I am a big movie buff and have bee all my life. There are quite a few references to movies in my books, especially in Rainbow Diary. So, in no particular order
Fantasia: The best animated feature of all time plus some really good music. If any movie crosses genres it is this one.
Reservoir Dogs: Yes, I am a Tarantino Fan – and this is a darker film than Pulp Fiction. You can almost take it seriously. Which is more than I can say about Kill Bill Vol(1) whose violence is much more choreographed than Reservoir Dogs, but as enjoyable.
Babette’s Feast: How physical and carnal satisfaction can lead to spiritual fulfilment – a challenge to all miseryguts everywhere. Maybe my top film of all time.
Eraserhead: Boy meets monster; monster turns boy crazy; boy loses monster. Except that the monster is a deformed baby. Any film that discusses teratogenesis is OK by me. And it has Eno’s music, too.
Apocalypse Now: Coppola’s best feature. Long, unwieldy, uncompromising, a war movie from the losers’ point of view. I read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness much later and, yes the similarities are obvious, but the film still carves its own niche.
Blue Velvet: David Lynch’s study into the descent of a square into the depths of perversion, where he is appalled to discover that he enjoys it. S&M never looked more pleasurable and more horrifying. Love all other David Lynch films, too, but this is the seminal one for me.
Fellini’s Satyricon: The best Italian film of all time (and that’s saying something). Probably the only one where the creative world of a director’s imagination is so faithfully reproduced on celluloid. I can not imagine what is felt like when it was released.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: THE cult film, and I have been hooked since I saw the original version at the King’s Road Theatre.
Schindler’s List: Undoubtedly the must-see film for all bigots everywhere.
Hairspray: I had to choose a John Walters film and this is the one I like best if only for Debbie Harry’s beehive.
Casablanca: Still the best tear-jerker. I always weep in the end hoping that Ingrid gets off that plane.
It’s a Mad Mad Mad World: This is a 3-hour slapstick comedy from the sixties like they don’t make’em any more. Cameos from the 3 Stooges and Sid Caesar, starring among others Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy and Phil Silvers.
Trainspotting: The only movie where the hype matches the product. The sequence using Lou Reed’s song ‘Perfect Day’ is the most flawless blend of music and cinematic action I have seen.
Festen: The disintegration and subsequent rebirth of a family with a terrible secret described in a cinema-verité anti-Hollywood manner hand-held cameras grainy images, close-ups and all. Terrific. And I’m not alone; it’s in IMDB’s Top 250.
The Hunt. Thomas Vinterberg, the director of Festen, above, directed this astonishingly grim tale of a teacher who is wrongly accused of abusing a little girl at school. Go see it, even though some scenes are unbearably soul-crushing.
Pixote: Although City of God exploring similar subjects is also a great film, this only half-scripted docudrama is real life come to the big screen twenty years before reality TV. I spend quite a few pages in my Brazil book examining the film and its aftermath (real life Pixote was killed by the police some years later).
The Third Man: I have watched this film numerous times and been to its Vienna Locations. Amazing script by Graham Green, great performances by Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton plus the cuckoo-clock putdown of the Swiss that will reverberate in hundreds of travel guides to come (though untrue).
The Ring (Japanese version): There is no other horror movie like it. Don’t watch it on TV at home alone! I did and believe me, it wasn’t pleasant.
Wolf Creek: To all Australian backpackers over there: you’ll never trust anyone offering you a lift again.
Kick-Ass: Tagline “I can’t read your mind. But I can kick your ass”. Never before has a little girl stolen a movie so comprehensively, since Judy Garland starred in the Wizard of Oz (a film I really can’t get into by the way. Maybe it is a generation thing).
Borat: I have been to Kazakhstan and I know it’s not at all like the village in Romania where it was shot, but this is not just a laugh-a-minute, it’s a cringe-a-minute movie, something maybe unique in film history. Buy the DVD – even the outtakes are as funny.
Let the Right One In: In the days of the formulaic vampire film, this is the exceptional original that flattens the opposition. You haven’t seen anything like it, nor are you likely to again.
Avatar: I watched it in 3D and I felt like a small kid again, absorbing the wondrous world of celluloid that seemed so fantastic, so remote and so perfect. I don’t want to hear grumpy folk moaning about the plot. This movie has created its own world.
Brokeback Mountain: I will remember this film for may reasons, but never would I have predicted that watching it with a friend would lead to an eventual parting of ways. Sad, sadder, saddest.
Supernatural: Love the stories, love the actors (team Dean), got the DVDs. Seasons 2 and 3 have episodes that could easily be two-hour horror films on their own.
Twin Peaks: The first TV-series-as-art. Makes me glad to have been old enough to watch it when it ran for the first time. Anyone of a certain age remembers those Twin Peaks fancy dress parties: I went as the Log Lady – I only had to hold a log.
AbFab: Bet you weren’t surprised about that.
Brideshead Revisited: The best costume drama of all time, with a young Jeremy Irons perfect as the outsider in the ruling classes, something that was emulated later by Alan Hollinghurst in the Line of Beauty – another top series about AIDS in The Age of Thatcher.
Breaking Bad: Of course it’s the best series ever made, although in the middle of series 3 it sagged for becoming rather too experimental. A whole episode chasing a fly in the lab? Still, after that it was upwards and upwards.