- Some of today’s most famous actors, like Zendaya and Emma Stone, have publicly shared their favorite movies, showcasing their love for cinema.
- Actors like Keanu Reeves, Michelle Yeoh, and Florence Pugh have been inspired by culturally significant classics, such as A Clockwork Orange, A Wizard of Oz, and The Silence of the Lambs.
- Favorite films can vary greatly among actors, with choices ranging from comedy like Step Brothers to epic genre fare like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Dark Knight.
Some of today’s most famous actors harbor a deep passion for cinema, as evident in their picks for their favorite movies of all time, while others just seem to love a good laugh. From Oscar-nominated legends to the faces of beloved franchises, the biggest stars in Hollywood have publicly weighed in on their favorite films. Some shared insights into culturally significant classics that inspired their artistic journey, and some praised beloved comfort movies to return to again and again.
If there seems to be any trend among these actors, it’s love for the work of Stanley Kubrick. Three of Kubrick’s best movies are represented among the Hollywood stars’ favorites, with none of them repeated by any actor. Meanwhile, two of the choices for favorite movies are produced, but not directed by, Judd Apatow. The earliest favorite is a silent film from as far back as 1931, and the most recent is from 2010.
As surprising as it may seem, even the most intense directors love to unwind every now and then with Zoolander, Borat, Big Daddy, and other comedies.
Euphoria and Spider-Man star Zendaya tweeted in 2017 praising the high school comedy classic Superbad. The film was Seth Rogen’s feature debut as a screenwriter, collaborating with his lifelong friend Evan Goldberg, with whom he started the script when they were only 13. The film also marked both Michael Cera and Jonah Hill’s first lead roles in film and featured a breakout role for Emma Stone. In Zendaya’s tweet, she added that no matter how many times she has seen the film, it never fails to make her laugh.
19 Emma Stone
City Lights (1931)
Emma Stone is known for her Oscar-winning performance in the musical La La Land, her breakout role in the comedy Superbad, and her portrayal of Gwen Stacy in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise. When Entertainment Weekly asked Stone to name a movie she always recommends to people, the actor responded with Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, calling it her favorite movie “of all time” and praising it as a pioneer of romantic comedy. Filled with both uproarious slapstick and genuine heart, the film follows the misadventures of Chaplin’s iconic Tramp character as he falls for a blind woman who mistakes him for a millionaire.
18 Keanu Reeves
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Keanu Reeves is known to audiences for leading several successful franchises with his stoic yet witty persona — most notably the John Wick and The Matrix movies. In 2021, Reeves shared a list of his 20 favorite films with Esquire, and one of the titles was Stanley Kubrick’s classic surreal, ultra-violent, darkly comic, visceral anti-establishment drama A Clockwork Orange. The film follows Alex as he goes on a violent crime spree with his gang, and later his incarceration and attempts at rehabilitation through an experimental therapy technique.
17 Florence Pugh
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
When asked in a 2019 Radio Times interview about her career ambitions, Oscar-nominated actor Florence Pugh expressed her hope to do something like her favorite film, The Silence of the Lambs, and tossed around the idea of playing Hannibal Lecter’s daughter. It’s no shock Pugh was so inspired by what many consider to be one of the greatest horror films of all time, as she’s already proven her skill for bringing palpable terror to the screen in Midsommar.
16 Anthony Hopkins
The Third Man (1949)
In a poll conducted around the turn of the millennium by John Davies, acclaimed two-time Oscar-winning Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins listed his 10 favorite films. The renowned The Silence of the Lambs actor selected the 1949 film noir mystery thriller The Third Man, which stars Orson Welles and revolves around a pulp novelist investigating the suspicious death of his childhood friend, as one of his favorites. Once voted by the British Film Institute as the greatest film of all time, the choice reflects the refined taste of a classy and unparalleled actor.
15 Meryl Streep
Waiting for Guffman (1996)
In an interview with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (via SimplyStreep.com), Meryl Streep mentioned one of her favorite directors being Christopher Guest, known for his deadpan mockumentaries. The legendary actor mentioned that Guest’s work may not be known to casual moviegoers, imploring those who haven’t heard of the director to check out his hysterical film Waiting for Guffman. The film follows an enthusiastic amateur theater director from a small town in Missouri and his barely passable cast of locals who try to up their game for their latest show when they hear a Broadway producer will be in attendance.
14 Paul Mescal
Blue Valentine (2010)
In another interview for their series asking actors and filmmakers to name the films they love, Letterboxd caught up with Paul Mescal, the breakout star of the TV series Normal People and an Oscar-nominee for his brilliantly understated performance in Aftersun. His first pick, which he later singled out as one of his definite top two, was the relationship drama Blue Valentine, starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. The film follows a couple as they fall in love, then several years later as their marriage falls apart. Mescal cited just how emotional the film makes him, saying it’s “consistently a film that I go back to punish my feelings with.“
13 Ryan Gosling
Step Brothers (2008)
During the promotion of their film The Gray Man, Netflix conducted an interview with Ryan Gosling where they asked him to name a movie he would claim as his favorite if someone inquired, and then his real favorite. Gosling humorously responded, “I feel like you tell people that your favorite movie is On the Waterfront.” However, when disclosing his actual favorite, Gosling enthusiastically pointed to the hilarious and endlessly quotable Step Brothers, starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. He described it as a film that never fails to satisfy, regardless of his mood.
