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Stanley Kubrick’s Favorite Films Included ‘The Jerk,’ ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ & ‘Modern Romance’

Stanley Kubrick's Favorite Films Included 'The Jerk,' 'White Men Can't Jump' & 'Modern Romance'

Anyone who is fan of Stanley Kubrick is aware of the fact that he was a very private man. He rarely did interviews, and his process is as discussed as it remains elusive. He was painstakingly meticulous, a perfectionist, and many would assume that Mr. Kubrick was a serious man both on and off the set. There are many indications, however, that suggest otherwise. Over at Criterion, Joshua Warren has compiled a list of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films, a list he gathered from interviews with friends, family, and colleagues as well as from an interview Kubrick did about fifty years ago. While there are certainly a fair amount of high-brow titles on the list, you may be surprised to learn just how… diverse it is.

The list Warren compiled includes titles from the Criterion Collection, such as “Henry V,” “I vitelloni,” “Wild Strawberries,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and Max Ophuls‘ “Le plaisir” and “La ronde” (based on the play by Arthur Schnitzler, who also penned “Traumnovelle,” the source material for Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut“). But Warren also included titles that aren’t in the Criterion Collection, like “Eraserhead,” “Citizen Kane,” “City Lights,” “The Godfather” and more surprising movies like “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Modern Romance,” and “The Jerk.” No, that’s no joke. “White Men Can’t Jump” is indeed among Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films. Perhaps it was the budding chemistry between Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson that won him over. Or maybe the chess playing Kubrick was also a major baller. It’s no secret that Stanley Kubrick had a wicked sense of humor, but it’s always amusing to learn about the lighter side of the late auteur.

Be sure to check out the entire list here. Next time, we’ll learn that Andrei Tarkovsky was a huge fan of “Revenge of the Nerds” and that Ingmar Bergman loved the “Police Academy” movies.

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Directors seem much more comfortable with acknowledging lighter films than critics are. Go take a look at the Sight&Sound polls where they have critic top tens and director top tens. The contrast is pretty striking: most critic lists feel extremely self-aware and picked based on intellect whereas those of directors' feel more organic, like they actually picked the films they enjoy the most and not the ones which "belong" on a best of all time list.


The guy made Dr. Strangelove. What's so surprising about him enjoying a comedy?


There's a serious rumor going around that one of Terrence Malick's favorite movies is ZOOLANDER. No joke.


kubrick was also a huge armageddon fan.


What an ignorant response, Ken. Why is it surprising that Kubrick liked light comedies? Answer me that. Also, Modern Romance and The Jerk have been well-known as Kubrick favorites for decades. Hardly new news. He once called Modern Romance "a perfect movie." And he was a huge Steve Martin fan (he wanted Martin for the Sydney Pollack role in Eyes Wide Shut).


I'm probably nitpicking here, but CITIZEN KANE actually was a Criterion title at one point, back in the days of Laserdiscs. In fact I still own a copy.

Anonymous Hater

You forgot to title this piece: "BREAKING: Stanley Kubrick liked films that entertained him as well as thoughtful, more serious films. What an idiot right? He should just hate everything except the work of Bela Tarr like The Playlist does."


Whoops! La Ronde is not source material for Eyes Wide Shut. Eyes Wide Shut is an update of Rhapsody – also published as Dream Story (Traumnovelle – 1925/26). Both La Ronde and Rhapsody were written by Arthur Schnitzler.


"An American Werewolf in London (…) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" !
Also Victor Erice's The Spirit of the Beehive is an absolute must-see.


I believe he was also a huge fan of Heimat whilst I remember reading that he wasn't a fan of The Wizard of Oz.


Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump finally gets some love…


I read a few times that he loved a 1940s comedy The Bank Dick staring W.C. Feilds.


Uh, this list is nearly five months old.

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