Any list rounding up the greatest American directors working today most likely has Paul Thomas Anderson at the top or very near the top of it. In naming the 100 best films of the 2010s, IndieWire included three Paul Thomas Anderson movies (“Inherent Vice,” “Phantom Thread,” and “The Master”), more entries than any other filmmaker on the list. Part of what makes Anderson’s films so vital is that the director himself is one of the most eclectic cinephiles in the world. What other director cites “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Big Daddy” as two of his or her most beloved movies? That’s Anderson for you.
Anderson is going to spend 2020 in production on his next feature film, an untitled high school-set comedy-drama set in the San Fernando Valley sometime during the 1970s. Focus Features has already picked up distribution rights to the film, which will film this spring and summer. Now that Anderson is back at work, it’s a fitting time to explore his cinematic brain and the films he loves most.
The following list citing some of Anderson’s favorite films is presented in alphabetical order.