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Guillermo del Toro’s Favorite Movies: 40 Films the Director Wants You to See

From "Nosferatu" to recent Alfonso Cuarón and Thomas Vinterberg masterpieces, here are films that have earned del Toro's stamp of approval.

Guillermo del Toro and his favorite movies.

Guillermo del Toro and his favorite movies.

AP/Everett Collection

[Editor’s note: The following gallery was originally published in July 2019. It’s been updated multiple times since.]

Guillermo del Toro’s boundless imagination, from the gothic horrors of “Crimson Peak” to the creature-feature-inspired “The Shape of Water,” has been cultivated by a lifelong love of cinema. The Mexican filmmaker proudly wears his influences on his sleeves, while championing the past and future of moviegoing and movie-making. Just take his latest projects.

There’s the stunning, stop-motion “Pinocchio” reimagining, which is leagues better than Disney’s straight-to-streaming competitor — far too slick for its own good (no matter how much Tom Hanks tried). And, also at Netflix, there’s the “Cabinet of Curiosities”: an eight-part horror anthology that unfortunately does not include any directing from del Toro, but does feature his writing, producing, and a Rod Serling-like “Twilight Zone” style intro for each episode.

Before that, the 2021 show business noir “Nightmare Alley” saw del Toro loosely remake a 1947 classic, but he also imbued plenty of his own sensibilities and penchant for shocking horror, luscious production design, and arch performances into the Oscar-nominated thriller. As always, del Toro adoringly looks backward at cinema as much as he looks forward. “Pan’s Labyrinth” drew from his love of Lewis Carroll and early silent cinematic folktales to craft a contemporary fairy tale. Not to mention “Cronos”: the director’s 1993 feature debut, praised for its rich vampire mythology and undying attention to detail.

Del Toro has long used social media and interviews for his own films to champion the movies past and present that he deems masterpieces. He’s an especially avid online presence in colder months, when the chilly change of seasons puts his eerie expertise in especially high demand. To celebrate del Toro’s body of work — and, let’s be real, shamelessly seek out new favorites for ourselves — IndieWire has rounded up 40 movies by other filmmakers that del Toro has publicly championed and recommended. Take a look below at some of the classic titles and new adventures touted by the two-time Oscar winner as among the films he doesn’t want you to miss, including black-and-white staples like “Bride of Frankenstein” and modern masterpieces like David Cronenberg’s recent “Crimes of the Future.” The following is organized alphabetically.

Zack Sharf contributed to this story.

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