12 Tom Hanks
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Letterboxd interviewed multi-Oscar-winning actor and American icon Tom Hanks as part of their series asking celebrities on the red carpet to name their four favorite films. The team caught up with the actor at one of the premieres of Asteroid City, his first collaboration with Wes Anderson. With no hesitation, Hanks’s first pick was Stanley Kubrick’s singular epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he said he watches a few times a year. He also playfully mentioned that watching the movie with him would probably be no fun, as he has so much to say about the film that he would talk the whole time.
11 Michaelle Yeoh
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Amid Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s massive success, and Michelle Yeoh’s career resurgence because of the film, the actor sat down for a virtual Letterboxd interview where she and co-star Jamie Lee Curtis named their four favorite films. Yeoh mentioned the iconic Judy Garland musical The Wizard of Oz as a favorite of hers. She expressed her adoration of the film, highlighting her love for dance and describing it as a quintessential example of the “magic of cinema.“
10 Timothée Chalamet
The Dark Knight (2008)
While accepting the Best Actor award at the New York Film Critics Circle Award for his breakout role in Call Me by Your Name, Timothée Chalamet took a moment to shout out one of his favorite films, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (via IndieWire). The actor said the movie changed him and credited Heath Ledger’s “visceral and viral” performance for further sparking his passion for acting. Often credited as one of the greatest screen performances of all time, Ledger posthumously won an Oscar for his role, having passed away before the film’s release.
9 Christian Bale
Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)
In an out-of-the-blue choice that has since become the subject of much internet humor, Christian Bale expressed his admiration for the ’90s martial arts comedy Beverly Hills Ninja. Despite the Chris Farley-led film’s low critic score of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, Bale praised the late comedian as a “phenomenon” and declared that the movie will “always remain one of my tops.” He also added that he doesn’t consider himself a “cinemaphile [sic]” instead simply appreciating that each time he’s seen the film he “cried with laughter.“
8 Nicolas Cage
The 400 Blows (1959)
At the premiere of his film Dream Scenario at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, Letterboxd asked Nicolas Cage to rank his four favorite films. The unmatchedly bold actor, whom film lovers will know is an avid cinephile, chose the French New Wave coming-of-age classic The 400 Blows, directed by Francois Truffaut. With its gorgeous visuals and authentic portrayal of adolescence, and considered by many as one of the greatest films of all time, it’s no wonder The 400 Blows captured Cage’s admiration.
7 Aubrey Plaza
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Parks and Recreation and The White Lotus actress Aubrey Plaza also spoke to Letterboxd about her four favorite films, calling her first choice, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, an “incredible masterpiece.” She also credited the epic historical drama about a conniving man who finds his way into high society as being what made her fall in love with movies.
6 Saoirse Ronan
Windy City Heat (2003)
Saoirse Ronan, the beloved and much-celebrated Irish actor, sat down with Rotten Tomatoes around the premiere of her film The Grand Budapest Hotel to share her five favorite films. While her first four choices are well-known classics, her last was an obscure pick, the uproariously funny 2003 TV movie Windy City Heat in which a delusional and quick-tempered man is pranked into believing he is playing the lead role in a major film. For those unfamiliar with the film, it’s one of the best prank movies ever made.
5 Cate Blanchett
Ordinary People (1980)
In a 2014 feature in the Sydney Morning Herald, Cate Blanchett mentioned Robert Redford’s directorial debut, Ordinary People, about a family dealing with the grief of a son’s accidental death, as a favorite since childhood. The actor described it as a “wonderful, heartbreaking film.” Interestingly, Blanchett worked with Redford only a few months later when he directed her in the 2015 political drama Truth, in which she played real-life journalist Mary Mapes.
4 Margot Robbie
True Romance (1993)
While promoting her role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood alongside her co-stars in an MTV interview, Margot Robbie mentioned True Romance as having a profound influence on her. The 1993 film features a script by Tarantino and her Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood co-star Brad Pitt as the memorable stoner Floyd. The film holds a special place for Robbie, who declared it her “favorite movie of all time” and even revealed that she walked down the aisle to its soundtrack.
3 Anya Taylor-Joy
Big Fish (2003)
In an email exchange with Rotten Tomatoes at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, modern-day scream queen and versatile Furiosa and The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy shared insights into her all-time favorite movies. Among the five films she highlighted is the touching fantasy drama Big Fish, which follows a dying father who enjoys spinning tall tales about his life, and his estranged son who struggles to discern fact from fiction. Taylor-Joy expressed her admiration for the film’s iconoclastic director, Tim Burton, as well as for the movie’s rich and layered metaphors.
2 Jennifer Lawrence
Jurassic Park (1993)
Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence sat down for an interview with Letterboxd in which she named four of her favorite films. To kick off the list, she expressed a deep fondness for Steven Spielberg’s classic sci-fi action survival dinosaur flick, Jurassic Park. With its enthralling narrative and one-of-a-kind vision, her choice comes as no surprise, as it showcases a genuine appreciation for the captivating power of Spielberg’s iconic film.
1 Brendan Fraser
Star Wars (1977)
Letterboxd caught up with Brendan Fraser at the premiere of his A24 film The Whale, for which he later won an Oscar. During the interview, the actor shared his four most beloved movies. Among his top picks was the original Star Wars, a choice that comes as little surprise given its massive cultural influence and the fact that it was released when the actor was just a young boy. The epic nature of Star Wars makes it a natural favorite for Fraser, illustrating the enduring impact that this iconic film has had on audiences across generations.
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