Paul Schrader picks his choices for the greatest movies of all time – Far Out Magazine

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Director and screenwriter Paul Schrader, who rose to prominence in the 1970s when his screenplay Taxi Driver was adapted for the big screen by Martin Scorsese, recently shared his list of the greatest films of all time. As part of Sight and Sound’s decennial greatest films of all time list, the magazine has asked an array of filmmakers, actors, critics, and creatives to choose their picks.  
When picking the films he considers the greatest, Schrader had a lot to say about his decisions, calling the list an “invigorating critical exercise.” He wrote, “It forces one to reevaluate films and their personal importance. […] Boundaries focus the mind. I have a few ground rules: no film is eligible for 25 years after release, there should be one silent film, and one comedy; experimental and art installation films are a separate category.” 
When deciding what made the cut, Schrader wrote, “How does one balance a film’s impact on the history of cinema with its unique importance to you? Should The Wild Bunch supplant The SearchersLa Regle du jeu give way to The Conformist? […] For years I promoted Vertigo but was that a measure of its undervaluation or true merit?” 
Eventually, Schrader listed his picks, beginning with Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket. Talking to The Hot Corn, he once shared, “The movie that was most important to me was Pickpocket because when I saw that in 1969 it made me realise that there was a connection between a religious upbringing and my profane presence. […] It almost made me realise that there was actually a place for me in filmmaking, I was a critic, and I didn’t think there was, but then I saw this movie about a guy who writes in a journal and goes out and steals stuff, and I thought, I can make something like that. Then three years later, I wrote Taxi Driver.”
Another pick is Yasujirō Ozu’s 1953 drama Tokyo Story; a director Schrader once referred to as “transcendental.” He also selected Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, which he told Criterion “is a milestone in the history of film.” Jean Renoir’s La Regle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) is another favourite of Schrader’s, a quintessential film from the poetic realism genre. Talking to Criterion, he once described it as “stand[ing] above all other films because, quite simply, it has it all.”
Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 political drama The Conformist is next, a film that Schrader has lectured on in the past. In an essay written for Film Comment, he described the movie as “a synthesis of Godard’s self-consciousness and the pictorialism of Visconti and Antonioni.”
Schrader’s silent movie choice is Metropolis by Fritz Lang, a seminal science-fiction piece. As for his essential comedy pick, he selects The Lady Eve by Preston Surges, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. Moreover, despite Schrader’s contemplation over including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, he ultimately decides to include it on the list. Previously, Schrader has highlighted how the 1958 masterpiece greatly influenced his screenplay for Brian De Palma’s Obsession
As for Schrader’s question of whether The Wild Bunch should supplant The Searchers – it has. The filmmaker once wrote in an essay entitled Sam Peckinpah going to Mexico, “The power of The Wild Bunch lies in the fact that this fascism is not peculiar to Peckinpah, but is American at heart.” Finally, he selected Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, a landmark of the gangster genre. He once recalled that “watching it was like a before-and-after moment.” 
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