Star Wars, some of the special effects weren't great. You could probably build R2-D2 and C-3PO in your house, you know?"


Jon Favreau JON FAVREAU ON
GOODFELLAS
"In GoodFellas, Scorsese brought a whole new level to a genre he'd lived in for years, in much the same way as Clint Eastwood did with Unforgiven. It was a very simple biopic turned into something that commented not just on the American Dream, but also explored several decades and eras. The whole nature of the film changes as it goes. It's extremely compelling and extremely real because every scene you see feels like real people talking, whether it was improvised or otherwise. If you look at the time it was released, it didn't make a lot of money. That's why it's great to have lists like this, because you can see what's stuck with people."


Christopher Nolan
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN ON
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
"When I first saw it I liked it, but wouldn't have rated it as one of my favourite films. But I've seen it many times over the years and it gets better and better."

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